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October 24, 2010 - 8:12 PM
What could easily have been a blowout ended up being a close game between the Bills and Ravens. The Ravens won it with a field goal in overtime, 37-34. Mark, Al and Sully report from Baltimore.
October 23, 2010 - 9:42 PM
A quick reminder that I'll be chatting live along with News senior sports columnist Jerry Sullivan from noon to at least 6 p.m. tomorrow during the Bills-Ravens game.
You can find the chat by visiting this link.
Thanks. Talk to you tomorrow.
October 23, 2010 - 12:27 AM
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata isn't the only Ravens player who Buffalo fans have lamented the Bills didn't take.
In the 2009 draft, the Bills passed over offensive tackle Michael Oher in favor of outside linebacker Aaron Maybin the 11th overall choice. Oher was taken by the Ravens 12 slots later.
The difference in the players' career path has been stark. Oher, whose life story was depicted in the movie "The Blind Side,'' has made 22 consecutive starts, including the last six at left tackle. Maybin, a Baltimore native, is looking like a bust. Has no sacks in 19 career games and rarely gets on the field.
Imagine how much better the Bills' offensive line situation would be had they taken Oher, who has the look of a future All-Pro.
Oher actually met with the Bills' front office executives and coaches prior to last year's draft, but apparently the team wasn't interested in his services.
"I heard about it," Oher said of Bills fans' disgust over the team taking Maybin instead of him. "But they picked who they wanted. They picked the best player for them. That was who they drafted."
Ngata also had a pre-draft visit with the Bills before the 2006 draft, but they choose safety Donte Whitner instead. Needless to say, Ngata isn't pouting over the Bills' decision.
"I thought I was going to get picked there,'' Ngata told Baltimore reporters, "but I'm happy now that I'm not."
October 23, 2010 - 12:11 AM
Ravens tight end Todd Heap is listed as questionable for Sunday's game, but he told reporters Friday that he plans to play against the Bills. Heap still has soreness in his neck and shoulder area from a helmet-to-helmet hit by New England safety Brandon Merriweather, but Heap said he can play through it.
The status of free safety Ed Reed is more uncertain. Although the perennial Pro Bowler practiced fully all week, he has not been removed from the physically unable to perform list. The Ravens are expected to make a move Saturday to clear a roster spot for him, but there is no guarantee he'll play on Sunday.
Reed has been sidelined for several months after having hip surgery. The Ravens have a bye after the game, so there is some consideration to give him another week of practice before exposing him to game action.
The Ravens could certainly use Reed on Sunday. Tom Zbikowski, the starter in the first six games, is out for Sunday with a bruised heel. His replacement if Reed isn't active will be either Haruki Nakamura or Ken Hamlin.
October 23, 2010 - 12:00 AM
Bills nose tackle Kyle Williams didn't practice again Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Baltimore. Williams suffered a bone bruise in his right ankle during Wednesday's practice.
It's likely Williams will be a game-time decision.
“I think the thing that [the Bills’ medical staff] said when I did it, when I had the bone bruise, it grabbed a ligament and the ligament was so inflamed and they pumped me full of anti-inflammatory [medication],’’ Williams said Friday after practice. “They said once the ligament stops getting inflamed I will get better a lot quicker, so it felt pretty good today. A little twinge in it, but I’ve got a lot of time. So, we’ll see how it goes.’’
Williams' potential absence would create a huge hole in an already porous run defense. He has a key role in the "heavy" four-man defensive line the Bills plan to use in an effort to improve against the run. If he's out, defensive end Spencer Johnson would likely start next to nose tackle Torell Troup.
October 22, 2010 - 11:55 PM
Bills safety Jon Corto was taken off the physically unable to perform list and added to the 53-man roster on Friday. Corto had been sidelined since injuring his wrist in the June minicamp. Subsequent surgery forced him to miss all of training camp, preseason and the first six weeks of the season.
Even though he wasn't playing, the Orchard Park native was a constant presence at the facility, diligently working out to maintain his conditioning. The hard work has paid off with a roster spot for the third straight season.
Corto is expected to play Sunday at Baltimore. A standout on special teams, he should provide a boast to the Bills' kickoff and punt coverage units, which are ranked in lower half of the NFL.
To make room on the roster for Corto, the Bills released free safety Cary Harris. A late-round draft pick in 2009, Harris moved from cornerback to safety late last season. WIth the Bills' depth at safety, Harris wasn't going to play on defense unless a serious injury occurred. Since Corto is much better on special teams, Harris was expendable.
October 21, 2010 - 11:16 PM
Bills fans can wonder what might have been when they watch Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata on Sunday.
Ngata expected the Bills to draft him in 2006. He would have filled a glaring need on the defensive line with the departures of Pat Williams and Sam Adams in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
But the Bills stunningly passed on Ngata in favor of strong safety Donte Whitner with the eighth overall pick because they felt Ngata wasn't a "chase player'' (a lineman who can pursue plays beyond the line of scrimmage) and thus was an bad fit for the 4-3 scheme being installed by then first-year head coach Dick Jauron.
We can all see the nonsense in that thinking now. Ngata has become arguably the most dominant run-stuffing interior defensive lineman in the NFL, while the Bills have fielded one of the league's worst run defenses for most of the last five years.
The 6-foot-4, 350-pound Ngata is a big man with jaw-dropping quickness and athletic ability. Not only does he stop the run, he has emerged as a disruptive pass rusher. He leads the Ravens with four sacks. He also can drop back in coverage and has three interceptions, returning one of them 60 yards for a touchdown (for the record, Whitner has four career INTs).
“When I was getting drafted people were saying there were a bunch of things wrong with me,’’ Ngata said this week during a conference call with the Buffalo media. “I don’t hustle to the ball. I’m not a pass rusher. I kind of wanted to prove those guys wrong. Ever since I’ve been in the league, I wanted to show that I can run to the ball, I can make plays. Every year I felt like I’ve been able to improve and I want to keep improving.’’
Whitner has been a solid player for the Bills. He just hasn't made enough difference-making plays once would expect from a top-10 draft pick.
Although Whitner might have been the safer pick at the time, the Bills' defense would have been better off if then-General Manager Marv Levy had drafted Ngata.
October 21, 2010 - 10:34 PM
Bills rookie Ed Wang is primarily an offensive tackle, but for the past month he has gotten snaps at guard. It's not a permanent move. In fact, he spent most of this week back at tackle. The Bills just want to see which position is best for the fifth-round draft pick.
Wang missed all of the preseason and has been inactive the first five games because of a thumb injury that required surgery early in training camp. The Bills dress seven offensive linemen for each game and they want their two backups to be able to play more than one position in case a starter gets injured.
So if Wang can adapt to playing guard while continuing his development at tackle, it will help his chances of getting into a game at some point this season.