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Bills Get Victory In Preseason Opener

AP Photo - Drew Bledsoe Four Miss Win: Three players were sidelined for the victory against the Broncos. As expected, Mike Williams missed the game with his sprained arch. He was joined on the sidelines by Richard Seals who's recovering from a blow to the side last week. Sam Aiken was also out with an undisclosed victory as was Joe Burns who is sidelined indefinitely. The rest of the walking wounded did play. The good news is that nobody appeared to get injured in the game on either team. Injury Page.

Losman, McGahee Shine: The Bills were very impressive in their first preseason game defeating the Broncos 16-6. As we reported in our halftime report, Willis McGahee stole the show with his first NFL touchdown. He continued in the second half with some hard, inside runs as he was the game's leading rusher with 58 yards on 13 carries and a nine yard reception. J.P. Losman also shined in the win, albeit against the third string defense of the Browns. He was on the field for two series, and had two long field goal drives. His first drive in the NFL went for 16 plays and 82 yards. His second ran the clock down late in the game and went for 43 yards on 7 carries. He got most of those yards himself with a nice 26 yard bootleg. His first play in fact was a run as he was the team's second leading rusher with 37 yards on 3 carries. He was also perfect in the air as he completed all five of his passes for 55 yards. The offense stood to the motto of run, run, run, as they ran the ball 38 times in 63 plays. The backup defenders shut the Broncos out in the second half and kept them out of the end zone all day. Tomorrow, we will have much more on the win, with a look at who helped themselves and who hurt themselves in the win.

Brown Looks Good: Travis Brown has had a good training camp so far, and it showed on the field during the 2nd quarter of tonight's preseason game against Denver. Following a good kickoff return by Josh Reed, Brown drove the Bills down the field mixing in some hard running yards by Willis McGahee including his one yard touchdown run behind starting left guard Mike Pucillo. As a whole, the 2nd unit offense looked better than the first unit tonight.

First Teams Play To Draw: Both sides played their starters for roughly a quarter and they left the field with a 3-3 tie. The Bills first defense looked as solid as they did last year but added a new element, the turnover. They forced two interceptions, one by Terrence McGee and one by Ryan Denney who was 15 yards downfield on a zone blitz. The Bills blitzed a lot and they had sacks in the first half by Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay.

1st Offense Same Old Tricks On offense, the first unit sputtered after the first series interception. They had a penalty that forced them into third and long and then Drew Bledsoe threw one up for grabs to Eric Moulds that was picked off. He did lead them to a field goal drive on his last series following another Broncos turnover. Bledsoe was 4 for 6 for 27 yards and the pick. Josh Reed caught a nice 15 yard pass on the drive to setup the 31 yard field goal by Rian Lindell that hugged the right upright.

Bills Release Gibson: Hours before the opening preseason game the Bills made a roster move to trim the roster down to 84 players. Oliver Gibson was released by the team. He came over as an unrestricted free agent who played for the Bengals and Steelers in his long career.

Starters To See Limited Action: The fans, media, coaches, and players have anxiously been waiting for this day. The Bills will suit it up for their first preseason game tonight at 7pm on the NFL Network. Coach Mularkey plans on talking to Bronocs coach Mike Shanahan about matchups so that nobody will be outmatched and starters will play against starters. Mularkey expects the first unit offense to be on the field roughly 12 plays. It will be the first real action for the rookies and for Willis McGahee. J.P. Losman will be the third quarterback off the bench and will likely play most of the second half against the Broncos backup players.

Saturday August 14, 2004

Thomas Has Broken Hand: As we reported yesterday, Kevin Thomas was held out of practice on Friday. He broke a bone in his left hand on Thursday and will not play against the Broncos on Sunday. Coach Mularkey does not expect him to be out for an extended period of time.

Williams Likely Out: Mike Williams is unlikely to play Sunday according to Coach Mularkey. The coach expects him back soon. He was working on a stationary bike yesterday. Injury Page.

Friday August 13, 2004

Practice Moved: The Bills moved today's lone practice session to East Rochester High School because of bad weather. They also cut it an hour short as they will not workout again until Sunday night's matchup with Denver.

Williams Remains Out: Mike Williams remains sidelined with his arch strain. He did not practice again today. That dimishes his chances of playing Sunday. Mike Mularkey said yesterday that he was not ruling Williams out of Sunday's game at this time. Mark Graham, Kevin Thomas and Richard Seals also missed today's workout. Terrence McGee, Keith McKenzie and Kevin Beard were back on the practice field today after nursing nagging injuries. This is the last workout before Sunday's game. The team has tomorrow off. Injury Page.

OL Juggles: Thanks in part to injury, and thanks in part to one player stepping up, the offensive line depth chart has been juggled a bit. Chris Villarial returned to practice yesterday, but when he was out Lawrence Smith was taking some first team snaps at right guard. His emergence has allowed the Bills to let Marques Sullivan fully concentrate on playing tackle. He took some first team snaps at right tackle thanks to the injuries to Mike Williams and Marcus Price. Smith comes to the Bills after spending last season on the Ravens practice squad. He was signed in January. Depth Chart.

