Sunday, August 31, 2014

1966 Profile: Stew Barber

Offensive Tackle
No. 77
Penn State
"Pro football coaches can be as indecisive as anyone else on occasion. For example, in 1961, when Stew Barber was a rookie out of Penn State, he played linebacker at 228 pounds. When he reported at a new tonnage in 1962, however, it was for a new job. The coaching staff had decided to make him an offensive tackle. So Stew stuffed himself and got up to his present 251 pounds - which is still not overweight for a tackle.
But he manages, even he's a champion worrier about his job. Still, you'll find his name on most All-AFL teams."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Saturday, August 30, 2014

1966 Profile: Wray Carlton

Fullback
No. 30
Duke
"For six years, Wray Carlton has been playing halfback. Most of that time he has been a second banana, especially when Cookie Gilchrist was playing fullback for the Bills. This season though, Wray will have to step front and center. He'll shift over to fullback, mainly because Buffalo has nobody to play there, and he'll have to make like a fair facsimile of Cookie. Carlton, who played his college football at Duke, has the muscle at 6-1 and 225 pounds. And in one respect, being a fullback may help him - he won't have to run outside quite so much. He simply doesn't possess that kind of speed; he never has."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Friday, August 29, 2014

1966 Profile: Butch Byrd

Cornerback
No. 42
Boston University
"When George 'Butch' Byrd joined the Bills out of Boston University, coach Lou Saban immediately planted him at right cornerback on defense. Byrd simply had to make it.
'There was no one else,' Saban now concedes. Butch soon demonstrated his ability in guarding pass receivers. He is large for a defensive back - 211 pounds - but sacrifices no speed and tackles shockingly hard.
His long punt return against San Diego broke open last year's championship game for the Bills."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

1966 Profile: Jim Dunaway

Defensive Tackle
No. 78
Mississippi
"Can a fat boy make his way in pro football? The answer is yes if he weighs in within reason. Ask Jim Dunaway, the 6-4, 279-pound defensive tackle of the Bills. Jim, an All-America at Ole Miss, could easily slide up the scale to 300 pounds, but it would deprive him of some of the mobility that makes him so effective. He and Tom Sestak are an impossible twosome when they rush a quarterback full blast.
In 1962, the Bills made Jim their No. 2 draft pick and outbid the Minnesota Vikings for him."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Thursday, August 28, 2014

1966 Profile: Mike Stratton

Linebacker
No. 58
Tennessee
"He does not have the reputation of a Huff, a Nitschke, a Butkus, or of a Bobby Bell, but Buffalo's star corner linebacker, Mike Stratton, is now in their class.
He's developed rapidly since 1962, when he reported out of Tennessee as a 210-pound rookie. Now Mike weighs 240 pounds and hits accordingly. He is best remembered for demolishing San Diego's Keith Lincoln with a thunderously clean tackle in the 1964 AFL title game. Stratton is fast and a good pass defender. Babe Parilli of Boston once said that Stratton so big, strong and quick that 'it's a crime against quarterbacks to allow him to blitz.'"

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

1966 Profile: Jack Kemp

Quarterback
No. 15
Occidental
"Sometimes a coach can outsmart himself. In 1962, Sid Gillman of San Diego tried to put his regular quarterback, Jack Kemp, on waivers. It wasn't that Gillman didn't want Kemp, but Jack had an injured finger at the time, and Sid thought that he could hide him on the taxi squad if all other AFL teams waived on him. But Buffalo didn't, and the Bills claimed Kemp for $100, getting an outstanding passer who has since gunned the team to two consecutive league championships.
Jack has one of the strongest arms in the game; some say he can throw the ball farther than any other quarterback (almost 90 yards). He also passes accurately (Jack had a 48.5 completion percentage last year). In the past few seasons, he has shared quarterback duties with Daryle Lamonica; but since the Bills plan to pass more in 1966, look for Jack to dominate the position."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Monday, August 25, 2014

1966 Profile: Elbert Dubenion

Flanker
No. 44
Bluffton
"In 1960, rookie halfback Elbert Dubenion played so badly in a loss to New York that he was nearly cut from the squad. Fortunately he hung on and eventually established himself as one of the AFL's top flanker backs.
Dubenion, nicknamed 'Golden Wheels,' has rare speed - or at least he did before a severe knee injury sidelined him last year. Surgery has patched him up, and even if he's lost a step, that will only halve the margin he usually has on pursuing defensive backs.
In 1963, he broke a league record by averaging 27 yards per reception, and scored a touchdown every 4.2 catches. At little Bluffton College, he scored 87 times rushing."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Sunday, August 24, 2014

