Tuesday, September 19, 2017

1978 Buffalo Bills Preseason Depth Charts

QB - Joe Ferguson (Arkansas), Ken Johnson (Colorado), Fred Besana (California)
RB - Roland Hooks (North Carolina State), Mike Franckowiack (Central Michigan), Terry Miller (Oklahoma State)*, Dennis Johnson(Mississippi State)*  
RB - Jim Braxton (West Virginia), Mike Collier (Morgan State), Curtis Brown (Missouri), Stan Winfrey (Arkansas State)  
WR - John Holland (Tennessee State), Lou Piccone (West Liberty State), John Kimbrough (St. Cloud State)
LT- Ken Jones (Arkansas State, Winston Hill (Texas Southern)
LG - Reggie McKenzie (Michigan), Bill Adams (Holy Cross)
C - Willie Parker (North Texas State), Connie Zelencik (Purdue)
RG - Joe DeLamielleure (Michigan State), Bill Adams (Holy Cross)
RT - Joe Devlin (Iowa), Ken Jones (Arkansas State), Randy Young (Iowa State)
TE - Reuben Gant (Oklahoma State), Paul Seymour (Michigan)
WR - Bob Chandler (USC), Len Willis (Ohio State), Danny Fulton (Nebraska-Omaha)*

LE - Ben Williams (Mississippi), Greg Morton (Michigan), Dee Hardison (North Carolina)*
LT - Mike Kadish (Notre Dame), John Little (Oklahoma State), Pete Lazetich (Stanford)
RT - Bill Dunstan (Utah State), John Little (Oklahoma State), Phil Olsen (Utah State)
RE - Sherman White (California), Phil Dokes (Oklahoma State), Scott Hutchinson (Florida)*
LLB - John Skorupan (Penn State), Shane Nelson (Baylor), Tom Ruud (Nebraska)
MLB- Merv Krakau (Iowa State), Greg Collins (Notre Dame)
RLB - Dan Jilek (Michigan), Bo Cornell (Washington), Lucius Sanford (Georgia Tech)*
LCB - Mario Clark (Oregon), Keith Moody (Syracuse)
SS - Doug Jones (San Fernando Valley), Steve Freeman (Mississippi State)
FS - Tony Greene (Maryland), Charles Romes (North Carolina Central)
RCB- Dwight Harrison (Texas A & I), Keith Moody (Syracuse)

K- Carson Long (Pittsburgh), Tom Dempsey (Palomar JC)
P- Marv Bateman (Utah), Rusty Jackson (LSU)

* rookie

-The Pocket Book of Pro Football 1978, published by Pocket Books, New York

QB - Joe Ferguson (Arkansas) 12, Ken Johnson (Colorado) 14
RB - Roland Hooks (North Carolina State) 25, Terry Miller (Oklahoma State)*, Dennis Johnson (Mississippi State)*
FB - Jim Braxton (West Virginia) 34,  Curtis Brown (Missouri) 47
WR - John Holland (Tennessee State) 80, John Kimbrough (St. Cloud State) 82, Lou Piccone (West Liberty State) 89
T- Ken Jones (Arkansas State) 72, Winston Hill (Texas Southern) 75
G - Reggie McKenzie (Michigan) 67, Bill Adams (Holy Cross) 60
C - Willie Parker (North Texas State) 61
G - Joe DeLamielleure (Michigan State) 68
T - Joe Devlin (Iowa) 70, Randy Young (Iowa State) 69
TE - Reuben Gant (Oklahoma State) 88, Paul Seymour (Michigan) 87
WR - Bob Chandler (USC) 81, Danny Fulton (Nebraska-Omaha)*

DE - Ben Williams (Mississippi) 77, Dee Hardison (North Carolina)*
DT - Mike Kadish (Notre Dame) 71, Phil Dokes (Oklahoma State) 85
DT - Bill Dunstan (Utah State) 76, John Little (Oklahoma State) 57
DE - Sherman White (California) 83, Scott Hutchinson (Florida)*
LB - Shane Nelson (Baylor) 59, John Skorupan (Penn State) 55
MLB- Merv Krakau (Iowa State) 52, Randy McClanahan (Louisiana-Lafayette) 54
LB - Dan Jilek (Michigan) 51, Lucius Sanford (Georgia Tech)*
CB - Mario Clark (Oregon) 29
SS - Doug Jones (San Fernando Valley) 24, Steve Freeman (Mississippi State) 22
FS - Tony Greene (Maryland) 43, Charles Romes (North Carolina Central) 26
CB- Dwight Harrison (Texas A & I) 28, Keith Moody (Syracuse) 46

K- Tom Dempsey (Palomar JC) 6, Carson Long (Pittsburgh) 5
P- Marv Bateman (Utah) 7, Rusty Jackson (LSU) 4
KR - Keith Moody (Syracuse) 46, Curtis Brown (Missouri) 47
PR - Keith Moody (Syracuse) 46, Lou Piccone (West Liberty State) 89

1978 Buffalo Bills Profile Summary
Head Coach - Chuck Knox

QB - Joe Ferguson (Arkansas) 12
RB - Roland Hooks 25 (North Carolina State) 25
RB - Jim Braxton 34 (West Virginia) 34
WR - Bob Chandler (USC) 81
WR - Frank Lewis (Grambling) 82
WR - Lou Piccone (West Liberty State) 89
TE - Reuben Gant (Oklahoma State) 88
TE - Paul Seymour (Michigan) 87
C - Willie Parker (North Texas State) 61
G - Reggie McKenzie (Michigan) 67
G - Joe DeLamielleure (Michigan State) 68

