Wednesday, December 31, 2014

1973 Profile: J.D. Hill

Wide Receiver
No. 40
Arizona State
"Hill came into the NFL as a flashy collegian who caught 115 passes for 1,886 yards and 21 touchdowns. He felt pro ball was going to a breeze. It wasn't.
'Catching the ball and running with it is no problem,' he says. 'But running a pass pattern is self-discipline.' J.D. didn't get to play until the ninth game of 1971. His first catch wasn't noteworthy but his next two were for touchdowns. He's been a solid star ever since.
In 1972 Hill caught 52 passes, fourth best in the AFC, and scored five touchdowns. His percentage of 14.5 was impressive, too. J.D. made four catches and six crackback blocks as the Bills beat Philadelphia.
'I came to the pros thinking it would be easy,' he says, looking back. 'But the best wide receivers have been playing five, six, seven, eight years.'"

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

Monday, December 29, 2014

1973 Profile: O.J. Simpson

Running Back
No. 32
"Nobody put the squeeze on O.J. in 1972. In game No. 2 of the regular season, he roared past his boyhood heroes, the San Francisco 49ers, for 138 yards on 29 carries.
'It was the best game I've ever played in the pros,' he said later. Simpson went on to gain 1,251 yards rushing. In fact, he passed 1,000 in his 11th game. O.J. had a 94-yard burst against Pittsburgh to set a team record, and topped 100 yards six times in 1972.
On everyone's All-NFL teams, Simpson averaged 4.3 yards a carry as he lugged the ball more than anyone in the AFC. Then for a finale, he won the MVP honor in the Pro Bowl game, his first.
'It was a fun game,' he said later. 'I haven't had too many of those in my pro career.' His turnabout in 1972 was attributed to two things: (1) he lost 11 pounds and (2) his new coach, Lou Saban, let him run more often."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

Sunday, December 28, 2014

1973 Profile: Walt Patulski

Defensive End
No. 85
Notre Dame
"Patulski was the No. 1 choice in the entire football draft a year ago. He enhanced his image during his first season in the pros but he wasn't that impressed with the way the pros play.
'The whole organization of pro football is cold,' he says. 'Everybody goes their own way. I've developed into a loner.' He did keep a few opposing quarterbacks company, though. But there, too, he has a slight problem. Like the day he had to think first before forcing himself to clobber Johnny Unitas, an old hero of his.
'I'm placid in a game. I don't loaf but I play too easy, too unemotional.' The Bills figure they are getting pretty good feedback, though, from their $150,000-a-year star. He signed a three-year contract."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

Saturday, December 27, 2014

1973 Profile: Robert James

No. 20
"A real surprise for the Bills, who, in turn, were a surprise on pass defense because of him. James had only one interception for the season but played strong as the Bills finished seventh overall among all NFL teams on pass defense. His one steal, however, preserved Buffalo's exciting 24-17 upset of the Washington Redskins. He bumps-and-runs with the best cornerbacks in the game.
James went to the Bills as a free agent in 1969, first playing with the special teams. In 1970, he started at the corner and in 1971, he intercepted four passes to lead the team. He reached his peak in 1972 when he was chosen to play in the Pro Bowl. He's the first player from Fisk to start in the pros."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

1973 Profile: Jan White

Tight End
No. 80
Ohio State
"Typical of the new breed of tight end- fast. White has done the 40-yard dash in 4.4 or 4.5 seconds every time he's been clocked. He's a former Pennsylvania high school hurdles champion.
'Most clubs are going to the faster tight end,' he says, 'so they can't be covered by a linebacker. If a safety is tied up covering a tight end, it takes away the opponent's ability to double-cover a wide receiver.' He hasn't had the opportunity to be on the receiving end much, though. As a rookie, he caught 13 passes for 130 yards. Last season he grabbed 12 for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
He's added 20 pounds to his college playing weight. White started for three years at Ohio State and the Buckeyes lost only two games."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

