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Bills Replay live video chat with Skurski, Northrop

News Sports Reporters Jay Skurski and Milt Northrop answered your questions about the Bills and NFL directly into the camera.

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Monday Morning QB chat with Rodney McKissic

Bills-Redskins inactives

Several lineup updates for the Bills today. Here they are: Inactives include WR Donald Jones, CB Aaron Williams, CB Terrence Wheatley, LB Antonio Coleman, OT Chris Hairston, OT Demetrius Bell, NT Kyle Williams.

Of perhaps great interest is the move of No. 3 overall draft pick Marcell Dareus inside to nose tackle. Alex Carrington starts at Dareus' spot at defensive end as the Bills adjust to try and replace Williams.

Other new starters include Spencer Johnson at outside linebacker for Shawne Merriman. Kelvin Sheppard, as expected, takes over as the starter at inside linebacker, replacing Andra Davis. Andy Levitre shifts to left tackle from left guard, and Chad Rinehart starts at left guard.

For the Redskins, inactive are: CB Phillip Buchanon, FB Mike Sellers, LB Markus White, LT Trent Williams, TE Dominique Byrd, WR Santana Moss and DL Darrion Scott.

---Jay Skurski

Week Eight walk-thru

An earlier-than-usual spin around the NFL, due to a Toronto trek that will start soon:

- As I wrote in Friday's column, if there's ever a time for Titans running back Chris Johnson to get on track, today against the Colts is it. If Johnson doesn't give you a 100-yard game and get in the end zone, it's time to put him on the trade block to see what his high-profile name can fetch.

In that same game, Colts rookie Delone Carter is a good sleeper running back, while Titans tight end Jared Cook is the same at his position.

- Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas is out with a hamstring injury. Incredibly, the Dolphins don't have a touchdown from a wide receiver since Week Two.

- The Jaguars' defense proved last week it's legit, and Houston will still be without WR Andre Johnson, so QB Matt Schaub can take a seat if you've got a worthwhile backup.

- Ravens QB Joe Flacco has just one TD pass in his past three games, but gets a cake home game against Arizona today to fix that. Start him.

In that same game, Cardinals running back Beanie Wells is expected to play, but in a limited role. That means he can be left on the bench for another week against the ever-tough Ravens' "D."

- Rookie RB Mark Ingram is out for the Saints this week, so Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles will get more work against the hapless Rams.

In the same game, Brandon Lloyd was targeted 12 times in his St. Louis debut last week. Back with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Lloyd should become more of a fantasy factor in the coming weeks and is worth starting today.

- Broncos RB Willis McGahee is out, making Knowshon Moreno the starter.

In the same game, I'm betting that Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will start with his ankle injury. He's questionable, so it's a roll of the dice, but the Leos need a win after dropping two straight.

- Browns RB Peyton Hillis had a setback from his hamstring injury during practice this week, and I don't expect him to play against San Francisco. That means lots of work for Montario Hardesty, although the 49ers' rush defense is strong.

Best of luck in Week Eight!

---Jay Skurski

Kelsay probable vs. Redskins

---The Bills have five players sitting out Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins in Toronto.

Out for the game are nose tackle Kyle Williams (foot), left tackle Demetrius Bell (shoulder), cornerback Aaron Williams (collarbone), wide receiver Donald Jones (ankle) and tackle Chris Hairston (ankle). Meanwhile, linebacker Chris Kelsay (calf) practiced fully this week and is probable.

Wide receiver Santana Moss (hand), tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and fullback Mike Sellers (back) are out for Sunday, while former Bills linebacker London Fletcher (hamstring), cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall (hip) and Phillip Buchanon (neck/knee) and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (knee) are questionable for Washington.

Quarterback Rex Grossman (pneumonia), safety Reed Doughty (chest), wide receiver Donte Stallworth (hamstring), cornerbacks Byron Westbrook (hamstring) and Josh Wilson (hamstring) and tackle Jammal Brown (hip) are probable.

---Rodney McKissic



Fitzpatrick deal reached

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is on the verge of signing a deal on a contract extension, according to a source close to the talks. Confirmation could be coming soon.

--Mark Gaughan

UPDATE: Bills, Fitzpatrick reach deal on extension

Gronkowski apologizes for pics with porn star

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Williamsville native, apologized today for photos of him with an adult film star that got posted on twitter. Gronkowski met the woman, Bibi Jones, during the Pats' bye week last week while he was back in Arizona visiting his college alma mater. The two got their photo taken, with Jones wearing a Gronkowski jersey.