DT - Mike Kadish (Notre Dame) 71
RE - Sherman White (California) 83
DE - Dennis Johnson (Delaware) 75
MLB- Merv Krakau (Iowa State) 52
CB - Mario Clark (Oregon) 29
CB- Dwight Harrison (Texas A & I) 28
CB - Eddie McMillan (Florida State) 41
FS - Tony Greene (Maryland) 43

P- Marv Bateman (Utah) 7
KR - Lou Piccone (West Liberty State) 89
PR - Lou Piccone (West Liberty State) 89

Sunday, September 10, 2017

1978 Profile: Eddie McMillan

No. 41
Florida State
"An All-Rookie selection for the Rams in 1973, Eddie was a starter in all but four games in his three seasons in Los Angeles.
At Florida State, he began his senior year by returning the opening kickoff of the season 96 yards for a touchdown. Eddie has outstanding speed- he ran the 100-yard dash in 9.6 seconds while at Florida State."

-1978 Topps No. 244

Thursday, August 31, 2017

1978 Profile: Frank Lewis

Wide Receiver
No. 82
"Frank continues to maintain a high average-per-catch which has characterized his career. He needs 16 catches to move into the top 10 among all-time Steeler receivers.
Frank majored in recreation at Grambling."

-1978 Topps No. 431

Thursday, August 24, 2017

1978 Profile: Dennis Johnson

Defensive End
No. 75
"Dennis gained a starting assignment for the Redskins in 1975 and has been a key member of the club's defensive front since that time. He was credited with three fumble recoveries, four and a half quarterback sacks and a key interception for the Redskins in 1976.
Dennis played in the Boardwalk Bowl twice during his college career at Delaware."

-1978 Topps No. 31

Sunday, August 13, 2017

1978 Profile: Marv Bateman

No. 7
"The AFC's fourth leading punter in 1977, Marv had a 42.8 average in 1976 to lead all of pro football. That season he also had the NFL's longest kick, a 78-yard boot against the Oilers.
Marv is interesed in residential property sales."

-1978 Topps No. 286

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1978 Profile: Dwight Harrison

No. 28
Texas A & I
"Dwight has played cornerback for five years since being shifted from wide receiver at the beginning of the 1973 season. He had a 40-yard runback of an intercepted pass in 1975.
Forestry and conservation are Dwight's career interests."

-1978 Topps No. 496

Friday, July 28, 2017

1978 Profile: Lou Piccone

Wide Receiver
No. 89
West Liberty State
"A valuable specialty teams performer in addition to being a superb wide receiver, Lou excels as a tackler on punt and kickoff return coverage. A reckless pursuer, he's usually one of the first men downfield.
Lou was a running back in college. He played minor league football in Youngstown and Bridgeport in 1972 and 1975."

-1978 Topps No. 448

Monday, July 17, 2017

1978 Profile: Merv Krakau

Middle Linebacker
No. 52
Iowa State
"One of the most improved players on the Bills' squad, Merv was an effective specialty teams player before becoming a starter.
He was a defensive tackle at Iowa State and was Lineman of the Week for a 1972 performance against Nebraska."
Merv has ambitions to be a teacher after his playing career."

-1978 Topps, No. 369

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1978 Profile: Reuben Gant

Tight End
No. 88
Oklahoma State
"Reuben has improved his blocking tremendously and has become a very reliable player for the Bills.
He was a three-time honorable mention All-Big 8 at Oklahoma State and was considered to be the best downfield blocker on the offensive line.
Reuben's hobbies include horseback riding."

-1978 Topps, No. 212

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

1978 Profile: Willie Parker

No. 61
North Texas State
"With versatility as his major asset, Willie became the Bills' regular center in 1977. He has the ability to play guard or center and has been used by the Bills as a snapper on punts and placement kicks.
A strong specialty teams player, he was drafted by the 49ers in 1971 and spent most of that campaign on the reserve squad. Willie was traded to the Bills by the Los Angeles Rams on September 10, 1973. He was All-Missouri Valley in college during the 1970 campaign.
Willie is in the insurance business."

-1978 Topps, No. 176

Monday, June 26, 2017

1978 Profile: Mike Kadish

Defensive Tackle
No. 71
Notre Dame
"One of the Bills' most consistent defensive linemen, Mike enjoyed his finest campaign with the club in 1976. He was credited with 54 unassisted tackles and 41 assists that season and also led the defense with six and a half sacks.
Mike has started every game for the Bills the past three seasons. He realized a lineman's dream in 1975 when he scored a touchdown after running 22 yards with a lateral against the Steelers. He is extremely quick.
Mike is an avid golfer."

1978 Topps, No. 148

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1978 Profile: Roland Hooks

Running Back
No. 25
North Carolina State
"Heir apparent to O.J. Simpson. And how about filling THOSE shoes, boys and girls?
Hooks rushed for 497 yards (3.9 [yard average per attempt]) after Simpson was injured a year ago. He had a 66-yard run, the second longest non-scoring run in the AFC. 'Hook'em' Hooks, now in his fourth year with Buffalo after being drafted 10th out of North Carolina State, has been Simpson's valet ever since and now seeks his own identity.
Born in Brooklyn, where he became an elusive back, it is reported, the first time he was tackled on asphalt. Hooks has never scored a touchdown for the Bills, even though he also has returned punts and kickoffs. If he does well this fall, he will get a TV Hertz ad jumping suitcases in a Buffalo airport."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"A versatile and valuable performer for the Bills the past two seasons, Roland is one of the club's leading punt and kickoff return artists. He had the Bills' longest runback of 1976 with a 79-yard kickoff return against the Dolphins. Roland holds the North Carolina State record of 981 kickoff return yards.
Roland enjoys handball."