1966 Profile: George Saimes

Safety
No. 26
Michigan State
"At Michigan State, coach Duffy Dougherty called George Saimes 'the complete football player' - and played him at offensive back, where he became an All-America. When he joined the Bills, George got a shot at carrying the ball, too, and he did fairly well, averaging 3.4 yards per carry in the two games he played. Then he was shifted to weak side safety on defense. Result: another All-AFLer for the Bills.
George is not big. At 5-10 he sometimes has trouble covering those tall ends, but in the long run, they have even more trouble with him."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Saturday, August 23, 2014

1966 Profile: Billy Shaw

Guard
No. 66
Georgia Tech
"If Billy Shaw thinks Tom Sestak is tough, then listen to what Houston Antwine, the wagon-lifting defensive tackle of the Boston Patriots, thinks about Shaw: 'I wouldn't want to be around if he gets much better.' Right now, Captain Billy is considered the outstanding offensive guard in his league. He's got size, 6-2, 250, but more important, he's got the speed to pull out ahead of the ball carrier on running plays, and the desire to tangle with the enormous defensive tackles he must keep off the quarterback's neck.
Shaw is beginning his sixth year with the Bills, and has been an All-AFL two seasons in a row. He was an All-America at Georgia Tech."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Thursday, August 21, 2014

1966 Profile: Tom Sestak

Defensive Tackle
No. 70
McNeese State
"Tough as it may be for anyone in the NFL to admit, Tom Sestak is very probably the best defensive tackle in professional football. Tom stands 6-4 and weighs 270 pounds. Big? Sure. But not overwhelming by pro standards. What makes him stand out, though, is his astonishing strength and his speed in pursuing a play.
He was drafted 17th out of McNeese State in 1962, and has been an All-AFL selection the last three years. Buffalo teammate Billy Shaw claims Tom has helped make him an all-star.
'When you play against Tom in practice every day,' Shaw explains, rubbing his bruises, 'you either improve or retire.'"

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

1966 Profile: Joe Collier

Head Coach
"It has been said of Joe Collier that if the Bills' players had been asked to vote for the man they would most like to see succeed the outgoing Lou Saban as coach, it would have been Joe, 40-0. This is a rare tribute for man who holds himself somewhat aloof from his players and does not court popularity with witty and philosophical phrases. But Joe has stood solidly with his players because they always know where they stand with him.
There are no frills or embellishments. Unless, of course, you want to talk about what he has done with the art of defensive football. It was Joe who designed and implemented the powerhouse Buffalo defense that racked up the San Diego in the last two championship games, a defense that has allowed only nine touchdowns to be scored against it on the ground in the past two seasons.
Joe played end at Northwestern, where he earned All-America rating. He joined Lou Saban's staff at Western Illinois in 1957, and accompanied Lou to Boston and then on to Buffalo after the AFL was formed.
He's a storehouse of football intelligence. He should be. Joe keeps eight filing cabinets at home stocked with football information, and he keeps everything up to date."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Monday, August 18, 2014

