Tuesday, September 30, 2014

1968 Profile: Dick Hudson

Offensive Tackle
No. 79
Memphis State
"Described as a man with educated hands, Dick Hudson provides Bills' quarterbacks with sound protection from his slot at right tackle. A beefy individual standing 6-4 and weighing 262 pounds, he makes it impossible for pass rushers to use their hands on him because his own hands are constantly in motion.
Dick originally was drafted by the Chargers when he came out of Memphis State in 1962, but was acquired a year later by the Bills in a trade involving Tobin Rote."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Monday, September 29, 2014

1968 Profile: Mike Stratton

No. 58
"It was of no solace to opposition teams last year that Mike Stratton was not playing at full strength. He was just as mean as ever, and few offenses took advantage of him.
Rated second only to Bobby Bell as a corner linebacker, Mike has the speed to run with any halfback in the league, which makes him especially tough on pass defense. His coach, Joe Collier, says he's the best blitzer in the league; and it's a fact that when he nails you with a tackle, you know you've been hit.
Now in his seventh AFL season, Mike came to the Bills as a 13th round draft choice after getting out of Tennessee in 1962."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Sunday, September 28, 2014

1968 Profile: Tom Flores

No. 16
"As a contrast to the scrambling style of Jack Kemp, Tom Flores is a more conventional drop-back type of passer. But in seven pro seasons, he has yet to develop any consistency, partly because he was held back by injuries, partly because he was always somebody's relief man.
Owner of an outstanding arm that helped him compile 11,635 yards in six years with the Raiders, Tom seemed to be coming into his own in 1966. He finished third among AFL passers with 151 completions in 306 attempts for 2,638 yards, a 49.4 percentage, and 24 touchdown throws. But with the acquisition of Daryle Lamonica from Buffalo, he went in the trade to the Bills.
Tom won the starting job in training camp, then was hurt and his play began to fall off. So once again, he watched the season mostly from the sidelines, hoping next year would be different."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Friday, September 26, 2014

1968 Profile: Paul Costa

Tight End
No. 82
Notre Dame
"He may not yet be in Mike Ditka's class as a tight end, but Paul Costa is progressing toward that level of play. Regarded as probably the strongest man on the squad, the 6-4, 256-pounder has immense chest development and powerful though supple hands. And despite his size, he can run 50 yards in 5.6 seconds.
Paul displayed his better points last year - his third as a pro - when he caught 39 passes for 726 yards and two touchdowns; he caught one scoring pass on a 63-yard play, and he averaged 18.6 yards per catch.
Paul played his college football at Notre Dame and came to the Bills when they traded with Kansas City for the rights to him."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Thursday, September 25, 2014

1968 Profile: Ron McDole

Defensive End
No. 72
"The Bills' vaunted defense bogged down a bit last year, but there was nothing wrong with the work of big Ron McDole. The deceptively quick 6-2 1/2", 278-pound end hounded quarterbacks and manhandled enemy tackles to lead the Buffalo charge. It was the second good year in a row for McDole, who seems to be settling into a consistent pattern now.
He was troubled earlier in his career by migraine headaches, which may account for his nomadic life as a pro. After graduating from Nebraska, he played briefly as an offensive tackle for the St. Louis Cardinals, then moved into the AFL as a defensive end with the Oilers. He was cut, and that's when the Bills picked him up."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

1968 Profile: Keith Lincoln

No. 20
Washington State
"In his early years with the San Diego Chargers, Keith Lincoln was the league's elite running back, a two-time All-AFL selection. Then injuries marred his effectiveness for a couple of seasons, and he was finally traded to the Bills in 1967.
But the new environment and improved health enabled him to climb right back up among the top rushers, as he finished with 601 yards on 159 carries for a 3.8 average and four touchdowns. The solidly built 6-1, 215-pounder also caught 41 passes for 558 yards and five more TD's - one of them coming on a 60-yard play.
This is a guy who knows where the goal line is, which explains why he's in the top ten of all-time AFL rushers."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Monday, September 22, 2014

1968 Profile: Jack Kemp

No. 15
"Quick, now - what college did Jack Kemp attend? Chances are you didn't know it was Occidental. The reason for asking is more than academic. People don't pay much attention to Kemp. Good, bad year, he seems to get written off too quickly.
Despite the fact that he's appeared in more AFL championship games than any other quarterback (five), he had to scramble plenty to save his job last year after Tom Flores was obtained from Oakland. He retained his first-string status most of the way, though he had a subpar year due to injuries in his offensive line and a jammed thumb of his own. Jack completed 161 of 369 attempts for 2,503 yards, a 43.6 percentage and 14 touchdowns; his 26 interceptions were second highest in the league to Joe Namath.
In seven AFL seasons, two with the Chargers, he's passed for more than 19,000 yards and completed 1,264 passes. In 1965 he was unanimously named the AFL's Most Valuable Player."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Saturday, September 20, 2014

