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Henry Hurt In Preseason Loss

AP Photo - Travis Henry Moorman Injury Hurt: With Brian Moorman hurt, his understudy Mike Shafer took over the his duties. It wasn't the punting duties that cost the Bills, even though his punting was subpar, it was missing him on his holding responsiblities that cost the Bills. Travis Brown took over those duties and bobbled a snap on an extra point. That botched play was the difference in the game.

McGahee Downplays Story: Willis McGahee downplayed the story that broke yesterday saying he wanted to be traded if he didn't start. He said after the game today that he never asked the Bills to trade him but smiled when asked if his agent said it. He said his reaction to the Travis Henry injury was one of concern for his teammate. He also was non chalant when he filled in for Henry saying it was nothing major but added he is up for the challenge.

Henry Hurt In Loss: There was a scary moment in last night's loss to Tennessee. Travis Henry was carted off the field after injuring his side. After X-Rays were negative it was determined he had bruised ribs. He did not return but the injury does not appear to be too serious. Henry says he may not practice when the team returns to St. John Fisher on Monday but he doesn't expect to be out too long. He likened the injury to the torn rib cartilage he suffered last year but said it isn't nearly as serious. He missed one game last year with that injury. Injury Page.

Saturday August 21, 2004

Bills Lose In Last Second: Joe Nedney hit a 22 yard field goal as time expired to lift the Titans to a 16-15 victory over the Bills. Drew Bledsoe had a good game completing 7 of 10 passes for 67 yards including 35 yard bomb to Eric Moulds. Willis McGahee scored from three yards out after a 85 yard kickoff return by Willis McGahee as the return team continues to shine in camp. For the second straight preseason game Rian Lindell hit three field goals including a 49 yarder that gave the Bills the lead temporarily in the fourth quarter. Travis Henry had a nice 22 yard run in the game but did little else. McGahee also struggled besides an 11 yard run and his score, averaging only 2.5 yards a carry.

Moorman Misses Game: As expected, punter Brian Moorman was held out of tonight's preseason game with his strained hamstring. Mike Shafer handled the punting duties and struggled some. Moorman said earlier in the week he would try to go but there is no reason to risk further injury.

Starters To Play More: The starters should play a little more in tonight's second preseason game than they did last week. Look for them to play late into the second quarter with the possible exception of Drew Bledsoe. Coach Mularkey has indicated that he may want to get Travis Brown some work with the first team this week. The amount of playing time the starters get on offense also depends on how effective they are.

Friday August 20, 2004

McGahee Wants Trade? An AP story quotes NFL sources in saying that Willis McGahee wants to be traded if he isn't the starting running back on opening day. The Bills say they talked to McGahee and he says there is no truth to the report. Two weeks ago, Travis Henry said he wanted to be traded if he was splitting time with McGahee. He back tracked from those comments. McGahee has said all the right things since he's been here, I find it stunning if he demanded a trade and don't believe it to be the case. Both backs will be here this season. Some people think this story came out of South Florida where Miami desperately needs a running back. Stories circulated from there earlier in the summer that the Dolphins contacted the Bills about the availability of Henry. That story was also false.

Turkey Hill Giveaway: Turkey Hill purchased the remaining tickets to tomorrow night's preseason game and they are now giving them away. They will give out 2,000 tickets at five Buffalo area Tops Friendly Markets today to fans wearing Bills stuff. They will give away 2,000 more tomorrow morning at 10am at the Bills store outside the field house at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Injury Update: The Bills have today off as they travel back to Buffalo for Saturday's preseason game. It's a good thing too, as it allows various bumps and bruises to heal. Brian Moorman is officially listed as day to day with his strained hamstring. He said he will do whatever he can to be ready to go on Saturday but there is a good chance the Bills will hold him out anyway. Mike Shafer will handle the punting duties if he can't go. Dylan McFarland was held out of practice with a sore knee but should play on Saturday. As we reported yesterday, Lawrence Smith missed practice with cramps and dehydration. He also should be ready to go tomorrow night. Injury Page.

Thursday August 19, 2004

Smith Misses Practice: It never stops when it comes to the offensive line carousel. Today's single practice session was moved to East Rochester High School because of heavy rains in Pittsford. Lawrence Smith was not practicing because he was suffering from dehydration and cramps. He was at practice getting mental reps but did not take the field. Ross Tucker took the first team snaps in his place. Chris Villarial was back on the field today after missing yesterday's two workouts for personal reasons.

Moorman Has Hamstring Injury: The injury to Brian Moorman doesn't appear to be too serious. He is suffering from a strained hamstring in his left leg and will probably be held out for a few days. No word yet on if he will play Saturday night or not. Injury Page.

Game Soldout: Saturday Night's preseason game against Tennessee is official the first sellout of a preseason game since the opening of the stadium in 1973. It is kids day and children get in for a reduced price. Turkey Hill Dairy bought the remaining tickets to lift the blackout. Turkey Hill is also producing an official Buffalo Bills ice cream product. The tickets bought will be donated to children's charity groups.

Moorman Injured: The Bills may have suffered their first major injury of camp. Brian Moorman was hurt in yesterday's second practice session after he hurt his left leg running with the ball during a botched field goal snap. He apparently tripped and limped off. He was escorted to the locker room. Coach Mularkey will update the media today on Moorman's condition. Dylan McFarland also left the afternoon practice with an undisclosed injury. Injury Page.

Villarial Out Again: Chris Villarial did miss the afternoon session as well as the morning workout. As we reported yesterday, Villarial was excused from practice because of personal family reasons. Ross Tucker took the first team snaps at right guard in his absence. Lawrence Smith had taken first team snaps at right guard when Villarial was injured two weeks ago. Smith is now taking his first team snaps at left guard as the revolving door continues on the offensive line.

Game Near Sold Out? In a shocking development, Saturday's preseason game against Tennessee is close to a sellout. It is so close that the NFL has given the club an extra day to sell it out to lift the blackout. If the game sells out by 7pm tonight, there will be no local blackout. It would be the first soldout preseason game since the first game ever at the stadium in 1973.

Wednesday August 18, 2004

Villarial Out: The offensive line carousel continues as once again the Bills were without all starting lineup this morning. Chris Villarial was excused from the morning workout because of personal family reasons. It was not known immediately if he would return for the afternoon session. Mike Williams remained with the starters at right tackle and Lawrence Smith remained starting at left guard.

Tuesday August 17, 2004

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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