Bills Set For Season To Begin
Five Added To Practice Squad: The Bills began filling out the eight man practice squad today by adding five players. Corey Mace, Felton Huggins, Marcus Buggs, Dustin Dickinson, and Bruce Hall were all with the team throughout training camp and were part of the final cutdown on Sunday. Huggins and Mace were on the practice squad last year.
Bills Back To Work: The 53 man roster is now set and those players get ready for the season opener starting this afternoon with a practice at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The team will workout on Monday as the regular season routine begins. They will have the usual Tuesday day off.
Practice Squad To Be Established: Each team gets to build their eight man practice squad beginning after noon today. A player is eligible for the squad if they have accrued less than a season of free agency credit. To be eligible you must have been active for less than nine games in your career. Players only have three years of practice squad eligibility. Recent cuts that may be added to the squad include 7th round pick Kennard Cox, LB Blake Costanzo, OL Nevin McCaskill, OL Robert Felton, and LB Marcus Buggs.
Saturday August 30, 2008
Bills Release 22: The Bills got their roster down to 53 men by releasing 22 players today. The players that are gone are TE Courtney Anderson, DB Will James, LB Donnie Spragan, LB Jon Banks, LB Marcus Buggs, LB Blake Costanzo, OL Dustin Dickinson, OT Patrick Estes, FB Jonathan Evans, OL Robert Felton, DB Dustin Fox, OL Christian Gaddis, RB Bruce Hall, WR Felton Huggins, DT Jason Jefferson, DE Derrick Jones, DT Corey Mace, TE Tim Massaquoi, WR Scott Mayle, OL Nevin McCaskill, DT Teraz McCray and RB Dwayne Wright. The surprises include the team keeping only six linebackers including Orchard Park native Jon Corto. They also are keeping only three tight ends with two of them starting the season injured. They only released one draft pick and that was in the first round of cuts earlier in the week when Kennard Cox was let go. All of the other draft picks made the final cut with the exception of Alvin Bowen who is on IR. The play of 7th round pick Steve Johnson forced the team to keep six wide receivers. The play of Ashton Youboty made him survive over the veteran James. It is unclear who will be the nickel back on opening day but it may be Youboty. One other surprise was the decision to keep five defensive ends as Copeland Bryan made the team with a solid camp. Depth Chart.
Cutdown Day Is Here: Today is the big day as the Bills will have to release 22 players to get to the 53 man roster limit by 6pm. It won't be done then as they will be able to add eight players to the practice squad tomorrow. They will also look to see what players are cut from other teams. It's not unheard of for the coaches to bring in someone new although it is probably more unlikely this year unless it's an offensive tackle.
Friday August 29, 2008
Season Ticket Sales: The Bills wrapped up season ticket sales with a total of 56,011. This is the second highest amount in team history just a 1,000 short of the most in 1992. Verizon Wireless bought a block of season tickets to distribute to Boys and Girls Clubs. Individual tickets sales are still available for two games, the San Francisco game on November 30th and the finale against New England.
Who Helped Themselves: Some have been saying the Bills may just carry two quarterbacks but Gibran Hamdan made that call tough with his solid play against the Lions as he played all but the final series when he was banged up on a sack. Hamdan finished 18 of 26 for 158 yards. J.P. Losman mopped up playing the final series but not throwing a pass. Ashton Youboty wrapped up a very impressive preseason with another solid performance and probably has made the team. He had five tackles, a sack, two passes defensed, and a forced fumble. Steve Johnson led the way at wide receiver with eight catches for 74 yards and Felton Huggins had five catches for 56 yards. Blake Costanzo led the way with seven tackles and Copeland Bryan was impressive with five tackles, a sack, and a pressure.
Who Hurt Themselves: Dwayne Wright fumbled the ball for the third time in four preseason games. He also was called for offsides on special teams. Leodis McKelvin fielded two punts inside the 10 and both series ended in a safety. He has to have better field awareness. Special teams struggled as a unit. They gave up a few decent returns and committed penalties. Xavier Omon averaged only 2.7 yards a carry. The offensive line struggled as they allowed four sacks.
Thursday August 28, 2008
Lions Beat Bills 14-3: In a battle of backups the Bills got a good look at some bubble players with 22 cuts looming. Gibran Hamdan got the start at quarterback and drove the team 66 yards in 11 plays on the opening possession for a field goal. The backups on the offensive line struggled as they were the victim of two first half safeties enroute to a 14-3 loss. Dwayne Wright was stuffed in the end zone for one and Hamdan was sacked for the other. Scott Mayle setup the Bills lone score of the second half with a long punt return.
Hamdan To Start: In a surprise move Gibran Hamdan will get the start at QB tonight. Trent Edwards will not play as expected but it appears neither will J.P. Losman. With Langston Walker out the Bills seem to not want to risk either of their top two quarterbacks to injury. James Hardy will play after missing two games with a hamstring injury. The only starter actually starting tonight is expected to be Ko Simpson.
Wednesday August 27, 2008
Edwards Limited: Trent Edwards was limited in practice today taking part in individual drills only. He is ok and made it through yesterday's practice fine they are just brining him along cautiously since he still is sore. Dick Jauron has not ruled him out of tomorrow's preseason finale but it appears unlikely he will play. Edwards said he's focused on being ready for the opener but will play tomorrow if the coaches want him too. Jauron said all playing decisions will be made right up until gametime tomorrow.