1973 Profile: Dennis Shaw

No. 16
San Diego State
"Some good, some bad came out of the 1972 season for Shaw. He predicted a possible 10-win season for the Bills and they didn't quite make half of that, but he had a better year than 1971. That year, he recalls, 'I was frustrated with myself, the coaching staff, the Bills organization, everything. What do you expect in a 1-13 season?' He lost 26 passes to the opposition on intercepts in 1971; he cut that down to 17 last season.
Shaw threw fewer passes than ever in 1972 (only 258) but hit on 52.7% and tossed for 14 scores. He had three coaches in his first three years with the Bills and blames that for some of his problems. He wore contact lens for the first time in '72; he doesn't like to see reporters, though.
'I don't like interviews,' he says. 'There are some things the public isn't entitled to know.' Interceptions might be one of those things.
Dennis is a Kansas farm boy."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

Monday, December 22, 2014

1973 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"Like any other coach taking over a 1-13 team, Lou Saban predicted marked improvements for the Bills last season. But to his credit, Saban delivered. The team improved by three-and-a-half games in the standings and maybe more so in appearance.
This a young team. As O.J. Simpson said in the team's huddle before the first game of the season, 'Okay, does everybody here know everybody?'
The Bills had a lot of injuries last season so they didn't get to know each other very well. Only about half the players made it through all 14 games and there was a point where Lou Saban was about ready to start combing the stands for offensive guards. The Bills made more than their share of off-season trades and had what seems to be another fine draft; the main job is to patch up the offensive line and repair the linebacking corps. Whether Dennis Shaw can fulfill the promise he showed as a rookie may make the difference as this club tries to climb past Baltimore and the New York Jets to become a second place contender."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

"The mysterious Mr. Shaw must start delivering his passes more consistently. As a rookie he showed he could. But he has dumped a lot of his throws into enemy hands since that fine start in 1970. Shaw will be pushed this year by second-year man Leo Hart and rookie Joe Ferguson, a third round choice from Arkansas.
When J.D. Hill improved last season, the whole pass catching department was on the upgrade. Hill caught 52, fourth highest in the AFC. Bob Chandler, a third-year man like Hill, caught 33 on the other flank. Both get good distance with their catches. Dwight Harrison, picked up last season from Denver, could see more action as the backup receiver. Except for him, the Bills have little in the wide receiver corps. Jan White, the tight end, didn't see the ball much last season but he's a flyer for his size and may be a secret weapon once this team gets into contention.
Buffalo has the ideal deep backs in O.J. and Jim Braxton. Both can run and catch. They caught 51 passes between them last season. O.J., of course, came into his own as a runner, gaining 1,251 yards to lead all NFL rushers. Braxton, the heavy-duty back, gained another 453 yards but after him the running attack tapers off sharply. This team could use a good number three back now that Wayne Patrick has been traded."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

"Herein lies the tale to Buffalo's future. The Bills quarterbacks got sacked 49 times for 411 yards in losses last year. Granted there were a lot of injuries but excuses aren't going to prolong Dennis Shaw's life. Reggie McKenzie, a guard who made the all-rookie team, is good at pulling out for Simpson but must upgrade his pass blocking. The other guard could well be Joe DeLamielleure, a Michigan State rookie and first round draft choice. Another first round choice, Paul Seymour of Michigan (the seventh man taken in the draft), could be at tackle. Mike Montler, who came in a trade from New England, could get a tackle berth though Paul Costa and Donnie Green figure because of last year's experience. Jim Reilly, who was out all season with an injury, is back at guard. Bruce Jarvis is at center."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

"Walt Patulski established himself at end. Jerry Patton played all 14 games at tackle as a rookie. Don Croft and Steve Okoniewski, also second-year men, will wage a battle with high draft picks Jeff Winans (Southern Cal) and Bob Kampa (California) at tackle. But Halvor Hagen, who the Bills think is a 'sleeper,' must replace the traded Al Cowlings at end."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

"Picking linebackers in Buffalo is like playing roulette. Jim Cheyunski, obtained from New England, could be a factor along with veterans Dale Farley, Dick Cunningham and Mike Stratton. Ken Lee, who led the team in interceptions with six, figures somewhere.
Bob James is an outstanding cornerback. Young Tony Greene and veteran Alvin Wyatt fill the other job. The safety position is improved because of young Mike Tyler, a rookie last season, who joined John Pitts and another 1972 rookie, John Saunders, in the deep spots."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