1966 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"Don't look for Buffalo to stampede its way to a third consecutive title this year. Some prize Bulls were pulled from the herd to help stock the new team in Miami, leaving the defending AFL champs somewhat more docile than usual. The hunch here is that they'll go home second best this time.
New head coach Joel Collier is inheriting essentially the same team that made a shambles of the Eastern Division race last year. But the Bills aren't as deep in replacements as they formerly were, and an injury here or there could immobilize them. Gone from last season's squad are fullback Billy Joe, split end Bo Roberson, offensive tackle Jim Davidson and defensive tackle Howard Simpson to Miami, as well as defensive tackle Tom Keating and guard George Flint to Oakland as payment for obtaining Roberson last year. But perhaps the Bills' biggest loss is that of kicking specialist Pete Gogolak who skipped to the New York Giants.
The framework of Buffalo's powerful defense is still intact, though. Roland McDole, Jim Dunaway, Tom Sestak and Tom Day comprise the most explosive foursome in the league. They are so good at harassing the passer that they often go into a three-man rush, leaving Day, the lightweight of the unit at 6-3 and 254 pounds, to drop back as an extra linebacker. And there is nothing tame about the linebacking corps, either. John Tracey, Harry Jacobs and Mike Stratton are a seasoned and aggressive combination that usually anticipates the opposition's thinking. Bill Laskey and Marty Schottenheimer are able reserves.
Nobody intimidates the deep pass-defending combo of cornerbacks Booker Edgerson and Butch Byrd, and safetymen Hagood Clarke and George Saimes, which accounted for 21 interceptions last year. And in Charley Warner and Gene Sykes, the club has experienced reinforcements; rookies who could help out are Charley King from Purdue and his brother Tony from Findlay College.
The offense will get its cue from Jack Kemp, the wizard who plays quarterback for the Bills. Jack finished fourth among the league's passers last year, but he was second to none in field generalship. Behind him the Bills have Daryle Lamonica, who could play first-string for practically any other club in the league. The passing attack was considerably handicapped last year when both Glenn Bass and Elbert Dubenion were knocked out of action. They're fit again, and Dubenion claims he worked his way back into shape as a truant officer during the off-season. The other receiver is tight end Paul Costa, who was the only rookie to crash the regular lineup last season. In reserve, the Bills have Ed Rutkowski and Ernie Warlick, who came through in old pro style in the championship game. The best rookie prospect is split end Bobby Crockett of Arkansas.
The running game doesn't shape up as overpowering, and this is where the Bills may feel the pinch this season. Wray Carlton moves back to the fullback slot where he's better suited, and a host of candidates, led by Bobby Smith, will try to wrest the regular halfback job. Smith is a third-year man with good potential but he has never put things together. Bob Burnett, the No. 4 draft choice from Arkansas, Pete Mills and Ken McLean are his chief rivals. Another hopeful is fullback Willie Ross, a third-year man who is rated as an exceptional pass blocker.
Across the interior line, tackles Stew Barber and Dick Hudson, guards Bill Shaw and Joe O'Donnell and center Al Bemiller will still menace the opposition. But the ranks are thin behind them. Dave Behrman, the regular center, has back problems and nobody will know how serious they are until he attempts to play. Remi Prudhomme is a second-year guard, and rookies Bill Earhart and Wayne DeSutter are the replacements at tackle."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

Sunday, August 17, 2014

1965 Profile: Wray Carlton

Halfback
No. 30
Duke
"At 220 pounds, Wray Carlton is one of the biggest halfbacks in football, and he perfectly rounds out the Bills' 'Elephant Backfield.'
Wray comes off a disappointing season in 1964 in which he missed all but the last three games through injury. He returned just in time, however, to gain 114 important rushing yards and supply vital blocking muscle ahead of Cookie Gilchrist.
Carlton, a seven-year veteran in the pros, is not a fast man but he picks his holes well, drives hard and is rated a better-than-average pass receiver."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

1965 Profile: Billy Joe

Fullback
No. 33
Villanova
"Nobody can replace Cookie Gilchrist, the closest AFL approximation to Jimmy Brown, but Billy Joe will try. Joe is the fullback the Bills got from the Denver Broncos in exchange for Cookie. A one-time 60-foot shot putter at Villanova, Billy is every bit as big as Gilchrist - 6-2, 250 pounds.
In 1963 he was AFL Rookie of the Year when he was the sixth-ranking ball carrier in the league with a 4.2-yard average. But last year, dogged by injuries and a porous blocking line, he did relatively little.
Joe is six years younger than Cookie, and maybe faster, but he's not as good a blocker. Not yet, at least."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

1965 Profile: Pete Gogolak

Place Kicker
No. 3
Cornell
"Now all the pros are searching for soccer-style place-kickers, but the Bills have the prototype in Pete Gogolak, the Hungarian refugee with the weird (for football) kicking technique. Pete approaches the ball from a 45-degree angle and boots it with his instep, the way soccer players do.
He kicked 45 out of 46 extra points as a 1964 rookie, and made 18 of 29 field goal attempts. He had a 57-yarder in an exhibition game against the Jets, so he must be doing something right."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Friday, August 15, 2014

1965 Profile: Stew Barber

Offensive Tackle
No. 77
Penn State
"Hard-working, heavy-hitting Stew Barber is one of the three top offensive tackles in the young league - the others being Ron Mix of San Diego and Jim Tyrer of Kansas City.
Stew, a 251-pounder who played at Penn State, was a linebacker during his rookie season in 1961. But since that time, he's been a citadel at left tackle. At the age of 26, he is launching his fifth pro season. Talk about opportunities in the AFL!"