1968 Profile: Joe Collier

Head Coach
"The customary boyhood fantasies held no fascination for Joe Collier. That is, he didn't dream of running away and joining the circus, or becoming the first explorer in space. Joe's early ambition was to be a football coach, and as often happens in the storybooks, he got what he wished for.
The thought first occurred to him when he was playing football for Rock Island High back home in Illinois. It stayed with him though four years at Northwestern, where he captained the Wildcats in 1953 and was an All-Big Ten end. He was even good enough to play in a couple of postseason games, such as the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game. But when the New York Giants drafted him and held out the offer of a pro career, Joe turned it down. The old dream had become an obsession by now, and he pursued a career in coaching.
He became an assistant at Western Illinois, where a man named Lou Saban turned up as head coach. When the AFL was formed in 1960, Saban went to Boston and Collier accompanied him, joining the coaching staff as an assistant. After Saban moved to Buffalo, Joe joined him as defensive coach. It was Joe who built those rock-hard Buffalo defenses which enabled the Bills to win back-to-back AFL championships in 1964 and '65.
In 1966, Collier succeeded Saban - a move hailed by the Bills' players themselves - and he won an Eastern Division crown. Last year, the Bills plummeted to a 4-10 record, but Collier kept his cool composure.
A low-key type, anyway, he says, 'I have confidence in our players and they know I won't panic if things go wrong, so I don't see much point in being emotional. Besides, it's just not me.'"

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Friday, September 19, 2014

1968 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"Things are looking up for the Bills this year - from two viewpoints. For one thing, they will still be looking up at the leaders for another hungry season. But for another, their perspective will be a happier one because they have become a sounder club which should making its move very soon.
Certainly there is strength at quarterback whether Jack Kemp or Tom Flores gets the starting nod. Injuries hit both of them last year, though luckily, not at the same time. If they appear to be at equal strength this time, coach Joe Collier may go with the younger Flores, who is a more conventional pocket passer; but Tom is not nearly as agile as Kemp is, and the final decision may well rest with the offensive line.
Buffalo's air game did not show to advantage in 1967, and this was widely due to injuries to the wide receivers. Interestingly enough, this could be the club's best offensive department in '68; at least there's plenty around for a change. The fabled Art Powell is back from knee surgery he had to undergo after the sixth game of the year, and he should start driving defenses dizzy again. Elbert Dubenion, another pass catcher with a reputation, had a sub-par year in '67 but he's still as fast as ever. And Paul Costa, who is a fine receiver but who must improve his blocking, is back at tight end. But keep your eyes on Haven Moses, a 6-2 1/2, 195-pound speedster from San Diego State. The Bills' prize No. 1 pick in last season's college draft, he's rated a sure bet to succeed eventually at flanker. The experienced receivers include Bobby Crockett and Jerry Seither, both of whom were hurt last year, and Monte Ledbetter at flanker. Charley Ferguson, who missed the entire '67 campaign with an ankle problem, is the reserve at tight end. Richard Trapp, a third round selection from Florida, is another candidate for wide receiver.
The Bills finished next to the bottom in rushing last year, but then they only had a one-man running attack. He was Keith Lincoln, the man with the classic form. If fullback Wray Carlton avoids the rash of injuries which plagued him last year, the Bills will have their one-two punch again. And Collier may even find himself endowed with rare backfield depth in 1968. Aside from the returning Jack Spikes and Charley Bivins, a couple of well-traveled war horses, the Bills are swarming with recruits with good college grades. The best of these are No. 5 draft choice Max Anderson, a 5-8, 180-pound speedback from Arizona State, and fullback Ben Gregory, a six-foot, 225-pounder from Nebraska who also came in the fifth round. Rated slightly behind them are No. 9 choice Gary McDermott, a 6-1, 212-pounder from Tulsa, and 11th round pick Richard Plagge, a 6-2, 212-pounder from Auburn.
If the Bills' line has fully recuperated from injuries that laid low several operatives last year, it could be sock-to-it-'em time again. Stew Barber, who had one his best years in 1967, and Dick Hudson, who didn't because he wrecked a knee, are being counted on at the tackles. Billy Shaw, who missed six games with a knee problem, and the improving Joe O'Donnell are back at guard, and Al Bemiller, who must be an iron man after getting through last season without an injury, is the center. A healthy contingent of veterans and rookies will compete for the extra jobs. Dick Cunningham, who can play anywhere in the interior line, and tackle Wayne DeSutter are the holdovers; the newcomers include tackle Mike McBath (Penn State) and guards Edgar Chandler (Georgia) and Bob Kalsu (Oklahoma).
Although the Buffalo defense gave up more touchdowns on the ground than is customary for this unit (11), it posted the best pass defense marks in the league. The main problem in the front four is at right end, where Howard Kindig, the former San Diego Charger, and rookie Bob Tatarek, the No. 2 pick from Miami, will be tested for the starting job. The rest of the unit returns intact, with Jim Dunaway and Tom Sestak at the tackles and Ron McDole at left end. The reserves are Dudley Meredith, an experienced brawler who can play either end of tackle, and rookies John Gilmore (Peru), Chuck DeVleigher (Memphis State) and George Hines (Kentucky State).
The possible retirement of John Tracey may break up that old gang of Buffalo linebackers, but this unit will still serve as the enforcers on defense. Tracey backs up the left side, but even if he returns he is liable to lose his job to Paul Guidry, a 6-2, 238-pounder who has rapidly been coming into his own. Harry Jacobs is perhaps the quickest and smartest operator playing middle linebacker these days, and Mike Stratton on the right is certainly the meanest. The extras are Jim LeMoine, who moves over from the offense, Paul McGuire and rookie John Frantz (California).
The deep backs waltzed off with 19 enemy passes last year and broke up uncounted other passing plays. In cornerbacks Booker Edgerson and Butch Byrd, and safeties Tom Janik and George Saimes, you have the backbone of the Bills' defense. The subs, except for veteran safetyman Hagood Clarke, are young. They are rookies Jerome Lawson (Utah) and Pete Richardson (Dayton) at the corners and taxi-squaders Tommy Luke, Howard Finley and John Pitts at the safeties."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1968