"Buffalo didn't force too many punts last season but the Bills did get to return a lot of kickoffs. The punt returns were fair, with Wyatt the best man, and the kickoff returns were good, with Wyatt and Greene hauling them back.
The Bills got a surprisingly good year out of kicker John Leypoldt, who made good on 16 of his 24 field goals. But the punting, handled by Spike Jones last season, must improve."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

"Buffalo could conceivably start eight men on offense and six on defense who have been in the league for two years or less. O.J. Simpson, with four seasons behind him, is becoming a senior citizen on this squad. But it's a very promising young group that is building, not rebuilding. Look for more improvement."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition

"OFFENSE: The Bills went 4-9-1 last year, their best record since 1966. O.J. Simpson led the league in rushing with 1,251 yards. And the Bills will have a new ball park this season, an 80,000-seat beauty in Orchard Park.
Buffalo defeated playoff-bound San Francisco and Washington and tied a good Detroit club. The Bills also came closest to stopping Miami's perfect season, 23-24, and also gave the Dolphins a good scrap in the rematch before falling, 30-16.
Simpson accumulated 1,562 yards of Buffalo's 3,733 yards of total offense- 1,251 rushing, 198 catching 27 passes and another 113 on five-of-eight pass completions. Coach Lou Saban had a good thing going for him and he used it at the expense of the passing game that ranked last in the conference with 114.4 yards a game. Jim Braxton added 443 yards rushing.
Quarterback Dennis Shaw made a mild comeback from his 1971 disaster by completing 52.2 per cent of his passes for 1,666 yards and 14 touchdowns.
J.D. Hill was the third busiest receiver in the conference with 52 catches for a 14.5 average and five touchdowns. Bobby Chandler added 33 catches and five touchdowns.
The offensive line captured Saban's attention during the draft. Buffalo had two picks in the first round and both are offensive linemen. No. 1a, Paul Seymour, a 6-5, 252 tackle from Michigan and No. 1b, Joe DeLamielleure, a guard from Michigan State. DeLamielleure was selected on a choice held by the Miami Dolphins but yielded for the negotiating rights to receiver Marlin Briscoe.
The third pick was Arkansas quarterback Joe Ferguson, one of those best-athlete-available selections. The offense was characterized by inconsistency. The Bills were shut out once, held to a field goal another time and managed just a touchdown on a third occasion. It is an offense that must average more than 18.4 points a game to survive.
DEFENSE: Buffalo plucked Walter Patulski off the Notre Dame campus last year, gave him a piece of real estate and said, 'Now work for it.' Patulski, the very first pick in the college draft, stood his ground to a degree but it was all very frustrating. It can get difficult at times when you are a defensive end on a defensive line that gives up 160 yards rushing per game, only better than three other teams in your conference.
'The opponents don't just come to my side, they like to spread it around,' Patulski said. 'Frankly, we had our troubles, defensively. We had two rookies starting. Jerry Patton's been on taxi squads for two years, so Al Cowlings is the only experienced man on the line. They've just been sort of attacking us in general.' Walter was not pleased with his rookie performance. 'I expected there'd be a lot to learn but I thought I'd be able to pick it up quicker than I did. In college, we never used any techniques. It was a matter of just trying to knock somebody out of there, that's all. We kept using that approach week after week and getting away with it. You don't get away with that in the pros.'
Cowlings has been sentenced to a fate worse than Buffalo- Houston- so now it's up to Walter and his young buddy, Patton, and a bunch of rookies to improve the pass rush that decked quarterbacks a mere 22 times. Second round draft choice Jeff Winans (6-2, 238) of Southern Cal, No. 3 Bob Kampa (6-4, 250) of California and fourth round pick Jeff Yeates (6-2, 238) may help. Halvor Hagen, acquired from New England, could step into a starting job as should middle linebacker Jim Cheyunski. Linebacker Paul Guidry was also sent to Houston for defensive end Allen Aldridge, who was no higher than third at his position on the Oilers' final depth chart last season.
The defensive backfield situation is chaotic, with John Pitts, Alvin Wyatt, John Saunders, Maurice Tyler and rookie Don Walker, a fourth round pick from Central Ohio State, figured in there somewhere. Linebacker Ken Lee led the team with six interceptions, and Tyler and Wyatt had four apiece.
Turnovers continued to plague the Bills last season. They lost 15 of 29 fumbles and recovered only eight of the opposition fumbles. But the people in Buffalo are excited. They have been watching a highlight film titled 'A Year to Cheer' and they are enthused about 1973. Saban's boys should be so excited.
SPECIAL TEAMS: John Leypoldt scored 77 points on 16 of 24 field goals, which was good. Spike Jones averaged 38.8 yards on punts, which was bad. It was doubly bad because the punts were returned 8.4 yards, a rather high average. Alvin Wyatt was the sixth swiftest kickoff return man in the conference with a 25.4 average and he returned 11 punts an average of 7.7 yards. Buffalo's special teams could be better but they have been worse.
QUESTIONS: The defensive line needs help badly. The offensive line needs help badly. The rushing defense needs help badly. The punting could be better.
STRENGTHS: A new atmosphere of a new stadium, O.J. being a dangerous runner and Wyatt leading the way on returns.
OUTLOOK: The Bills could pull a shocker this season and finish behind Miami in the division."