Thursday Practice Notes: The team was on the field once yesterday and will be on once this afternoon before leaving for Buffalo for the opening preseason game against Denver on Sunday. It was alumni day at training camp yesterday with many former players being an attendance including Jim Kelly and Kent Hull. Chris Villarial was back on the practice field but Mike Williams remained out along with the other walking wounded which now included Keith McKenzie, Jerel Myers, and Richard Seals. Nate Clements continued his ball hawking ways in camp as he picked off another pass. Coach Mularkey had them work on conditioning by making them run back to the huddle after plays. Injury Page.

Thursday August 12, 2004

Night Practice Productive: The Bills were much more productive during their night practice than they were during the morning session. Drew Bledsoe was back at the controls after taking the morning off and everything seemed crisper. Mike Williams dressed for the night session but did not participate.

Wednesday August 11, 2004

Contract Talks: While this season approaches, the Bills are still looking ahead to next season. They have three big name free agents and talks were supposedly dead on new contracts but the agent for Jonas Jennings was in camp today. Both sides remain far apart and it appears Jennings will become a free agent after this year. Empire is reporting that the agents for the other big potential free agents, Aaron Schobel and Pat Williams, have sent the Bills counter proposals. Tom Donahoe has said that he can only afford to sign one of the three potential free agents at this time and fit the new deal under the salary cap. It will be real hard to keep all three next offseason.

Rough Practice: The Simoncast is reporting that the team had a very rough practice this morning and heard the wrath of Coach Mike Mularkey. The offense struggled mightily as Travis Brown was at the controls of the first team. Oliver Gibson got into a tussle with Ryan Tucker. It got real heated to the point that Tucker was ejected from the practice session. Mularkey chewed out the team after the listless workout. Earlier in the week, Mularkey noted this is the toughest time in camp when players are tired of hitting the same people over and over again and it showed this morning.

Price; Villarial Hurting: Along with Mike Williams, Chris Villarial remained sidelined and Marcus Price didn't appear to finish today's workout as the offensive line continues to be decimated with minor bumps and bruises. Villarial is still bothered by his hyperextended knee and a groin strain while Price is slowed by a sore knee. Injury Page.

Williams Still Out: WGR is reporting that Mike Williams is once again not practicing this morning. He is making progress however, as he did not have the walking boot on that he was wearing yesterday. No word yet on if he will practice tonight. Injury Page.

OL Cohesion Missing: With the off the field problems Mike Williams has had along with his latest injury setback there has been problems getting any cohesion on the offensive line. Compacting that problem, is the elbow injury to Chris Villarial that made him miss practice yesterday. It is still very early in camp, but the setbacks have caused the offensive line to not have the cohesion they were looking for already. Coach Mularkey is calling it disappointing that there has been another setback although he doesn't expect either player to miss too much time. He won't hit the panic button yet since it is still early and there still is all four preseason games to play.

Tuesday August 10, 2004

Williams Has Sprained Arch: The injury to Mike Williams is a sprained arch in his right foot. He injured it working out in the weight room earlier in the today. As we reported earlier, he did not practice and was wearing a protective boot on his right foot. Coach Mularkey said after practice that it didn't appear to be a serious injury.

Offense Rules The Day: Empire is reporting that the offense had a good day during the single workout session this afternoon. The quarterbacks, in particular, were having an easy time throwing the football in 11 on 11 drills and especially in 9 on 7 drills. Antonio Brown, Clarence Coleman, and Josh Reed each caught long touchdown passes.

Williams Injured: The rough training camp continues for Mike Williams. He is sitting out this afternoon's workout. Empire is reporting that he is on the sidelines with a walking boot on his right ankle. No official word on when he suffered the injury or how serious it is, but it appears to be a similar injury to Joe Burns. Along with Williams and Burns, Mark Graham remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Chris Villarial is out also, resting his hyperextended elbow. Injury Page.

Stevenson Out: LB Dominique Stevenson missed yesterday's workouts with a sore leg. As we reported yesterday Sam Adams saw his first action of camp after being slowed by a hamstring injury. He said it was great to be back on the field. Also returning to action after a short layoff was Justin Bannan. He is trying to find the right cast to wear on his broken bone in his hand. He broke it on Friday and missed the scrimmage but was out on the field yesterday. Injury Page.

Monday August 9, 2004

Williams Gets More Reps: Mike Williams took more reps with the first team in practice this morning as he inches closer to getting his starting job back. Meanwhile, Dwight Stevenson was added to the list of walking wounded as he missed today's workouts. Troy Vincent was given the day off. Coach Mularkey said he will limit the reps of some of the veterans this week as they gear up for the first preseason game on Sunday.

Adams Returns: Sam Adams hit the practice field for the first time in training camp during the morning workout. He has been slowed by a hamstring injury. Three players missed practice with injuries, Joe Burns, Justin Bannan and Mark Graham are all on the sidelines. Injury Page.

Injury Update: The Bills are back on the practice field for two sessions today after going through the films of Saturday's scrimmage last night. The team has made it through the first week of camp in fairly good shape with only one fairly serious injury. Three players were banged up enough to miss the scrimmage. Joe Burns has the most serious injury, a high ankle sprain that may cost him to miss several weeks. The other two players that are hurt are Sam Adams and Justin Bannan, neither of their injuries are considered serious. Injury Page.

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