-1978 Topps, No. 471

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

1978 Profile: Tony Greene

Free Safety
No. 43
"It's not easy being Greene- the devil it isn't. Not if you're Tony Greene. The Bills' talented veteran leaves others green with envy the way he plays free safety.
He intercepted nine passes a year ago, matching his pro high and one behind the pro leader, Lyle Blackwood of Baltimore. Greene has 29 pass thefts over the last four seasons. A talented, versatile athlete, he has played cornerback and both safeties in his seven years with Buffalo.
Born in Bethesda, Maryland, Greene was a defensive back at Maryland and a 9.5 sprinter on the track team. A free agent- one more time?- signed by the Bills, he holds the club record with a 101-yard interception return, the NFL's longest in 1976."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"Tony set a Bills' record with a 101-yard return for a touchdown against the Chiefs on October 3, 1976, the longest interception return of the year in the NFL. He has great speed.
Tony enjoys music and dancing."

-1978 Topps, No. 251

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

1978 Profile: Mario Clark

No. 29
"Potentially an outstanding cornerback. Clark intercepted seven passes in his second year, which is outstanding considering that the Bills have no pass rush. He has started every game since the Bills drafted him in 1976.
Clark could become the Bills' land baron if O.J. leaves any over. He majored in architecture and real estate at Oregon, where he had 13 career interceptions and was the first Pacific 8 freshman ever named National Player of the Week. Clark was born in Pasadena, California, near the Rose Bowl, but never played there for lowly Oregon.
He's a bachelor whose hobbies include music, reupholstering furniture and intimidating quarterbacks."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"A very reliable performer for the Bills, Mario shows improvement in every game. Named to the NFL All-Rookie Team in 1976, he was credited with defensing 18 passes.
Mario was an All-Pacific 8 selection of both AP and UPI at Oregon. He was an honorable mention AP All-America with 13 career interceptions.
Mario's hobbies include reupholstering furniture."

-1978 Topps, No. 57

Thursday, May 25, 2017

1978 Profile: Sherman White

Defensive End
No. 83
"What went wrong? The second player taken in the 1972 draft, he had it all, the scouts said, but where did it go? White shouldn't feel too badly, though. Walt Patulski was drafted ahead of him, by Buffalo, and never did a thing, really. White was drafted by Cincinnati, never was one of Paul Brown's favorites and was traded to Buffalo before the 1976 season.
Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, White was a basketball player in high school and played only two games of football before attending college. He rapidly developed into an All-American as a University of California senior.
White lives in Oakland and works with disadvantaged youth in the off-season."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

Saturday, May 13, 2017

1978 Profile: Paul Seymour

Tight End
No. 87
"How many starting tight ends do you know that could survive while catching only two passes a season? It's possible. Paul Seymour caught that many a year ago and is in no danger of not starting in Buffalo. The reason he is a bludgeoning blocker.
Reuben Gant, his 'backup,' caught 41 passes. When the Bills want to throw, they bring in Gant and throw to him. If Chuck Knox decides to play Gant more regularly, Seymour will play tackle. But he WILL play.
Born in Detroit, Seymour is one of the finest linemen in University of Michigan history. He was drafted in the first round in 1973, just ahead of DeLamielleure. His brother Jim was a Notre Dame wide receiver who played in the NFL."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"Although his receiving statistics are impressive, Paul's value to the Bills is more as a strong and devastating blocker. A consistent player week after week, he has started 69 of 70 games at tight end since being converted from tackle.
Paul plays the guitar."

-1978 Topps, No. 424

Thursday, May 4, 2017

1978 Profile: Reggie McKenzie

No. 67
"Buffalo doesn't suffer from a Mac attack. The town has its Big Mac and he's a good friend of the Juice. McKenzie was voted the NFL's best blocking lineman by a Wisconsin group in 1973 when O.J. rushed for 2,003. He was All-Pro in '73 and '74, but recent honors have gone to his running mate Joe DeLamielleure. McKenzie takes great pride in the accomplishments of the Bills' offensive line as a unit. He's a very intense performer.
Reggie has a good eye for beauty; he married Miss Massachusetts of 1974, Gthellean Hicks. Born in Detroit, he was recruited by Michigan after an assistant football coach saw him punch out a kid after losing a high school wrestling match. Really! Reggie doesn't wrestle anymore."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"Reggie has now started 85 consecutive regular season games for the Bills over the past six campaigns. He continues to refine the skills which earned him All-Pro and All-Conference honors in 1973 and 1974. Winner of the Wisconsin Pro Football Writers' Award as the NFL's top blocking lineman of 1973, Reggie is an intense competitor with pride in the accomplishments of the Bills' offensive line as a unit. He has outstanding speed off the snap.
Reggie' wife was voted as Miss Massachusetts of 1974."

-1978 Topps, No. 323

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

1978 Profile: Joe DeLamielleure

No. 68
Michigan State
"Joe D.; let's leave it at that. All-Pro the last two years, the second time made Joe feel great because he did it without for O.J. Simpson for most of the season.
An outstanding blocker, both in run and pass situations, he's been a starter since '73, when the Bills drafted him in the first round. Reggie McKenzie was O.J.'s 'main man,' but Joe D. is considered the better guard. He gives juice to the 'Electric Company,' which gave juice to the Juice.
Born in Detroit, Joe lives in Center Line, Michigan even though he plays just to the right of center. One of 10 children, he was an outstanding lineman at Michigan State and in the East-West Shrine Game. Joe works as a banker in the off-season."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"In 1977, for the third consecutive season, Joe was the Bills' most honored offensive lineman. He was accorded All-Pro recognition last season and saw action in the Pro Bowl at Tampa last January.
In five straight years with the Bills, Joe has started every game and now ranks as one of the most outstanding guards in pro football. Named to the NFL All-Rookie team for the 1973 season in a poll taken by UPI, he was an offensive guard and tackle in college.
Joe is one of the best racquetball players on the Bills' squad."