-Al Levine, Gridiron News 1973 Pro Yearbook

"For a long time, it's been hard to suppress a chuckle at the Buffalo Bills. The Bills counted it as a good year when they won more than two games. O.J. Simpson made some of the finest runs of the season just getting to the line of scrimmage. The Bills' stadium was in the ghetto and the ghetto residents complained because it gave the neighborhood a bad name.
All that may not be changed, but it's getting better.
The ghetto residents are still stuck with that awful stadium, but the Bills will play their games in a new 80,000-seat park in the suburbs. The old stadium had a capacity of 46,206.
O.J. led the National Football in ground gaining last year and the Bills actually started to beat winning teams.
To be sure, Buffalo's record was an un-miracle 4-9-1 in '72. But it was the best mark turned in by the Bills since 1966. The difference, for the team and especially for Simpson, was that Lou Saban returned to coach.
The Bills enjoyed their greatest days during the first Saban era, when the won back-to-back championships in the American League of 1964-65.
O.J. got the ball more than he ever he dreamed he'd get it as a pro. He carried 292 times for 1,251 yards, 35 more than Larry Brown of Washington. Saban's idea was not only to make total use of the game's most exciting runner but to cut down on his team's mistakes.
Saban reasoned that his offensive lads could get into less mischief if they concentrated solely on giving O.J. some daylight. The result was far fewer turnovers and some impressive holes for the Juice. Even the wide receivers, J.D. Hill and Bob Chandler, blocked.
Given some help, O.J. became worth the price of admission. He went over 100 yards six times, raced 94 yards- longest in four NFL seasons- for a touchdown against Pittsburgh's good defense and then capped the year with a spectacular show that helped sink the Washington Redskins in a final upset.
Saban gave him a hard-blocking, hard-running cohort, Jim Braxton, but the coach is pondering an even more explosive partner this season. He is Randy Jackson, the sole survivor of the plane crash which wiped out the Wichita University team three years ago.
Actually, Simpson had his spectacular year despite a severe handicap. The Bills went through seven guards, four centers and four tackles in a scourge of illness and injury.
To backstop against another siege like that, Saban used both his first round draft picks to acquired offensive linemen, tackle Paul Seymour of Michigan and guard Joe DeLamiellere of Michigan State. In addition, he traded for guard Mike Montler of New England, and two solid starters, center Bruce Jarvis and guard Irv Goode, come off the injury list.
The Bills haven't abandoned the passing game, even if it appears that way at times. Dennis Shaw hasn't duplicated the rookie season he had three years ago but his 14 '72 touchdown passes tied a club record.
Hill, an embryo superstar, and Chandler split 10 scoring receptions last year.
John Leypoldt was a walk-on surprise in training camp two years ago and now has two better-than-satisfactory field goaling seasons to his credit.
While Saban has made good progress in lining up studs to grind it out on offense, it has been slower going in his effort to build a defense.
Walt Patulski was the No. 1 pick in the whole draft last year, and the big end from Notre Dame justified the honor by having a strong season. The Bills picked up another prize when they claimed rookie tackle Don Croft from Baltimore. Two openings remain, however. One may be filled by end Halvor Hagen, another trade acquisition from New England.
The team's most critical area is linebacking. The trade with New England brought a middle linebacker, Jim Cheyunski. Ken Lee, a youngster who played only part-time last year but led the club in interceptions, will be moved outside.
Steadiest of the outside linebackers was Dave Washington, the stringbean from Denver. Mike Stratton has been around a dozen seasons but young Dale Farley, the ex-Dolphin, got to start the last game and played strongly against Miami. He will get a chance at the first-string job.
The Bills possess cornerbacks a contender would envy. Robert James made the Pro Bowl last year and Don Shula, the Miami coach, calls him 'the best in the conference.' His counterpart, Tony Greene, covers as well as most anyone in the AFC.
Safety is a problem. John Saunders, a rookie claimed off the Los Angeles roster, Chuck Detwiler, an acquisition from San Diego, and soph Maurice Tyler will try to unscramble it."

