Mularkey On OL: Coach Mike Mularkey said after practice today that he wants to try another combination before it gets too late.Lawrence Smith has played well and they wanted to give him an opportunity to compete for the spot while there is ample time to get a fair evaluation of him. They feel Smith has pass blocked well one on one and graded out a winning grade against Denver. The offensive line shuffle included giving Ross Tucker a closer look at center. Mularkey also said that Mike Williams is working real hard to get back to where he needs to be. Depth Chart.
Gibson Cut To Find Work: Coach Mularkey knew that Oliver Gibson did not fit into the Bills plans so he decided to cut him before the first preseason game to give him a chance to latch on with another team.
Price To Miss Game: Coach Mularkey said that Marcus Price will be out for at least this week and Saturday's second preseason game. He did injure a toe in the Denver game. Injury Page.
OL Change? Jeff Morrison is reporting for Empire on the Simoncast that Lawrence Smith is practicing with the starters today at left guard in place of Mike Pucillo. No word yet on why the change was made, and if the change is permanent. Pucillo and the rest of the offensive line struggled against Denver so a change isn't that surprising. What is shocking is that Ross Tucker isn't next in line for a shot at the left guard spot. We'll have more later on this move after the media speaks with Coach Mularkey following today's practice.
Williams Back: Mike Williams is back practicing and in his familiar spot as starter at left tackle. No word yet on if this is permanent or just a result of the injury to Marcus Price. He was the lone Bill hurt on Sunday when he injured his toe. He is wearing a walking boot at practice today and not participating in drills. Injury Page.
Time Change: The Bills announced that the start time for the final preseason game has been changed. They will play at Detroit on Thursday Sept. 2nd at 7pm. It was originally an 8pm start.
Monday August 16, 2004
Price Hurts Toe: As if a sore knee wasn't enough to worry about for Marcus Price he now has a toe to worry about. He was the only injury from the Broncos game as he had to leave early with a toe injury. No word on the seriousness of it. He was replaced by Marques Sullivan. Injury Page.
Special Teams Superb: One unit that really stood out last night was the special teams. Bobby April's crew really did a good job in the returns game. Josh Reed was given the first shot at kick returns and had returns of 33 and 24 yards. The difference was that he was running behind many starters. London Fletcher had an explosive block to setup one return. Antonio Brown got his chance in the second half and exploded to a 49 yard return but the blockers were called for two holding penalties negating the return. Nate Clements had nowhere to run on his one punt return. It will be interesting to see if the Bills follow through and use starters when the season starts. Another special teamer who excelled after a weak camp so far was kicker Rian Lindell. He hit three field goals including a clutch 42 yarder to clinch the game with 1:49 remaining.
Players Who Hurt Themselves: In a game that was played very well, nobody really hurt themselves too much. Players that were quiet included Jason Gildon. If they can't find a way to fit him in the scheme he may not make the squad. One negative on Coach Mularkey was that there were 8 penalties, this is not unusual for a first preseason game, but it is something to work on. Antonio Brown may not have helped his cause since he was not returning kicks or punts until the second half. He did have a nice return that was called back by a penalty.
Players Who Helped Themselves: Besides the obvious players that helped themselves that we reported earlier, others stepped up and played well. Rashad Baker continued his strong campaign to make the team carry five safeties. He was a man among boys with the third string unit, as he was all over the place making plays. Ken Simonton played extensively in the second half and got the hard yards inside. He has the inside track on the third RB job. Both defensive ends, Ryan Denney and Chris Kelsay made plays as Denney had a pick and Kelsay had a sack. This race for the starting job is too close to call.
McGahee Helps Cause: Let the running back controversy begin! Willis McGahee had a stellar performance against the 2nd string defense of the Broncos while Travis Henry struggled against the top unit. Don't read too much into the media hype though. Henry is the number one guy. While McGahee did look good and he took a huge step towards his total recovery from his devastating knee injury, he did it against backups. He did show that he is ready to be that change of pace back this season. Josh Reed also helped his cause of holding on to a starting job as Lee Evans dropped the only pass that headed his way. J.P. Losman also shined against players that will not be in the league opening day but Travis Brown showed enough command of the offense to hold off the rookie.
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