-1978 Topps, No. 20

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

1978 Profile: Jim Braxton

Running Back
No. 34
West Virginia
"Roll out the barrel. Hey, why is this offensive guard carrying the ball? Braxton looked fat, slow and over-the-hill last year after an 800-yard season two years before. Maybe Braxton, a damaging blocker, missed O.J. Whatever, he looked like a man in need of a physical overhaul.
Born in Vanderbilt, PA, Braxton starred at West Virginia, where he also threw the discus. The Bills drafted him in the third round of the 1971 draft. He tore ligaments, which wiped him out for the '76 season; maybe he was still feeling the effects last year. He has had a weight problem throughout his NFL career.
Braxton works for the governor of West Virginia in the off-season, speaking mainly to young people. He collects coins as a hobby."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"Ranked among the top four all-time Bills rushers, Jim has scored three touchdowns in four different games during his career. He's a strong runner, and a clever receiver and blocker.
Coin collecting is one of Jim's hobbies."

-1978 Topps, No. 114

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

1978 Profile: Bob Chandler

Wide Receiver
No. 81
"Guess who has led all NFL wide receivers in receptions the last two years. No, not Drew Pearson, Cliff Branch or Sammy White ... Bob Chandler. That's right, Bob Chandler. Don't be surprised. Chandler is underrated but talented. He had 60 receptions last year, 176 the last three but always watches the Pro Bowl on TV.
Born in Long Beach, California, Chandler started his USC career as a quarterback, and in his first game as a wide receiver caught eight passes. He scored the only touchdown of the 1970 Rose Bowl when he was voted Player of the Game. He's a talented athlete who was on the USC track team and now tears up golf courses. Chandler is closing in on his law degree and is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"One of the NFL's most outstanding wide receivers, Bob runs precise patterns and relies on quickness and moves plus sure hands. He is the holder on conversions and field goals.
Bob participated in the long jump, high jump and triple jump at USC."

1978 Topps, No. 85

Thursday, April 6, 2017

1978 Profile: Joe Ferguson

No. 12
"Ranked 13th in AFC passing ... say it isn't so, Joe. He has had moments of greatness but has been an overall disappointment: 12 touchdowns and 24 interceptions last year. Without O.J. Simpson, Ferguson still led the AFC in passing yardage with 2,803. But he is a 50 per cent passer, nothing more. A streak passer, his career statistics are 52 touchdowns and 74 interceptions.
Born in Alvin, Texas, he grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and attended the same high school as Terry Bradshaw. Ferguson fell off his last year at Arkansas, but the Bills drafted him third in 1973. He has been their starting quarterback since he was a rookie.
Joe wants to coach someday. He breeds and raises Arabian horses."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"Joe set the Bills' passing mark for highest completion percentage in one game with 81.3%. It came when he hit on 13 of 16 passes against the Packers in 1974.
He made the UPI All-Rookie team in 1973 when he started every game.
Joe is involved in breeding and raising Arabian horses."

-1978 Topps, No. 339

Thursday, March 30, 2017

1978 Profile: Chuck Knox

"Shufflin' off to Buffalo isn't the recommended way to keep the victories rolling in. Not when you're Chuck Knox, who won five NFC West titles in five years in Los Angeles. He couldn't stand working for Rams' owner Carroll Rosenbloom, however- too much quarterback interference. Knox isn't the Hollywood type anyway.
But what, for heavens sake, can he expect in Buffalo, where Lou Saban dismantled a good team? 'I'm not a miracle worker,' said Knox. 'But hard work can make up for a lot of things. I guarantee that no coaching staff will out-work us.' Whether that is enough remains to be seen.
Born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Knox won't have the expert advice of Don Klosterman on scouting college talent. But Chuck is now in charge of the entire football operation in Buffalo, so all is not all lost."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