-Larry Felser, Pro Football 1973

"QUARTERBACKS: Shaw hasn't lived up to the promise of his rookie season. Leo Hart didn't look like the answer in his brief appearances. Joe Ferguson had a bad senior season but he could have a pro future. Matt Reed may be a tight end.
Performance Quotient: 4 [1 through 5, 1 being best]
RUNNING BACKS: O.J. finally moved mountains, just as they said he would when he was a legend in college. Who knows what he could do with first-rate blocking? Braxton came strong at the end, looking like a competent power back. Jackson has great potential. Bo Cornell, from the Browns, and Ted Koy are scheduled for spot duty.
Performance Quotient: 2
RECEIVERS: Hill finished fourth in the AFC with 52 catches and also scored five touchdowns, yet J.D. hasn't approached his full potential. He could be one of the great ones. Chandler, a great athlete with less than great tools, caused Haven Moses to be traded to Denver for Dwight Harrison. Dwight is future stock. Jan White, undersized for NFL tight ends, wasn't thrown to much. Jack Gehrke, from Denver, is nothing special. Wallace Francis is a sleeper.
Performance Quotient: 3
INTERIOR LINEMEN: Big changeover is due here. An injury siege caused constant change in last year's line. Only enormous Donnie Green, in his third year as a starter, stayed constant. Ex-Jet Dave Foley played better for Buffalo than he ever did in New York. Reggie McKenzie made the All-Rookie club. He was '72's best lineman here. Goode, hurt in a preseason game, sat out the campaign. Jarvis got hurt in the opener and never played again. Montler, from New England can step in if somebody falters.
Coach Saban made Seymour and DeLamielleure his two first round draftees.
Performance Quotient: 3
KICKERS: Mike Clark broke his arm in a summer game. Leypoldt had his second promising season with a 16-for-24 field goal performance. Punter Spike Jones does his job.
Performance Quotient: 2"

-Larry Felser, Pro Football 1973

"FRONT LINEMEN: Patulski ended up playing like the No. 1 pick in the draft in the draft is supposed to play. Part of the Bills' future is tied to his development. A master stroke was claiming rookie Croft from the Colts. Baltimore made an error. He played as well as Patulski. Another hole was filled when Jerry Patton was plucked off Minnesota's taxi squad. Hagen, new to Buffalo and new to defense, could be a gem. Jeff Winans was drafted high for an eventual starting spot. Allen Aldridge came in a trade with Houston. The others fight to stay.
Performance Quotient: 3
LINEBACKERS: One of Buffalo's major trouble spots. No one is proven here. Dick Cunningham and Cheyunski, from New England, duel here. Lee looked sharp at times last year. He will go outside. Stratton finished well, but at 32 how long has he got? Washington, acquired from Denver last year, has been a peaks-and-valleys guy throughout his career. Ex-Dolphin Farley may get a big shot. John Skorupan made All-America at Penn State.
Performance Quotient: 4
CORNERBACKS: James quietly edged into the ne-plus-ultra of cornerbacks. He puts clamps on the stars, and made All-Pro. Greene demonstrated first-rate coverage ability in his first year as a starter. Newcomer Don Walker could battle Leon Garror and Alvin Wyatt, the kick returner, for a place on the bench.
Performance Quotient: 2
SAFETIES: Another troublesome area. Saunders, plucked from L.A. as a rookie, started late and showed well. Tyler played brilliantly at times as a rookie. Detwiler, a former San Diego starter, can help here.
Performance Quotient: 3"