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

1967 Profile: Keith Lincoln

No. 20
Washington State
"Although he was beginning to feel superfluous in San Diego, Keith Lincoln was a little shook up when he got news of his trade to Buffalo. He didn't like feeling unwanted, but the open-arms reception he received in Buffalo quickly reassured him.
One of the league's super-backs since 1962, he has the great versatility to play either halfback or fullback, is a strong, tough blocker, can catch passes and can run strong enough to break tackles. He was held to 58 carries for 214 yards and one touchdown last year, but this is a runner who pounded out more than 800 yards in 1963.
Pulled hamstring muscles have cut into his effectiveness the last couple of seasons, but the 6-1, 212-pounder expects to be running at full speed again in 1967."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Monday, September 15, 2014

1967 Profile: Elbert Dubenion

No. 44
"The magic returned to the golden wheels of Elbert Dubenion last year, after being slowed down by serious leg surgery. The 5-11, 190-pound flanker raked in 50 passes for 747 yards and two touchdowns to rank eighth in the league among receivers.
It was a remarkable comeback, both physically and mentally, for Duby. It was at first feared he would need more time to recover from the operation which sidelined him for most of 1965, and he also had to convince himself he could do it. But all fears were shelved as soon as he outdistanced his first defender early last season.
An original Bill, he twice topped 1,000 yards and is Buffalo's all-time receiving leader with 271 catches for 5,040 yards.
His best move is still the streak pattern."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Sunday, September 14, 2014

1967 Profile: Jim Dunaway

Defensive Tackle
No. 78
"During last year's All-Star Game, an offensive lineman sent this message to Jim Dunaway through a neutral: 'Tell that big farmer this is only an All-Star Game. He's been beating on my head all day.' That's the tipoff on this 6'4", 297-pound hulk of a man who plays defensive left tackle for the Bills. He doesn't know when or how to take it easy.
Now in his fifth AFL year, he has played with marked improvement each season, and now is one of the most feared pass rushers in the league.
Jim was a unanimous All-America at Mississippi and was drafted No. 2 by the Bills, as well as first by the Minnesota Vikings."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Saturday, September 13, 2014