Friday, March 24, 2017

1978 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"The O.J. Simpson era has ended in Buffalo, and a major rebuilding program has been initiated under the direction of former L.A. Ram head coach Chuck Knox. A glittering collegiate draft provided some optimism for the Bills' fans, who set a new all-time low in attendance last season when O.J. was sidelined with an injury. Knox, a run-oriented, ultra-conservative type, is expected to drastically revamp an offense that led the NFL in pass attempts (457) as well as a defense that recorded an NFL-low 17 sacks.
OFFENSE: Top draft pick Terry Miller of Oklahoma State is an all-purpose game-breaker with 1,000-yard potential, and should soften the blow of Simpson's departure. Power blocker Jim Braxton returns at fullback to lead the way for Miller. Highly regarded Dennis Johnson of Mississippi State packs speed and power and could be a factor at fullback, while Roland Hooks and Curtis Brown are reserve tailbacks.
Knox inherits a classy run-blocking line that features the play of All-Pro Joe DeLamielleure and veteran Reggie McKenzie at the guards. Willie Parker is the regular center, Joe Devlin is set at one tackle, but the other position is up for grabs among converted tight end Paul Seymour, Winston Hill and rookie Eric Smith (6'5"/275) of Southern Mississippi.
Quarterback Joe Ferguson has the tools and should prove to be less erratic (24 interceptions) under the conservative influence of Knox. Fred Besana has the edge over fellow soph Ken Johnson for the No. 2 passer role. Although plagued with constant double coverage, flanker Bob Chandler managed to rank second in the conference with 60 receptions. Prize draft pick Danny Fulton of Nebraska-Omaha should lighten the load by drawing attention on the opposite flank. John Holland, John Kimbrough and Lou Piccone are reserve wide receivers. Should Seymour be moved inside to tackle, talented Reuben Gant will take over tight end on a full-time basis, with young Ken Spaeth of Nebraska his backup.
Punter Marv Bateman posted a fine 39.9-yard average on his 81 punts last year and consistently ranks among the leaders in his specialty. Soph Carson Long and veteran Tom Dempsey battle for the placekicking job. The darting Miller will double as a key kick returner and should generate plenty of excitement with his breakaway ability.
DEFENSE: Knox will be starting from scratch in this disaster area and will rely on rookie talent to bring order to what has been a terribly disorganized unit. All-American Dee Hardison (6'4"/ 250) of North Carolina and top-rated Scott Hutchinson (6'4"/245) of Florida are expected to step into starting roles in the front line. Aggressive Mike Kadish should retain his regular status at tackle while Ben Williams, Sherman White and Bill Dunstan compete for the open slot.
The established linebacking trio is scheduled for revision due to the arrival of rookies Lucius Sanford of Georgia Tech and Mario Celotto of USC. John Skorupan and Dan Jilek appear relatively secure, but Merv Krakau and/or hustling Shane Nelson will have to scramble to retain their jobs. Bo Cornell and Tom Ruud figure to remain emergency reserves.
An especially cohesive secondary, one that has suffered from the lack of a pass rush, will remain intact with ball-hawking Mario Clark (seven interceptions) and Dwight Harrison working the corners while standout Tony Greene (nine interceptions) pairs with capable Doug Jones at the safety spots. Steve Freeman is the key reserve while Keith Moody and Charles Romes add depth.
PFI OUTLOOK: The Bills have plenty of individual talent on hand and could respond in surprising fashion to the fundamentalist approach of Knox. The new field boss faces a difficult adjustment, moving from a first place team to a cellar-dwelling club as well as from the defense-oriented NFC to the high scoring AFC. It could prove to be a painful transition this first year.
Prediction: 5th Place"

-Pro Football Illustrated 1978, published by Complete Sports, Inc.

"The announcement that O.J. Simpson had shuffled off FROM Buffalo to San Francisco didn't exactly come as a thunderbolt. It was more or less expected, given all the talking and balking about the Juice's expressed desires to finish his career somewhere on California's shores, the land he calls home. What did come as a surprise was the announcement that highly successful Los Angeles head coach Chuck Knox would be taking over the Bills, replacing Jim Ringo in a job that's rapidly becoming noted for its transitory nature.
Knox is Buffalo's third head coach in less than three years. Ringo took over from Lou Saban in mid-season of 1976, and finally wound up with a 3-20 record overall. And now, enter Knox who was supposed to have herded the Rams all the way into the Super Bowl last year. Instead, they got stuck in a highly unusual mud bog and lost an NFC division playoff to a weather-hardened bunch of Minnesota Vikings, 14-7. It was a bizarre ending to Knox's well-founded hopes of a Super Bowl game after achieving the playoffs all five of his years in Los Angeles, his record there being 54-15-1.
Buffalo's All-Pro guard Joe DeLamielleure expressed the feelings of perhaps quite a few Bills when asked his views on the new head coach. 'A lot of guys couldn't believe it at first,' DeLamielleure confided. 'And then, it gave them a lot of confidence because Chuck Knox must see something positive here. He's a proven head coach and we're just happy that he could see enough here to interest him.'
What does interest Knox in Buffalo? It certainly can't be the weather, not after those years in balmy L-A. While the Bills have won only five of their last 28 games, Knox can rightfully discern some positive points. The 1977 passing offense, for instance, led the entire NFL in yards gained through the air, even though Joe Ferguson's performance at quarterback last season wasn't all that impressive. What was very noteworthy, however, was the Buffalo corps of receivers who caught a total of 221 passes for an average gain of 12.7 yards.
The Bills didn't rank quite so high in rushing offense, but they finished quite a way up the ladder in total offense- an AFC fourth behind the heady company of Oakland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Ferguson's final game of '77 was a club record-breaker. In closing out the schedule against the Dolphins in the Orange Bowl, he completed 25 passes in 40 attempts for 331 yards and a touchdown. The 25 completions broke a Buffalo record for one game. He also surpassed club one-season marks for passing attempts with 457, and completions with 221.
In another area, corner Keith Moody, in his second year, set a new Buffalo record for best punt return average for a season, 13.1 yards per carry. Also, his 91-yard punt return for a touchdown against Cleveland is the longest in Buffalo annals. And for the second successive year, Bob Chandler caught more passes than any other NFL wide receiver. Whether it's offense of defense, Knox will find plenty about the Bills to keep him interested while he tries to achieve the balance of a tightrope walker over nearby Niagara Falls.
Of interest, naturally, are Knox's feelings about walking into the Buffalo job while one of pro football's greatest, the redoubtable Orange Juice, is walking out. 'The trade of Simpson to San Francisco creates of element of uncertainty at running back,' Knox admits. 'You don't lose an athlete of O.J.'s stature without feeling it. But we're optimistic about the prospect of finding a solid replacement. Roland Hooks did a good job after the Juice was sidelined for the year. There were also things to like about the limited play of Mike Collier and Curtis Brown. Jim Braxton, whose rushing totals were off last fall because of injury, is certainly a key to our ground game.'
In the opinion of some expert observers, Knox has already taken a head start toward resurrecting the Bills by making shrewd choices in the 1978 NFL college draft. In fact, Buffalo and New Orleans are regarded as this year's most successful drafters of rookie prospects. Knox & Company had five choices in the first three rounds and used them to selected highly regarded collegians in positions that need help. Running backs Terry Miller (Oklahoma State) and Dennis Johnson (Mississippi State) provide some hope of offsetting O.J.'s departure. Defensive ends Dee Hardison (North Carolina) and Scott Hutchinson (Florida) give that lagging defensive unit a boost. Wide receiver Danny Fulton (Nebraska-Omaha) joins a pass-receiving unit that needs depth, even if doesn't need help."

