Bills Hold On Against Ravens
The Bills were victorious in their first preseason game against Baltimore and like most opening exhibition efforts, there was good, bad, and ugly. We give you our take of all the news from the week:
The Bills pulled out the preseason affair against the Ravens 20-19. The win was possible thanks to three takeaways by the defense and a big play on special teams. Nate Clements wrestled a pass away from Marcus Robertson for an interception at the Ravens 14. That setup the Bills first touchdown of the summer. DaShon Polk had a pick also and Dominique Stevenson recovered a fumble. The biggest play of the game was turned in by former CFL WR Antonio Brown who may be moving up the depth chart after his 87 yard punt return for a touchdown gave the Bills the lead in the final minutes. He will still be behind Clarence Coleman who had a game high 89 yards receiving on five receptions including two long gainers on scoring drives. The reserves let the Ravens score in the final seconds but Scott Turner knocked away the two point conversion preserving the win. The starters played just over a quarter. Our Take: Brown and Coleman just made the battle for the final WR spot much more crowded. Stevenson also helped his cause. Alex Van Pelt may have secured the number two QB job with his short but successful stint. Travis Brown struggled mightily in his extensive action. The bottom line is the Bills used three takeaways and a big special teams play to pull out the win. When was the last time you heard that?
The other big news from the weekend was the meeting between Tom Donahoe and the agent for Willis McGahee. Drew Rosenhaus met with Donahoe and VP of business administration Jim Overdorf for almost two hours on Saturday afternoon. Both sides left the meeting upbeat saying that they have agreed to terms on the length of the deal, signing bonus, and incentives. They hope to wrap up the deal early this week. Our Take: The sooner he is in camp and being monitored face to face by team doctors the better.
In other contract news, soon to be free agent, Antoine Winfield has fired his agent and hired a new one as he hopes to get a deal done with the Bills before the season starts. Winfield's new agent is expected to meet with Donahoe this coming week. Winfield said he rather not test the free agent waters and wants to sign with the Bills now if they give him the money he wants. Our Take: The team has the cap space and Winfield's price will only go up if he has the type of year the team expects. Sign him now.
On the practice field this week the team suffered some minor injuries, mostly bumps and bruises and slight hamstring problems. Travis Henry, Lauvale Sape, Izell Reese and Dave Moore were held out of the scrimmage because of minor injuries. Mike Williams and Coy Wire returned to practice this week and played against Baltimore. None are considered serious and nobody suffered any serious injuries during the game. Our Take: The team should knock wood, that the only injuries are typical training camp ailments. They succeeded in the main goal of preseason games... they stayed healthy.
The defense continued to get the upper hand on the offense during most practices this week but the offense finally got the best of them on Wednesday. Drew Bledsoe was visibly upset with the offense's performance during the night practice on Monday. The team shuffled the depth chart based on how the workouts were going. Ryan Denney official moved to the starting left end spot over Marcus Jones who is struggling in returning from his knee surgery. Newly acquired Ainsley Battles has moved up to the second string spot at strong safety and Tony Driver dropped to third string free safety. Our Take: Denney looks like a starter right now as he is a new person in camp this year from the rookie he was last year. Jones may not make it back. Battles has made a great impression in a hurry. Is the defense that good or the offense not as good as they were? That's the question that needs to be answered from the defensive domination in camp.
The team decided to add another night practice because of the popularity of them. On Mon. Aug. 18th the team will move its practice to 6:30pm. Tickets are being distributed by Tops Friendly Markets once again. The team gets pumped up to practice in prime time and the evening hours make it cooler also. The Tuesday practice has now been moved to 2:45pm although there will be an open special teams practice in the morning from 9-10am. Our Take: The night practices are a huge hit with the fans, players, and coaches. Look for more of them next year.
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