-Larry Felser, Pro Football 1973

1973 Buffalo Bills Preseason Depth Charts
Dennis Shaw (San Diego State)
Leo Hart (Duke)
Joe Ferguson (Arkansas)*
Matt Reed (Grambling)*

Running Backs
O.J. Simpson (USC)
Jim Braxton (West Virginia)
Randy Jackson (Wichita)
Bo Cornell (Washington)
Ted Koy (Texas)

J.D. Hill (W) (Arkansas)
Bob Chandler (W) (USC)
Jan White (T) (Ohio State)
Dwight Harrison (W) (Texas A & I)
Jack Gehrke (W) (Utah)
Wallace Francis (W) (Texas AM & N)*
James Ford (T) (Henderson State)
(W)-Wide Receiver  (T)-Tight End

Interior Linemen
Donnie Green (T) (Purdue)
Dave Foley (T) (Ohio State)
Reggie McKenzie (G) (Michigan)
Irv Goode (G) (Kentucky)
Bruce Jarvis (C) (Washington)
Mike Montler (G) (Colorado)
Paul Seymour (T) (Michigan)*
Joe DeLamielleure (G) (Michigan State)*
Bob Penchion (G) (Alcorn A & M)
(T)-Tackle  (G)-Guard  (C)-Center

John Leypoldt
Mike Clark (Texas A & M)
Spike Jones (Georgia)

Front Linemen
Walt Patulski (E) (Notre Dame)
Halvor Hagen (E) (Weber State)
Don Croft (T) (Texas-El Paso)
Jerry Patton (T) (Nebraska)
Jeff Winans (T) (USC)*
Allen Aldridge (E) (Prairie View)
Lou Ross (E) (South Carolina State)
Bob Kampa (T) (California)*
Jeff Yeates (T-E) (Boston College)*
(E)-End  (T)-Tackle

Dave Washington (O) (Alcorn A & M)
Mike Stratton (O) (Tennessee)
Jim Cheyunski (M) (Syracuse)
Dale Farley (O) (West Virginia)
Dick Cunningham (M) (Arkansas)
Ken Lee (M-O) (Washington)
John Skorupan (O) (Penn State)*
(O)-Outside Linebacker  (M)-Middle Linebacker

Robert James (Fisk)
Tony Greene (Maryland)
Leon Garror (Alcorn A & M)
Donnie Walker (Central Ohio)*
Alvin Wyatt (Bethune-Cookman)

Chuck Detwiler (S-W) (Utah State)'
John Saunders (W) (Toledo)
Maruice Tyler (S) (Morgan State)
John Pitts (S) (Arizona State)
(S)-Strong Side  (W)-Weak Side or 'Free' Safety

* Rookie

-Pro Football 1973 published by Cord Communications, Corp.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1972 Buffalo Bills Radio Information

"For the first time since they were founded, the Buffalo Bills will switch radio outlets. The new station will be WKBW-Buffalo. The announcers were not determined by press time."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1972 Edition

Sunday, December 14, 2014

1972 Buffalo Bills' Big Play

"Buffalo's running offense, obviously, depends on utilizing O.J. Simpson's talents. But since O.J. carries the rushing load on offense, some fancy footwork and fakes are needed to spring him loose.
In Buffalo's 'Pitch-Hand Back To Halfback' play, Dennis Shaw fakes a pitchout to the other deep back, going to the right, then pivots and hands to O.J. going up the middle."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1972 Edition

Friday, December 12, 2014

1972 Bill Rookie Profiles

Defensive End
1st Round
Notre Dame
"The first man taken in the entire draft, he has superstar potential. 21 years old, Patulski is expected to bump veteran Cal Snowden out of a job on the right side of the line. A great college player, he's from Liverpool, New York, not too far from Buffalo. That fact, plus his Polish ancestry, could make him a big star in Buffalo if he can cut it in the pros. Walt is a team player who prides himself on his clean play.
Patulski went to Notre Dame as a fullback prospect and still harbors a desire to carry the ball. He was a prep All-America as a back, and made the nation's all-sophomore team in college and was a consensus All-America as a senior. Walt co-captained the Irish. He wants to go to law school."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1972 Edition