1967 Profile: Wray Carlton

No. 30
"Back at his more natural position of fullback last year, Wray Carlton fit like a peg in its correct hole. He merely had the best season of his career. He finished fifth among rushers with 696 yards on 156 carries for a 4.4 average and six touchdowns.
During much of his seven years in the league, he has been forced to move over to halfback out of deference to Cookie Gilchrist and Billy Joe. But they are no longer in Buffalo. Wray's strength is running to the inside - he has no speed to the outside. He's a fine cutter and a hard runner, and he gives the quarterback good blocking.
A 6-1, 230-pounder, he played his college ball at Duke and originally was signed by the Patriots. He came to the Bills before the start of the 1960 season."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Friday, September 12, 2014

1967 Profile: Art Powell

Split End
No. 84
San Jose State
"It is a third-down-and-short-yardage condition, and as Art Powell positions himself out wide, the danger signals crackle in the defensive secondary like a crazy morse code. For Powell is practically impossible to cover in such situations, and in all likelihood he will make his famous look-in over the middle for the pass that will bail his team out. This is the reputation Art brings with him to Buffalo.
In seven professional seasons, he has become a virtuoso of the pass catching game, a man who has five times gone over the 1,000-yard mark. His lifetime total of 7,669 yards far outstrips any other receiver in the league.
Last year, the 6-2, 212-pounder caught 53 passes for 1,026 yards for a 19.4 percentage and 11 touchdowns, to finish in sixth place.
From 30 yards in, he's murder."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Thursday, September 11, 2014

1967 Profile: Ron McDole

Defensive End
No. 72
"Moving like a human torpedo, Ron McDole probably makes more opposite-side-of-the-field tackles than any other defensive end in the business. Though his weight varies anywhere from 249 to 300 pounds, it does not seem to affect his mobility or his animal quickness.
Ron, who played his college ball at Nebraska, originally broke into pro ball with the St. Louis Cardinals as an offensive tackle. He later moved into the AFL with the Houston Oilers, and ultimately was picked up by the Bills as a free agent."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1967 Profile: George Saimes

No. 26
Michigan State
"Thinking-man's football player George Saimes is a composite of many splendid little gifts sportswriters like to call intangibles. As an individual, he's concerned with what goes in the world outside the football stadium.
As a football player, he was barely big enough to play fullback at Michigan State, where he was an unanimous All-America. In the pros, he was converted into a safetyman and has become one of the league's best - again despite his size. Last year, his fourth in the league, he was voted to the All-AFL team, even though he didn't make one interception. At 5-11 and 186 pounds, he's not so small his fellow players can't see all the good plays he makes."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

1967 Profile: Bobby Burnett

No. 21
"You never know when a player is ready to burst into stardom. With rookie Bobby Burnett last year, the Bills' staff felt he was a year or so away. He'd never done any blocking in college, or any outside running.
But this is a kid who comes from a disciplined football background. His father was the coach of his high school team, and Carl Broyles cured him of fumbleitis when he was a sophomore at Arkansas.
So he put it all together last year and was the AFL's surprise Rookie of the Year, gaining 766 yards on 187 carries for a 4.1 average and four touchdowns, and finishing fourth in the league in rushing.
A 6-2, 197-pounder, he runs with a high knee action that is designed to break tackles."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Monday, September 8, 2014

1967 Profile: Billy Shaw

No. 66
Georgia Tech
"Some people think the best one-on-one show in pro football occurs during the mid-week practice sessions of the Bills, when Billy Shaw knocks heads with defensive tackle Tom Sestak. But it's not so. Billy is only warming up for Sunday's game when, week after week, he goes about proving he's the best guard in the league.
The highest vote-getter in the annual All-AFL ratings, he is the complete guard who is equally proficient as a pass blocker and as an interference-runner. The Bills staff says there is no department in which he has a weakness.
A 6-2, 258-pounder from Georgia Tech, he joined the Bills in 1961, which is about as long as he has been an All-League star."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Sunday, September 7, 2014

1967 Profile: Mike Stratton

No. 58
"Put a football suit on Mike Stratton and you transform him from a quiet, unobtrusive fellow into a violent play wrecker. The Bills' right linebacker plays with such fury that he has been credited with several clean knockouts during his five years in the league. It was Mike who knocked Keith Lincoln (now a teammate) out of the 1964 title game with his savage tackle, and it was Mike who last year flattened KC quarterback Pete Beathard with a head-on tackle.
Big and rough, he grew to his present 240 pounds after joining the Bills in 1962 weighing only 210. In addition to his good size, Mike is probably one of the fastest linebackers in either league. He started out as an offensive end."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Saturday, September 6, 2014