-Herbert M. Furlow, The Pocket Book of Pro Football 1978

"Quarterbacks: Interceptions kept Ferguson from being really effective last season. It's hard to believe he threw only one interception in 1976 (in 151 attempts) and 24 in 1977 (albeit on 457 throws). That, plus Buffalo's 20 lost fumbles and the 36 times Ferguson was sacked, contributed much to the 3-11 season.
Buffalo fans wanted rookie Ken Johnson to get a chance but he didn't. Besides Ferguson, the only other player to throw a pass for Buffalo last season was O.J. Simpson. He tossed the ball one time and it fell, like his career at this point, incomplete.
Running Backs: O.J. Simpson, as everybody knows, has switched teams if not rent-a-cars. Simpson watchers from Buffalo to Bombay will watch his San Francisco sojourn with an avid interest, at least.
Will he be missed by the Buffalo running game? Some say no, pointing to Braxton's smooth recovery from knee surgery and the present diversified rushing attack. Hooks showed good form his second year, but bigger developments may lie ahead.
The Bills chose two of college football's top running backs in the '78 NFL draft. No. 1 pick was Terry Miller, consensus All-American from Oklahoma State. Dennis Johnson of Mississippi State was chosen in the 3rd round. Johnson's rushing average was five-plus yards per carry. Concerning Terry Miller, Knox says, 'Comparison with O.J. Simpson at this point would be unfair to Terry, but he is also an explosive runner with ability to make tacklers miss and he can run away from people.'
Receivers: Chandler's 60 receptions ranked second in the NFL, and Reuben Gant's 41 helped the passing attack considerably- so much so that Buffalo led the entire NFL in team passing offense (180.7 yards per game). A total of 221 pass receptions ranked an NFL third; running back Braxton caught 43 of these.
John Kimbrough is a speedy kick returner. There may be more to come. In the 3rd round the Bills chose Danny Fulton, fresh out of the University of Nebraska's Omaha campus and carrying a flock of impressive credentials.
Interior Linemen: Tackle Dave Foley retired after eight years and that leaves Joe Devlin, Joe DeLamielleure, Willie Parker and Reggie McKenzie as starters. Ken Jones, who played all 14 games, looms as Foley's possible replacement at left tackle although Winston Hill is on hand after an exchange with the Rams. This is the unit that did so well by O.J. Simpson, and also provided protection for the NFL's leading team passing attack in '77. It has that magic blend of talent, youth and experience.
Kickers: Marv Bateman does a good job with his 39.9 average. He may have some competition from Rusty Jackson who averaged 39.0 yards for the Rams in 1976.
Carson Long was an instant success his rookie year, with 13 of 14 PATs and seven of 11 field goals, some of them from beyond the 35-yard marker. Little wonder the Bills chose no shoe experts in the draft. But they did pick up one from the free agents- Tom Dempsey, lately of Houston."

-Herbert M. Furlow, The Pocket Book of Pro Football 1978

"Front Linemen: Was Buffalo's defense suspect last season? Opinion differs on this, but the opposition did score 313 points, the enemy quarterbacks got sacked only 17 times and the opposition attack gained 318.1 yards [per game], which placed the Bills 11th in AFC team defense.
Phil Dokes and Mike Kadish gave good accounts of themselves, but some re-sorting may be in order here. Dee Hardison, a 2nd round choice, was an All-American end last season and Scott Hutchinson, also a second round pick, received regional plaudits.
Linebackers: Merv Krakau filled in for the injured John Skorupan. Dan Jilek and Shane Nelson play aggressively and hit hard. Lucius Sanford is a 4th round choice from Georgia Tech where he achieved honorable mention All-America.
Cornerbacks: Mario Clark is living up to his pre-rookie evaluation. He does the job well and had seven interceptions last season. Dwight Harrison is one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. Ball-carriers find him hard to get by.
Moody returns punts at a 13.1-yard pace and kickoffs at 21.2 yards per carry.
Safeties: Tony Greene's nine interceptions placed him second in the NFL behind Bengal Lyle Blackwood's 10. And Greene did it coming back from injury. Often penalized, Doug Jones makes up in aggressiveness what he lacks in tact."