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

1965 Profile: Al Bemiller

Guard
No. 50
Syracuse
"The stamp of a pro is his willingness to do what's best for the team. Al Bemiller was a regular offensive center for three years, ever since he beat out All-AFL Dan McGrew for the job as a rookie in 1961. But last year, the Bills picked up veteran center Walt Cudzik, so Bemiller moved to guard and fit into a championship unit.
Al's a 260-pound iron man who's never missed a minute of league play. He's a clever lineman who knows how to finesse an opponent into doing what he wants him to do."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

1965 Profile: Elbert Dubenion

Flanker
No. 44
Bluffton
"Elbert 'Golden Wheels' Dubenion, the Buffalo flanker, would almost certainly be a superstar if the Bills passed more. He's as swift as anybody going down under the long bomb, and he has perfected his fakes since breaking in as a green rookie from Bluffton six years ago.
Duby caught only 42 passes in '64, well below the top ten in the league. But he gained a record-breaking 27 yards per catch and scored ten touchdowns."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Monday, August 11, 2014

1965 Profile: Jim Dunaway

Defensive Tackle
No. 78
Mississippi
"Hulking Jim Dunaway teams with Tom Sestak to give the Bills a defensive tackle duet worth avoiding. Lou Saban says he wouldn't trade them for any two linemen in football, and you can't blame him. Dunaway is just as heavy as Sestak at 270 pounds, but perhaps not as fast. But when he lands on somebody, it makes very little difference. Jim's only real problem is keeping his weight under control.
He was an All-America at Ole Miss, where he played in both the Sugar and Cotton Bowls."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Saturday, August 9, 2014

1965 Profile: Daryle Lamonica

Quarterback
No. 12
Notre Dame
"When the Bills go their ball control game, Daryle Lamonica usually replaces Jackie Kemp at quarterback. Lamonica, a big fellow at 6-3 and 215 pounds, is a harder runner than Kemp and is a good rollout passer. Usually, he will sit on the bench while Kemp probes the rival defense, then come in and exploit its weaknesses. Daryle passed only 126 times last year, completing 55.
He played college ball at Notre Dame, and was the Most Valuable Player in the 1962 East-West Shrine Game."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Friday, August 8, 2014

1965 Profile: Ernie Warlick

Tight End
No. 84
North Carolina College
"Some Buffalo fans worry that Ernie Warlick may be wearing thin at age 33. This 6-4, 235-pound blocking end has played eight pro seasons, five in Canada and the last three in Buffalo.
As a tight end, Ernie's main job is knocking people down, but he's surprisingly good at catching passes with his enormous hands. Last year he caught 23 passes for 478 yards - that's 20.5 yards per catch, which is excellent for a tight end.
Ernie was an All-Star in Canada and has been close to it in the AFL."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1965 Profile: Billy Shaw

Guard
No. 66
Georgia Tech
"It's no accident that the Bills pack tremendous power in their ground attack. They've got the ball-carriers, sure, but they've also got a bulldozing offensive guard in 248-pound Billy Shaw. He pries those holes open.
Billy was All-AFL last year, and he could be just as effective on defense. That's where he earned his All-America college reputation at Georgia Tech.
Bill's also captain of the Bills."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Sunday, August 3, 2014

1965 Profile: George Saimes

Safety
No. 26
Michigan State
"George Saimes has made the conversion from All-America running back (at Michigan State) to All-AFL as a defensive safetyman. And the transition took him only two seasons. George plays the weak side safety. Thus, he's called upon to guard the split end.
At 5-10, he gives away a lot of height, yet he gets the job done. He intercepted six passes last year and he returned them for 56 yards.
He's a solid if unspectacular player."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

Friday, August 1, 2014

1965 Profile: Jack Kemp

Quarterback
No. 15
Occidental
"Funny, but Jackie Kemp used to be considered a top-running quarterback. Now he's the pass-master in Buffalo's twin-quarterback offense. Jackie has one of the most powerful throwing arms in football.
He was claimed by the Bills from San Diego in 1962, and the Chargers are still furious about it. It seems they had tried to slip Jack by on waivers while he was recovering from an injury. After having helped the Chargers win consecutive Western Division titles in 1960 and '61, he played turnabout by going against his old mates last year and beating them for the AFL crown."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965