1967 Profile: Jack Kemp

No. 15
"There are quarterbacks in the league who are flashier than Jack Kemp, throw the ball for better completion percentages, and are superior playcallers. But the one thing Jack has over all of them is his ability to win - which is something he has been doing for the Bills for the last three years. And before that, he directed the Chargers to two titles in a row, placing him in five championship games in seven years.
Possessed with perhaps the strongest throwing arm in football, Jack was hampered last year by what turned out to be a torn muscle in his right elbow. Still, he completed 168 passes out of 389 attempts for 2,451 yards and 11 touchdowns and a .427 percentage. His playcalling improved, too.
In 1965, he was the AFL's Most Valuable Player."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Thursday, September 4, 2014

1967 Profile: Joe Collier

Head Coach
"Attuned to a coaching philosophy subscribed to only by winners, Joe Collier says, 'Sit and wait for the teams in this league to catch you and they'll trample you to death.' Having inherited the Eastern powerhouse Bills last season and having led them to another division title, Collier has not been one to sit on his success. Instead, he has gone out during the off-season and instituted trades to bolster sagging positions. The acquisition of such established operatives as Keith Lincoln, Art Powell, Mike Mercer and Tom Flores reflects the thinking of a man who intends staying right where he started - on top.
Collier was an assistant under Lou Saban for four years, the man who blueprinted the defenses that in the last three seasons held the opposition to just 15 touchdowns on the ground. He was the popular choice to succeed Saban when Saban elected to depart Buffalo.
'I can't remember when I didn't plan on a coaching career,' says Collier. As best as he can recall, it started back when he attended Rock Island High School in Illinois. He later was a star end at Northwestern and was drafted by the New York Giants. But he preferred to enter coaching instead, and in 1960 joined the Patriots as an assistant. Two years later, he joined the Bills."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1967 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"Last year, people were writing obits to the Bills. This year, the same people are singing their praises and openly predicting a fourth consecutive Eastern Division title - and maybe more.
How can they miss? Of course, questions like this preceded such disastrous flops as the Edsel and the Titanic, but the Bills have something going for them the others didn't - they are proven winners. More than that, the 1967 model is a vast improvement over the 1966 team. Off-season trades have improved their passing and running attacks, and they added points when they acquired place kicker Mike Mercer from Kansas City.
One of Buffalo's many constants is its quarterback, Jack Kemp. He may not rank as the best in the league, but he keeps on winning. That's enough. Jack tore a muscle in his right elbow last season, but he spent the summer throwing the ball in California and reported that the arm felt fine. Tom Flores, acquired in the big trade with Oakland, switches places with the departed Daryle Lamonica as the No. 2 man. His edge over Lamonica is that he's a better passer, and was good enough to guide the Raiders to a winning record.
The 1966 Bills completed 15 touchdown passes; only Denver with 12 had fewer. To end this drought the Bills acquired All-Pro split end Art Powell, who was the key man in the deal with Oakland. Powell will give the passing game some much needed legs, as well as allow Bobby Crockett to develop at his own pace. Crockett caught 31 passes for 533 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie last year. On the other side of the field, flanker Elbert Dubenion should be twice as effective with another old pro in the lineup, and Paul Costa, who caught 27 passes for 400 yards last year, is solid at tight end. The holdovers at end are Ed Rutkowski, Charley Warner and Charley Ferguson; the new men are John Pitts, the Bills No. 1 draft choice from Arizona State, and Jerry Seither, the No. 9 pick from Kent State.
A year ago, the Bills were operating with unknown factors in the backfield; not anymore. Bobby Burnett came so fast at halfback that he was voted the league's Rookie of the Year, and fullback Wray Carlton enjoyed his finest season. Now the Bills have added Keith Lincoln, the ex-San Diego great, to their backfield as swing man; Keith can be used at either halfback or fullback and give the ground game extra drive. Then there's Allen Smith, who looked promising at halfback as a rookie, and veteran fullback Jack Spikes to round things out. This year's batch of recruits includes Randy Wheeler (Georgia), Vern Moore (Central State) and Allen's brother Grover Smith (Ft. Valley State).
Up front, the momentum for the attack is provided by the best offensive line in the East. Stew Barber and Dick Hudson are the tackles, Billy Shaw and Joe O'Donnell are the guards and Al Bemiller is the center. The Bills seem to have more depth here than they did last year. Wayne Desutter and rookies George Gaiser (SMU) and Jim LeMoine (Utah State) are the extra tackles, ex-taxi squader Charley Turner and rookie Gary Bugenhagen (Syracuse) are the new guards, and Bob Schmidt is the backup center if he doesn't retire. Otherwise, Jim Baffico, who has been up before, will move in. If young Gaiser makes it at tackle, the Bills will shift DeSutter to defense.
There wasn't a tougher defense to run against last than Buffalo's front four. It should be the same story this season, even though the Bills lost end Tom Day to San Diego in the trade for Lincoln. Ron McDole will be back at the other end, and Tom Sestak and Jim Dunaway will return at tackle. Often in the past, this was the threesome that did the rushing, leaving Day back to work with the linebackers. To fill the other end, the Bills have Remi Prudhomme, a 6-4, 245-pound strongman who worked as a guard in his rookie season. The Bills are seeking depth on this line and have as candidates Don Thiesen and Ernie Lashutka, who are being brought up from the taxi squad, and rookies Malcolm Williams (Parsons College), Ernie Ames (Kent State) and Bob Bonner (Southern U.).
The quality and ferocity of the pass rush allows the Bills' topflight corps of linebackers to lay back and protect against the pass. Mike Stratton, Harry Jacobs and John Tracey form one of the ablest units around. If they need help, there are experienced reserves like Paul McGuire, Marty Schottenheimer and Paul Guidry.
Behind them is the brilliant secondary composed of Tommy Janik and George Byrd at the corners and Hagood Clarke and George Saimes at the safeties. But nobody's job is safe. There's bound to be a tough battle waged at left corner by second-year man Charley King, who is rated as speedier than Janik; and Booker Edgerson, recovered from knee surgery, will try to win back the other job at right corner. The other job-seekers are Charley King's brother, Tony, who taxied last year, and rookies Tommy Croft (Louisiana Tech), Grant Martinson (Utah State), Tommy Luke (Mississippi) and Mike Irwin (Penn State)."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Probable 1967 Finish: 1st
Strengths:  an improved offense, aided by the additions of Keith Lincoln and Art Powell, and the best overall defense in the league.
Biggest Needs: depth in the defensive line and another running back.
1966 finish:  1st