-Herbert M. Furlow, The Pocket Book of Pro Football 1978

"Orange juice sales are down in Buffalo, where people don't run through airports, or look anymore for than gifted athlete who did. Niagara Falls, it's said, doesn't even fall with the same force. Buffalo lost its No. 1 tourist attraction, Orenthal James Simpson, the man who made the Buffalo Bills and, it's to be assumed will now break them. O.J. has now gone home to San Francisco, leaving Roland Hooks to try and run his sweeps. But how do you snake through holes like The Juice?
New coach Chuck Knox, who allowed the trade, said, in essence, 'OK, we don't figure to win this year, maybe not even next year. It's the future we're concerned with.'
Well, the rape of the Bills is complete. O.J. is near the Golden Gate, J.D. is in Motown, Ahmad in Icicleville, Pat rushing passers in Oakland.
What's left is Joe Ferguson, an average quarterback; Hooks and Jim Braxton, average backs; a strong line with no one to open holes for; and a capable wide receiver in Bob Chandler. Buffalo's offense, once the game's most productive, now slips into the sunset- over San Francisco."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"Without Simpson, Buffalo's defense figures to be on the field even longer this fall. The Bills' defense has presented a problem for the offense for a number of years, namely how to outscore what it has given up. Without Simpson and playing in the loaded AFC East, the Bills will be lucky to win two games. It won't be the fault of the entire Bills' defense. The secondary is one of the AFC's finest- Tony Greene, Mario Clark, Dwight Harrison and Doug Jones. Greene had nine interceptions and Clark seven- the second and fourth best records in football.
But as good as Buffalo is against the pass, it's just as bad against the run. Opposing running backs feel like O.J. when they know it's Buffalo's defense they're running against. The Bills surrendered 171 yards rushing a game, placing them 25th in football. Buffalo wound up 23rd in team defense because of its sieve-like tendencies against the run. Mike Kadish isn't bad, but Bill Dunstan and Sherman White are journeymen. The Bills had only 17 quarterback sacks- the worst record in the NFL. Which makes their secondary something special."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"How would you like to be Carson Long? Only 14 PAT attempts in 14 games and 11 field goal attempts, making seven. Marv Bateman, whose dream is to out punt Ray Guy someday, finished below his expectations at 39.9. Keith Moody and John Kimbrough each returned a punt for a touchdown, so not all is lost."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"O.J. Simpson is gone and the Bills immediately replaced him with Oklahoma State great Terry Miller. Then Buffalo got down to a more serious area of concern, drafting defensive ends Dee Hardison of North Carolina and Scott Hutchinson of Florida."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

"Working under Carroll Rosenbloom was nothing in comparison to what Chuck Knox will experience this season. He inherits a team with more holes than the Watergate coverup. He'll need a long contract to endure those sleepless, winless nights to which he's unaccustomed."

-Dave Newhouse, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1978 Edition

Sunday, March 5, 2017

1977 Buffalo Bills Preseason Depth Charts

QB - JOE FERGUSON 12, Gary Marangi 17, Fred Besana*
RB - O.J. SIMPSON 32, Roland Hooks 25, Curtis Brown*
RB - JIM BRAXTON 34, Jeff Kinney 36, Darnell Powell 35, Nate Jackson*
WR - JOHN HOLLAND 80, Emmett Edwards 86, Thom Gossoms**, Bill Houston**
LT- DAVE FOLEY 78, Ken Jones 69
LG - REGGIE MCKENZIE 67, Will Wilcox*
C - MIKE MONTLER 53, Willie Parker 61, Bob Patton 65
RG - JOE DELAMIELLEURE 68, Bill Adams 60
RT - DONNIE GREEN 74, Joe Devlin 70
TE - PAUL SEYMOUR 87, Reuben Gant 88, Fred Coleman 84
WR - BOB CHANDLER 81, Ron Holliday 82, Eddie Bell 27, Steve Shelton**

LE - Ben Williams 77, Ron Pruitt*
LT - MIKE KADISH 71, Jeff Lloyd 75
RT - MARTY SMITH 79, Bill Dunstan 76
RE - SHERMAN WHITE 83, Phil Dokes*
LLB - JOHN SKORUPAN 55, Tom Ruud 54, Mark Johnson 50
MLB- MERV KRAKAU 52, Bob Nelson 56, Greg Morton*
RLB - DAN JILEK 51, Bo Cornell 30
LCB - MARIO CLARK 29, Robert James 20, Willie Smith**, Charles Romes*
SS - DOUG JONES 24, Van Green 21
FS - TONY GREENE 43, Steve Freeman 22
RCB- DWIGHT HARRISON 28, Keith Moody 46

K - GEORGE JAKOWENKO 5, Ron Slovenski**, Neil O'Donoghue*
P - MARV BATEMAN 7, Wilbur Summers**

* rookie
** free agent

-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-TV-Radio Guide

Joe Ferguson (Arkansas)
Gary Marangi (Boston College)

Running Backs
O.J. Simpson (USC)
Jim Braxton (West Virginia)
Roland Hooks (North Carolina State)
Jeff Kinney (Nebraska)
Darnell Powell (Chattanooga)

Bob Chandler (W) (USC)
John Holland (W) (Tennessee State)
Paul Seymour (T) (Michigan)
Reuben Gant (T) (Oklahoma State)
Eddie Bell (W) (Idaho State)
Fred Coleman (T) (Northeast Louisiana)
Emmett Edwards (W) (Kansas)
(W)-Wide Receiver  (T)-Tight End

Interior Linemen
Dave Foley (T) (Ohio State)
Joe Devlin (T) (Iowa)
Joe DeLamielleure (G) (Michigan State)
Reggie McKenzie (G) (Michigan)
Mike Montler (C) (Colorado)
Donnie Green (T) (Purdue)
Bill Adams (G) (Holy Cross)
Willie Parker (C-G) (North Texas State)
Ken Jones (T-G) (Arkansas State)
Bob Patton (C) (Delaware)
(T)-Tackle  (G)-Guard  (C)-Center

George Jakowenko (PK) (Syracuse)
Marv Bateman (P) (Utah)
(PK)-Place Kicker  (P)-Punter

Front Linemen
Ben Williams (E) (Mississippi)
Sherman White (E) (California)
Mike Kadish (T) (Notre Dame)
Bill Dunstan (T) (Utah State)
Marty Smith (T) (Louisville)
Jeff Lloyd (T) (West Texas State)
(E)-End  (T)-Tackle