"I didn't intend anything to hurt the reputation of anyone on the New England Patriots or on behalf of Robert Kraft," said Gronkowski. "That's all, just a simple picture, that's all. From here on out, I'm just here to talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers and the big game this weekend."

Jones was interviewed on Boston radio station 98.5 the Sports Hub Monday and said nothing happened between the two. "I wish something happened, but nothing happened," Jones told the station.

(We're not going to shamelessly post the picture on this blog to try to artificially pump up our web statistics.)

---Mark Gaughan

Shanahan & Fitz's Wonderlic

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan made an unprompted reference to the pre-draft intelligence test Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick took back in 2005. Fitzpatrick reportedly scored 48 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test. Harvard graduate Pat McInally reportedly scored 49, the highest result ever on the test.

Shanahan on Fitz: "I’ve been impressed with how he handles himself. You listen to a few of his interviews, and it seems like he’s got everything that you want in a quarterback. He’s just a natural leader."

"I think he needs to be a little bit smarter," said Shanahan, laughing. "What did he miss, one question? I guess that’s OK, sometimes those quarterbacks will miss one on purpose!"

In his meeting with the media today, a Toronto reporter asked Fitzpatrick if he ever gets tired of questions about how freakishly smart he is. "No, I love them," Fitzpatrick said. "Do you have any more questions about that?"

"Yes," the reporter replied. "Do you every help guys with their (investment) portfolios?"

Said FItz: “I try to stay out of that. You can lose friends that way. I don’t want to give them those great stock tips and have it go south.”

Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, was sporting a T-shirt with guard Andy Levitre's face on it. The words "Bills Nation" were on the top of the T-shirt, and "Levitre Land" was on the bottom.  

"It's an Andy shirt," Fitz said. "Just making sure everybody knows about Levitre Land."

Turns out Levitre's girlfriend had the shirts made up, and Fitzpatrick asked for one.

---Mark Gaughan


George Wilson: It's not a home game

Bills safety George Wilson pulled no punches when asked about the Bills giving up some of their home-field advantage by playing the Washington Redskins in Toronto.

Said Wilson: "It's not a home game. We're playing an international game that counts as a home game because it's relatively closer to Buffalo. We're amabassadors of the game trying to globalize the sport. So we understand that. But at the same time, it's certianly not the same environment that we have here in Ralph Wilson Stadium. ... The expectation of there's going to be just as many cheers for the Redskins as there will for us. We just have to make sure w'ere the ones making the big plays so there's no cheers for the other team."
Wilson continued: "You see just as many jerseys for the opposing team as you do for the Bills. They cheer for any big play regardless of which ever team makes it. So we have to do a great job of making sure we're the ones making those big plays so they're cheering for us as opposed to the Redskins."

---Mark Gaughan

Fitz, the draft & his talks

As we wait for what we expect will be a finalization of a new contract for Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick sometime soon, it’s interesting to consider the likelihood that both sides are facing an apparent leverage standoff.

It looks like there are three top QBs in the 2012 NFL Draft – Stanford’s Andrew Luck, USC’s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, presuming they all come out a year early. Arizona’s Nick Foles might be a first-rounder. There are a couple others who could be low first-rounders. It’s a bit early to tell. There are not that many NFL teams that need a QB. There’s Miami, Seattle, Washington and Denver (if Tim Tebow doesn’t shine this season). Then there’s Indianapolis, which we think would take Luck if they get the No. 1 pick, even though Peyton Manning is under contract. The Bills almost surely are going to win too many games to get one of the “surer-fire” top three QBs – Luck, Barkley and Jones. (Obviously the phrase surer-fire is highly speculative.) So do the Bills really want to roll the dice and start over on offense with a higher-risk QB in the draft? No. And are there any teams out there would be likely to give Fitzpatrick $10 million a year? Probably not. If the Bills wind up winning 11 games, might a Washington or a Seattle go after Fitz. Maybe. Short of that, there probably isn’t going to be a big bidding battle for Fitz. Bottom line: We’re expecting a deal.

Fitzpatrick had this to say about contract talks today: “I can’t say much about it. It’s one of those things that’s been ongoing throughout the season. I just have to continue to do what I’m doing and focus on playing and hopefully all that takes care of itself. … I’d probably be lying if I said it’s something I haven’t thought about. I’m human too, so I just can’t block all that away. It’d be something I’d like to get done and we’ll see how it progresses here in the next few weeks.”

---Mark Gaughan


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