Let's start a quick tour around the league in Tampa, where Bucs running back LeGarrette Blount is out today with a knee injury. Blount could miss up to six weeks, making Earnest Graham the starter for Tampa Bay. See if he slipped through the cracks on the waiver wire and add him if you can.
On the other side in Tampa is the New Orleans Saints, who should have WR Marques Colston back to 100 percent. Colston is a good start this week with Drew Brees throwing touchdown passes all over the field.
Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas is questionable, but he expects to play Monday night against the Jets. Since it's a Monday night game, though, and it's against the Jets, I'd play it safe with Thomas and use someone else. Like Reggie Bush, the Dolphins' other RB, for instance.
Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was limited in practice Friday with a toe injury and it sounds iffy if he'll be able to do much against Dallas this afternoon (it's a 4 p.m. game). Check to see if Stevan Ridley is available -- I expect him to eventually win the starting RB job for the Patriots.
In Washington, coach Mike Shanahan is up to his usual shenanigans with his running backs. Ryan Torain is healthier than Tim Hightower, though, so expect him to get more work against the Eagles, who have a poor rush defense.
Bills coach Chan Gailey said outside linebacker Shawne Merriman is doubtful for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Merriman did not practice Friday after he felt pain in his Achilles tendon during Thursday's practice.
"The Achilles flared up in practice yesterday," Gailey said. "All along it's been the shoulder and then all of a sudden that thing started acting up yesterday. He's doubtful. I don't know if he'll make it or not."
There was no particular play or any contact that precipitated the pain. Merriman said he didn't think the problem was significant. However, Merriman has dealt with pain in his Achilles tendon going back more than two years. He rehabilitated it all offseason and has played without a problem with it the first five games.
Asked about his concern on Merriman's Achilles going forward, Gailey said: "I don't know. We've got a bye week after this. We'll see what happens."
Merriman's likely absence creates a big issue at outside linebacker for the Bills, since the other starter at the position, Chris Kelsay, is out with a calf injury. That leaves Danny Batten, Arthur Moats and Spencer Johnson to rotate at outside linebacker.
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Kyle Williams was very limited in practice due to his foot injury. Gailey said Williams is questionable. The Bills will work him out on the field Sunday morning before making a decision on his availability. Defensive tackle Torell Troup, who has been bothered by a sore back the first month of the season, practiced fully and will be ready, Gailey said.
Inside linebacker Nick Barnett (ankle) did most of the work in practice. He's listed as questionable, but is expected to play. "I think he'll make it," Gailey said.
---Bills veteran linebacker Nick Barnett was limited in practice on Thursday with an ankle injury and was added to the team’s injury report.
Nose tackle Kyle Williams (ankle) missed his second day of practice this week and his availability for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants will be a game-time decision according to Bills coach Chan Gailey.
Linebacker Shawne Merriman, who didn’t practice on Wednesday because of a sore shoulder was limited on Thursday with a sore Achilles, while guard Andy Levitre (knee) practiced fully after missing Wednesday’s workout. Rookie safety Da’Norris Searcy (ankle) didn’t practice again on Thursday and will likely miss Sunday’s game, Gailey said.
Searcy, left tackle Demetrius Bell (shoulder), linebacker Chris Kelsay (calf), wide receiver Donald Jones (ankle) and cornerback Aaron Williams (collarbone) are all out for Sunday’s game.
Meanwhile nose tackle Torell Troup (lower back) and linebacker Chris White (hamstring) practiced fully and are expected to play as is cornerback Terrence McGee (hamstring), who dressed for last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles but didn’t play.
For the Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee), center David Bass (neck) and linebacker Michael Boley (knee) were all limited in practice. Players who didn’t practice include corner Prince Amukamara (foot), defensive end Justin Tuck (groin, neck), running backs Brandon Jacobs (knee) and Henry Hynoski (neck), guard Chris Snee (concussion) and long snapper Zak DeOssie (concussion).
Bills safety George Wilson was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his play against the Philadelphia Eagles. Wilson has interceptions in three straight games. He also was credited with 11 tackles vs. the Eagles.
The Bills' defense gave upcoming opponents a little more to think about in the way of pass protection during their big victory over the Eagles on Sunday.
The Bills sent five or more men at the quarterback on passing plays 20 times in their 31-24 victory, according to News figures. The Eagles ran 45 pass plays, so the Bills blitzed on 44 percent of those downs. That's the highest percentage the Bills have blitzed over the past two years under coordinator George Edwards.
This does not count zone dogs, in which the Bills had a linebacker or a safety join the pass rush but dropped another player back in coverage and only rushed four players. It also doesn't count run dogs; blitzes on run plays. The Bills had not blitzed much the first four games. They rushed five or more on 16 percent vs. the Chiefs, 9 percent vs. the Raiders, 13 percent vs. the Pats and 15 percent vs. the Bengals, by the News' count. Last year the Bills' most aggressive blitzing game came against Chicago in Toronto, when the Bills sent five-plus at Jay Cutler on 36 percent of the pass plays.
The Bills got four of their five INTs vs. the Eagles on blitz plays. They gave up one TD on a blitz - the 31-yard TD pass to DeSean Jackson.
Bills coach Chan Gailey said cornerback Terrence McGee will return to the lineup Sunday when the Bills visit the New York Giants. McGee dressed, but did not play, in Buffalo's 31-24 victory over the Eagles.
"We were trying not to play him, if we could," Gailey said. "Let him have one more week of getting completely healthy. He'll play this week."
Gailey also revealed starting left tackle Demetrius Bell won't be ready to face the Giants. The coach said Bell will be out "a while." Rookie Chris Hairston will start his second straight game in place of Bell.
Linebacker Chris Kelsay (calf) and cornerback Aaron Williams (collarbone) also aren't expected to be ready this week. The Bills are on their bye week after the game against the Giants.
Bills coach Chan Gailey's creative playcalling will be further put to the test starting Sunday in New York.
Gailey revealed today that No. 2 receiver Donald Jones suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday's 31-24 win over the Eagles. The injury will keep Jones out of the lineup for 4-to-6 weeks, Gailey said.
Jones has 16 catches for 174 yards and one touchdown on the season. While his modest 10.9 yards-per-catch average may not fully support the case, the Bills depend on Jones to be their deep threat. He ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the 2010 NFL Combine, making him the team's fastest receiver.
With Jones out, the Bills are going to have to find another way to stretch the field.
"We’ll work some different ways to get that done. I think we can do it with our packages," Gailey said. "I’m not sure we need to have any knee-jerk reaction to try and find somebody today, but if somebody comes along who looks like they might fit, we’re always trying to upgrade our football team."
Gailey said the Bills will also use Brad Smith more as a receiver.
"It's all hands on deck this week, and maybe for the next few weeks," the coach said.
The Bills have one receiver on their practice squad, Kamar Aiken, a 6-foot-2, 213-pound undrafted free agent out of Central Florida.