Fine Has Surgery: We knew the thumb injury suffered Sunday night by Derek Fine was serious but didn't know how serious. He underwent surgery today to repair the damaged thumb. The injury happened late in the game against the Colts when he landed on it while playing on the kick coverage unit. Dick Jauron said they are very optimistic for a full recovery but it will be a while before he's back on the field but it doesn't appear to be season ending. The tight end spot is hurting with Fine and Derek Schouman out. Schouman is still around three weeks away from playing according to Jauron. That means the Bills will have to carry extra tight ends unless they want to put someone on season ending injured reserve.
Tuesday August 26, 2008
Fine Out: The injury bug continues to hit the tight end position. Derek Fine hurt his thumb during the game on Sunday night and will be out for a while as Dick Jauron called it "a fairly serious thumb injury." The team still is without Derek Schouman who's expected to miss another week or so with his sprained knee. Duke Preston and Jason Whittle joined the list of players on the sidelines, they are both considered day to day. James Hardy did return to practice but on a limited basis. Injury Page.
Edwards Returns: Trent Edwards returned to practice today and he says he's nearing 100%. It's undetermined at this point if he will get some playing time on Thursday. Langston Walker did not practice and 7th round pick Demetrius Bell took his first team reps at left tackle. Walker had more mobility in his arm at practice today and it seems much improved. He said he's fine and could have returned to the game on Sunday if he had to. He doesn't know if he'll play on Thursday or not. Injury Page.
Bills Release Four: The Bills got down to the 75 man roster limit by releasing four players today and placing QB Matt Baker on the waived/injured list. Released were DB Kennard Cox, P DJ Fitzpatrick, WR CJ Hawthorne, and DE Shaun Nua. Cox was the only slight surprise since he was a draft pick. Baker was placed on the waived/injured list. He broke a rib in the win over the Colts on Sunday. Nua was on the practice squad last season. Depth Chart.
Cutdown Day: Today is the first of two cutdown days. This is the small one as teams need to be down to 75 players by 4pm today. That means five players will be seeing the turk today at One Bills Drive. The next cutdown will be to the 53 man roster and comes on Saturday. The team will then be able to establish the eight man practice squad on Sunday.
Monday August 25, 2008
Thursday's Game Soldout: For the fifth straight year the annual Kids Day game at Ralph Wilson Stadium is a sellout. The Bills announced today that Thursday's game against the Lions, the only preseason game in Orchard Park this year, is soldout. The game will be broadcasted locally as the blackout is lifted. Kids Day activities start at 4:00pm and go until 6:30pm.
Players Who Helped Themselves: This list starts with J.P. Losman he had a solid game for the 2nd time this preseason and showed he's ready to play if Trent Edwards gets banged up again this season. He led two long scoring drives and went through is progressions well. Justin Jenkins had lots of playing time and made a few big catches and he looks like he has shored up a roster spot. Reggie Corner continues to outplay his higher draft pick counterpart as he had an interception. Xavier Omon helped himself with a nice eight yard run followed by a touchdown plunge. Terrence McGee showed off his big play ability with a fumble recovery for a score.
Who Hurt Themselves: Leodis McKelvin got beat for a 94 yard touchdown pass and had one kickoff return for only 16 yards. Dwayne Wright didn't fumble but only averaged 1.4 yards on 13 carries. Gibran Hamdan had a fumble and didn't do much to lock up the third quarterback spot.
Peters To Stay Out? Adam Schefter reported during last night's NFL Network telecast that Jason Peters is not planning on reporting in time for the opener against Seattle. The Bills maintain they will not negotiate a new deal until he shows up and now have decided not to give him a new deal this year. There still isn't any talks among the two sides.
Losman Shines In Win: J.P. Losman may have been auditioning for a new team in 2009 but what he did on the field yesterday gave the team optimism that they have some solid depth at quarterback. Losman engineered first half scoring drives of 13 and 18 plays that gave the Bills a 10-0 lead in the 2nd quarter enroute to a 20-7 win over the Colts. The touchdown drive was the longer of the two and went 93 yards with four third down conversions that ended with a one yard plunge by Xavier Omon. Terrence McGee added a defensive score when a fortunate bounce of a Joseph Addai fumble gave him clear sailing on a 68 yard score to give the Bills a 17-0 halftime lead. The Bills backups held on as the Colts couldn't do much offensively with their top two quarterbacks sidelined as they turned the ball over five times including four second half interceptions by Ashton Youboty, Keith Ellison, John Wendling, and Reggie Corner.
X-Rays Negative: The Bills may have dodged a bullet as x-rays on the injured left forearm of Langston Walker were negative. The team is calling it officially a bruise. That is good news as the injury appeared much worse when he walked off the field. Other than Walker the team seemed to come out of the game ok. J.P. Losman seemed to aggravate his thumb injury during a handoff exchange in the 2nd quarter. He had it wrapped but it isn't considered serious. Duke Preston did go to the locker room shortly before the game ended. No word on if that was injury related or not. Injury Page.
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