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Bills-Jags set for kickoff

As preseason games go, the Bills' matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars tonight should be the telling, if not entertaining, contest before they head into the regular season. They're playing in their annual Kids Day game in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Is it me or there almost no energy around town concerning the Bills? The parking lot was quiet in the hours leading into the game, and there seemed to be little life inside the stadium less than 30 minutes into the game. The small crowd brought back memories of 2-14 seasons. It's odd because tickets were cheap for Kids Day.

A few things to watch tonight:

* Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills' offense are expected to get more action tonight they in any other preseason game. The offense has shown few signs it will be better than it was last season and, in fact, could be worse.

* Hey, Fitz shaved his beard! Does that mean several bugs are officially homeless?

* We'll see how the playing time for Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller will be distributed. Jackson spoke out last week about his role and not knowing where he stood.

* The left side of the offensive line has some question marks. Andy Levitre is expected to start at left guard with Demetrius Bell at left tackle. Levitre was being rotated into the left-tackle spot with Chad Rinehard getting time at left guard.

* Alex Carrington is getting the start at linebacker for Chris Kelsay at strong-side linebacker. Kelsay is coming off a minor procedure and was held out of practice last week. Shawne Merriman will miss the game with a groin injury.

* First-round pick Marcell Dareus is expected to start tonight. He missed practice last week with a sore ankle.

The Bills need to trim their roster to 75 players Tuesday, so several jobs could be decided on how well certain players perform tonight.

--- Bucky Gleason

Williams agrees to new deal

---The Bills announced defensive tackle Kyle Williams has agreed to a new a deal that is reportedly six-years and worth $39 million with $17 million guaranteed.

Williams agent, Albert Elias, said Thursday that he was waiting to hear back from the Bills after exchanging proposals during negotiations that intensified this week.

Williams had two years left on the contract he signed in July, 2008, worth an average of $3.6 million a year. He’s coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he recorded 77 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

The 6-foot-1, 303-pound LSU product was drafted by the Bills in the fifth-round in 2006. In his five-year career, Williams has totaled 291 tackles - 193 solos - and 13.5 sacks in 78 games with 73 starts. His 291 tackles since entering the NFL in 2006 are fourth-most among defensive linemen.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Stanley or Vince?

Here's the ultimate litmus test for determining whether Buffalo is a hockey town or a football town.

 

Torbor placed on IR, Cook reaches injury settlement

---The Bills have placed linebacker Reggie Torbor (shoulder) on IR, ending the season for the eight-year veteran, and reached an injury settlement with cornerback Domonic Cook, the St. Joe's and UB product.

Torbor appeared in 10 games last season with seven starts and finished with 41 tackles. An undrafted free agent, Cook suffered a knee injury during the second week of training camp and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He was a candidate to make the team's practice squad.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

 

Jaguars-Bills blacked out

---The Bills announced that Saturday’s Kids Day preseason game against Jacksonville has not sold out and will be blacked out locally. The game will be shown locally on tape delay at 8 p.m. Sunday on Ch. 7.

Approximately 10,000 tickets remain.

 

Dareus not at practice, Merriman returns

---Marcell Dareus was not at practice today but linebacker Shawne Merriman returned and participated in warm up drills.

Dareus, the Bills top draft pick, said he was kicked in his left calf during practice on Wednesday and was later seen walking on crutches in the locker room. He told KISS 98.5 FM today that he hopes to play in the Bills’ third preseason game against Jacksonville. Merriman returned after missing the Bills game last week at Denver with leg soreness.

Tackle Ed Wang did not participate in practice today joining a list that includes Kellen Heard, Donald Jones, Chris Kelsay, Arthur Moats, Shawn Nelson, Roscoe Parrish, Naaman Roosevelt, Reggie Torbor and Johnny White.

Also, linebacker Kirk Morrison, who agreed to terms with the Bills on Wednesday, has yet to arrive. The Bills have not formally announced a deal with Morrison.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Williams agent 'optimistic' about a new contract

Wiliiams ---The agent for Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams said Thursday he’s optimistic that a new contract will get completed but nothing has been finalized. Williams agent Albert Elias said he’s waiting to hear back from the Bills after exchanging proposals during negotiations that intensified this week.

“They’re a first class organization but we’re not done yet,’’ Elias said. “He’s excited that they’re coming to him two years early and he wants to remain a Bill for the rest of his career and that’s what he’s kind of got me trying to get done.’’

Williams has a year remaining on the contract he signed in July 2008, which pays him an average of $3.6 million per year. He’s coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he recorded 77 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Dareus kicked in calf, hopes to play vs. Jaguars

---Rookie defensive end Marcell Dareus told KISS 95.5 FM this morning that he was kicked in the calf during practice on Wednesday but doesn’t know if he’s going to be available for Saturday’s third preseason game against Jacksonville.

Dareus was seen on crutches following Wednesday’s practice with what was first believed to be an ankle injury.

“I got kicked in my calf and I bruised a muscle and they didn’t want to take a risk or anything like that, so they sent me out of practice and I got some treatment,” Dareus told KISS. “That’s pretty much all it is. We’re stretching it out, getting treatment but they didn’t want to take any risks because they didn’t know what was going on.’’

On the possibility of playing against Jacksonville, Dareus said: “I want to play. I think I am going to play, but I don’t know just yet.”

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Bills sign Morrison to a 1-year deal

---The Bills added another linebacker on Wednesday with the signing of Kirk Morrison, a former third-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2005.

Morrison played for the Raiders until 2009 and played for Jacksonville last season. The signing of Morrison is also an indication that Reggie Torbor might be out of the lineup for a while. Torbor hasn't practiced the last two days and the Bills might be bringing in Morrison as insurance.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Dareus injures ankle

---Defensive end Marcell Dareus injured his left ankle during practice on Wednesday, according to a source.

The Bills’ first-round pick was seen in the locker room after practice walking on crutches with his left ankle heavily wrapped. It is unclear how the injury occurred or whether Dareus will be available for the team’s third preseason game Saturday against Jacksonville.

Wednesday was the first day since the start of training camp that practice was closed to the media.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

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