2nd Round
Like Patulski, he has a background as a winner- McKenzie played for two Rose Bowl teams. He can really move. Reggie may have to put on weight but his speed is so good, he can sacrifice some of it.
'Most people projected Reggie in the first round,' says Saban. 'Top line prospects are difficult to come by and McKenzie certainly has the tools.' The Bills got him at the top of the second round. He made a name for himself blocking for record breaking Billy Taylor but in the end it was Reggie who made All-America.
McKenzie is best at blocking for the run; his weakness for pass blocking is credited to inexperience. He is a potential first-year starter on the right side.
He's from Detroit."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1972 Edition

Saturday, December 6, 2014

1972 Profile: Haven Moses

Split End
No. 25
San Diego State
"With the trade of Marlin Briscoe to Miami, Haven again becomes a prime- if not the prime- figure in the Bills' receiving department. After catching 42, 39 and again 39 passes in his first three big league seasons, he was limited to 23 last year as he shared the left-side job with rookie J.D. Hill. The earliest indication is that both Moses and Hill will be Shaw's batterymates this season.
Injuries also figured in Moses' subpar season, but he showed his old self after catching passes as he averaged 20.4 yards per reception. He scored a 73-yard touchdown.
Haven comes from sports-minded Compton, California, and played at pass-minded San Diego State, where he was a Little All-America. He also played in major postseason games, including the East-West, Senior, Coaches All-America and College All-Star. He was drafted No. 1 by the Bills and has been a starter ever since."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1972 Edition

Friday, December 5, 2014

1972 Profile: Al Cowlings

Defensive End
No. 82
"He traced O.J.'s footsteps almost to a toenail. Cowlings grew up in San Francisco, attended San Francisco City College, became an All-America at Southern Cal and was a No. 1 draft choice of the Bills- the same path O.J. traveled.
Because of his excellent size, speed and pursuit, Big Al earned a starting job as a rookie and last year gave evidence of being a fledgling star. The Bills' publicity mill says he 'may make a strong bid for All-Pro recognition in 1972.' Cowlings was the team's best pass rusher last year.
He's mod, and a music lover."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1972 Edition

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1972 Profile: Alvin Wyatt

Cornerback-Kick Returner
No. 41
"A first-year surprise at cornerback, Wyatt came to Buffalo in a trade with Oakland. He'd been a fine kick returner on the West Coast, having led the Raiders his rookie year (1970), yet was just a special teamer in the Raiders' long list of talent. But in Buffalo he found a starting job, displacing longtime hero Butch Byrd on the right side of the defense.
Alvin intercepted one pass and ran it back 30 yards. He also gave the Bills some real breakaway speed on kick returns, and ran back his 30 kickoffs for an average of 25.4 yards. He also averaged a very respectable 8.2 yards for his 23 punt returns and raced 61 yards for a touchdown with one of them.
Wyatt had an 86-yard punt return in college where he was all-conference three years in a row. He played baseball and ran track in college, too. He keeps active with baseball and basketball in the off-seasons."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Football, 1972 Edition

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

1972 Profile: Paul Guidry

No. 59
McNeese State
"A first-rage linebacker who has held down his job since 1968, with some time out for injury, Guidry replaced John Tracey as a starter after making a name for himself on special teams. He has made four interceptions, including one last season. Paul reached his peak in 1970 when he was accorded second-team All-AFC honors by United Press.
Guidry started college at Louisiana State but transferred to McNeese State where he starred as an all-conference tight end. Drafted eighth by the Bills in 1966, he has the speed, mobility and talent for snooping out opponents' plays.
Paul is nicknamed 'Gomer' because of his likeness to Jim Nabors of TV fame. He wants to coach someday."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1972 Edition

Monday, December 1, 2014

1972 Profile: Jan White

Tight End
No. 80
Ohio State
"He didn't catch a lot of passes as a rookie but made almost everyone's all-rookie team regardless. The reason: he's an exceptional blocking tight end, maybe the best in Bills' history, yet he has been a pro only one year. He gathered in 13 passes for 130 yards.
Jan has excellent speed (he was one of the nation's best hurdlers in high school) so he may be utilized more this season. A second round draft choice, Jan had been a three-year starter for three great Ohio State teams. He's interested in a coaching career.
He's very agile and has fine range and hands. Jan lends himself to Coach Saban's system and could be a future star.
Jan is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania."

-Jim Benagh, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1972 Edition