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1967

Monday, September 1, 2014

1966 Bills Offensive Line Profiles

No. 60
Michigan State
"Quarterbacks like to work over big Dave because he snaps an easy ball to handle and then quickly positions himself to afford the signal-caller blocking protection. His coach is most impressed by his agility. Defensive linemen fear working opposite big Dave."

-1966 Topps No. 18

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

"The big guard is a coach's dream. Billy has great speed and agility. Big No. 66 can often be seen in front of a running back cutting down would-be tacklers. He is the offensive team captain.
Billy played in the 1961 Coaches' All-American Game."

-1966 Topps No. 29

No. 50
"Al Bemiller is the swing man of the Buffalo offensive line this year. A congenital back injury may compel regular center Dave Behrman to quit the game. If so, the 6-3, 260-pound Bemiller will take his place. The switch will be no sweat for him. Al was a center on those famous Syracuse powerhouses of the late 1950's. The last couple of seasons, he has been playing right guard in order to make room for Behrman.
He's an outstanding blocker who gives the passer good protection, and is especially skilled at the finesse or 'influence' block, which takes more guile than beef."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966

"Highly touted as a rookie in 1961, Al has more than lived up to expectations. Exceptionally quick, Al often leads the way for sweeping backs by cutting down would-be tacklers. He is a perfectionist.
Al was an All-East selection at Syracuse."

-1966 Topps No. 19

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

"The Bills were severely jolted last year when their All-Star tackle was injured. However, Stew's knee is completely healed and he is ready to resume his duties in 1966.
Originally a linebacker, Stew was the Bills' No. 4 draft choice in 1961."

-1966 Topps No. 16

Offensive Tackle
No. 79
Memphis State
"A good tackle is one that gets the jump on the opposition. Dick is extremely quick, and many times during the season has opened holes in the enemy line to allow Buffalo backs to pop through for long gains.
Dick was obtained from San Diego."

-1966 Topps No. 25

1966 Profile: Paul Costa

Tight End
No. 82
Notre Dame
"If Paul Costa occasionally makes mistakes at tight end, don't shower him with your game program. Paul was an end in high school, but at Notre Dame he was knocked around from halfback to fullback to tackle. Last year, his first in pro ball, he all but pushed veteran Ernie Warlick out of a job.
Paul is a superb physical specimen at 6-5 and 256 pounds. You would think that would make him a slowpoke, but get this: he has run 50 yards in 5.6 seconds, then turned around and run another 50 in the identical time.
He's coming fast."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1966