Dan Jilek (O) (Michigan)
John Skorupan (O) (Penn State)
Merv Krakau (Iowa State)
Tom Ruud (O) (Nebraska)
Bob Nelson (O-M) (Nebraska)
Bo Cornell (O) (Washington)
Mark Johnson (O) (Missouri)

(O)-Outside Linebacker  (M)-Middle Linebacker

Mario Clark (Oregon)
Dwight Harrison (Texas A & I)
Keith Moody (Syracuse)
Clifford Brooks (Tennessee State)
Robert James (Fisk)

Doug Jones (S) (San Fernando Valley State)
Tony Greene (W) (Maryland)
Van Green (S) (Shaw)
Steve Freeman (W) (Mississippi State)
(S)-Strong Side  (W)-Weak Side or 'Free' Safety

* Rookie

-Pro Football 1977 published by Ballantine Books

QB - Joe Ferguson, Gary Marangi, Sam Wyche
RB - O.J. Simpson, Roland Hooks, Darnell Powell
RB - Jim Braxton, Jeff Kinney, Curtis Brown*
WR - John Holland, Emmett Edwards, Ron Holliday, John Kimbrough*
LT- Dave Foley, Ken Jones, Bill Dunstan
LG - Reggie McKenzie, Bill Adams
C - Mike Montler, Willie Parker, Bob Patton
RG - Joe DeLamielleure, Will Wilcox*
RT - Donnie Green, Joe Devlin
TE - Paul Seymour, Reuben Gant, Fred Coleman
WR - Bob Chandler, John Holland, Eddie Bell

LE - Ben Williams
LT - Mike Kadish, Jeff Lloyd, Phil Dokes*
RT - Marty Smith, Jeff Lloyd
RE - Sherman White
LLB - John Skorupan, Tom Ruud, Mark Johnson
MLB- Merv Krakau, Bob Nelson
RLB - Dan Jilek, Bo Cornell
LCB - Mario Clark, Keith Moody, Clifford Brooks
SS - Doug Jones, Van Green
FS - Tony Greene, Steve Freeman
RCB- Dwight Harrison, Keith Moody, Robert James

K- George Jakowenko
P- Marv Bateman

* rookie

-The Pocket Book of Pro Football 1977, published by Pocket Books, New York

Friday, February 24, 2017

1977 Buffalo Bills Radio Information

"For the sixth consecutive season, WKBW Radio (1520 kc) will be the flagship station for the Buffalo Bills football network. Al Meltzer will do the play-by-play with Ed Rutkowski and Rick Azar providing color and commentary."

-Buffalo Bills Press-Radio-TV Yearbook

Sunday, February 19, 2017

1977 Free Agent Profile: Wilbur Summers

Free Agent
"A 15th round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 1976, he did not appear in any regular season games.
Summers holds 14 kicking records at Louisville, including most field goals in a game (3, twice), longest field goal (52 yards), most field goals and PATs in a career, and highest punting average for a game, season and career.
He was a recreation major."

-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-Radio-TV Guide

Thursday, February 9, 2017

1977 Free Agent Profile: Willie Smith

Free Agent
Morris Brown
"Smith played two years in the World Football League at Birmingham, in 1974 and 1975. Last year he had a tryout with the Denver Broncos.
He was a defensive back and an outstanding kick returner at Morris Brown. He was a food production management major."

-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-Radio-TV Guide

Saturday, February 4, 2017

1977 Free Agent Profile: Ron Slovensky

Place Kicker
Free Agent
"Slovensky played with Birmingham of the World Football League in 1975 and last year had a tryout with the New Orleans Saints. He transferred to Livingston University from Jacksonville State."

-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-TV-Radio Guide

Sunday, January 22, 2017

1977 Rookie Profile: Charles Romes

12th Round
North Carolina Central
"Romes has just one year of college playing experience. He was a transfer from Lake City Junior College (Florida) where he was the national junior college champion in the 60 and 120 yard high hurdles. Drafted for his raw physical talent, Charles has run a 4.5 second 40-yard dash."

-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-Radio-TV Yearbook

Monday, January 16, 2017

1977 Rookie Profile: Ron Pruitt

Defensive Tackle
6th Round
"An honorable mention All-American selection of the Football News in 1976, Pruitt led Nebraska's defensive linemen with 74 tackles (33 unassisted). He was a second team All-Big Eight choice last year and also won Academic All-Big Eight honors.
Pruitt missed the entire 1975 season with a broken ankle. He was second team All-Big Eight in 1974 as a sophomore when he was involved in 79 tackles and recovered four fumbles.
His college major was criminal justice. He enjoys jazz and golf."

-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-Radio-TV Yearbook

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

1977 Free Agent Profile: Gary Paulson

Defensive End
Free Agent
Colorado State
"A 13th round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings last year, Paulson was a three-year letterman at Colorado State. A starter in 1973 and 1975, he was plagued by injuries in 1974.
Gary was a physical education and health major. He played on state championship teams in three sports in high school."

-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-Radio-TV Yearbook

Sunday, January 8, 2017

1977 Rookie Profile: Neil O'Donoghue

Place Kicker
5th Round
"O'Donoghue was a first-team All-American pick of Sports News in 1976 when he connected on 11 of 20 field goals for Auburn, including a 57-yarder. He hit 12 of 23 field goals in 1975 and has only played football for two years.
He was an All-American soccer player at St. Bernard College (Alabama) and a world class Gaelic football player before transferring to Auburn before the 1975 season. Neil played in the Blue-Grey and Senior Bowl Games.
Neil was a health, physical education and recreation major."

-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-Radio-TV Yearbook