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Terrence McGee has setback with knee injury

By Jay Skurski

Cornerback Terrence McGee was not in attendance today as the Buffalo Bills practiced on the outdoor grass field, and the news was not good.

Bills coach Chan Gailey said McGee suffered a setback during Monday's practice in his recovery from offseason knee surgery.

"His knee got a little weaker in practice yesterday," Gailey said. "So we're sitting him [for Thursday's preseason finale in Detroit] and seeing where he goes, looking for the future. He's not going to play this week, so we'll have to see where that puts us."

Gailey went on to say McGee's condition is a long-term concern.

"You always are," Gailey said. "Until a guy can go out there and play consistently and have no setbacks, you get worried. I've got a lot more confidence where Eric Wood is than I do with Terrence McGee, because Eric's had no setbacks [from offseason ACL surgery]."

That being said, Gailey said it was premature to put McGee on the roster bubble with final cuts looming Friday.

"I don't see that right now, no," the coach said.

Cornerback looks to be one of the most secure positions on the roster, with starters Aaron Williams, Stephon Gilmore, nickel back Leodis McKelvin and reserves Justin Rogers and Ron Brooks.

The Bills could get away with keeping McGee on the roster and deactiving him the first few weeks as he recovers, but they'd surely like to have him ready by at least Week 4, when the New England Patriots visit Ralph Wilson Stadium.

First cuts not kind to ex-Bills

By Jay Skurski

In reading over the list of first cuts put together by profootballtalk.com, one thing stood out to me.

It wasn't kind to former Bills.

By my count, eight former Bills were either released, placed on injured reserve or waived/injured. The list is highlighted by the release of wide receiver Terrell Owens by the Seattle Seahawks.  

Roscoe Parrish was also dropped by the San Diego Chargers, but he quickly found a landing spot with the Oakland Raiders. Oakland also waived/injured offensive lineman Ed Wang (I didn't say all these players would be big names).

Defensive tackle John McCargo, a first-round pick of the Bills in 2006, was dropped by the Chicago Bears.

Other former Bills who are looking for work: running back Xavier Omon (Denver), defensive end Anthony Hargrove (Green Bay) and cornerback Ashton Youboty (Jacksonville).

The Detroit Lions also placed offensive tackle Jonathan Scott on injured reserve.

Press Coverage record reveals Bills QB concern

By Tim Graham

The Press Coverage blog obliterated a traffic record Monday.

I mention this not to brag, but because I find that fact revealing.

Buffalo Bills fans are fascinated by the backup quarterback situation, and they're not stupid. There's a reason why it's such a weighty issue for them.

Fans fear the backup QB role will matter this year. And so must the Bills because they stripped the job from Vince Young, who seemed to have it locked up a week earlier, and traded for Tarvaris Jackson days before preparations will commence for the regular-season opener.

Press Coverage analytics showed traffic picking up Sunday after Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan wrote the Bills were finalizing a trade with the Seattle Seahawks for Jackson, and the momentum carried over to Monday.

Pageviews increased 68.9 percent over the previous record (when the Bills released Shawne Merriman) and 108.9 percent over the third-busiest day (Roger Goodell speaking at Chautauqua Institute and Sen. Charles Schumer's news conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium).

Those numbers tell me something about the anxiety level of Bills fans.

Sure, Young remains a fascinating figure. His demise certainly sent national traffic to the Press Coverage blog. And fans always are interested in the new guy, especially when he's a quarterback. Buffalo News colleague Jay Skurski and I posted a bunch of updates Monday about the situation.

Nevertheless, they're backup quarterbacks. When fans are comfortable with their starting quarterback, retread reserves remain afterthoughts -- not web-traffic-record-breaking personalities.

There was a vocal faction of Bills fans who bombarded me with emails and tweets, predicting the week when Young would replace Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter.

The reasons rarely were because of injury. Many fans simply thought Young looked better than Fitzpatrick through the first two preseason games and were more confident with the idea of Young at the helm.

I disagreed, but the sentiment existed.

One bad performance later, the Bills dumped Young and traded for somebody else.

Interesting stuff, indeed. Thanks for visiting the Press Coverage blog.

Poll: Which WRs make Buffalo's 53-man roster?

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have one more preseason game and less than four days to figure out what they're going to do at wide receiver.

Some tough decisions must be made. Local favorite Naaman Roosevelt, for instance, is on the bubble. So is third-year receiver Marcus Easley, who once showed promise but now is struggling to make a strong impression.

The depth chart is nearly stacked with receivers who are must-haves. We know Stevie Johnson, David Nelson, Donald Jones and T.J. Graham have spots on the roster.

For the record, Bills coach Chan Gailey kept only six receivers, including third quarterback Brad Smith, to start last season.

It might be generous to say there are two openings on the receiver depth chart.

Even so, tell us the two other receivers you think are most likely to make the 53-man roster by Friday night's deadline.

Please vote for only two:

End of Favre's legendary streak marked by two Bills

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills' roster now contains answers to two Brett Favre trivia questions.

1) Who was the player who delivered the hit that ended Brett Favre's hallowed consecutive games streak?

2) Who replaced Favre and made the next start?

The date was Dec. 5, 2010. On the third play of the game, Bills rookie linebacker Arthur Moats nailed Favre in the back, sending the future first-ballot Hall of Famer to the Metrodome turf. Favre sprained his shoulder and left the game. He couldn't play the next week.

His replacement for both games was Tarvaris Jackson. Bills receiver Stevie Johnson remembers that game. Johnson, when asked Monday what he knows about Jackson, laughed before answering.

"I know he torched us when we played in Minnesota a couple years ago," Johnson said. "So I know he's got the talent to make plays and win games. At the time, he was backing up Brett Favre, and when Brett went down he came in and balled out. So I know he can do that."

Jackson beat the Bills 38-14. He completed 15 of 22 throws for 187 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted by Drayton Florence, Leodis McKelvin and Donte Whitner.

Jackson then started in a Week 14 loss to the New York Giants. Favre couldn't play in that game, ending his streak at 297 consecutive games.

It would be Jackson's final start for Minnesota. He suffered a season-ending toe injury in that game. Favre started again in Week 15, threw seven passes and then didn't play again. Jackson signed a two-year free-agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks that offseason.

Erik Pears, Mark Anderson ruled out for Thursday

By Jay Skurski

Bills coach Chan Gailey said defensive end Mark Anderson and right tackle Erik Pears, both of whom have battled groin injuries during training camp, will be held out of Thursday's preseason finale in Detroit.

They did not practice Monday, nor did linebacker Bryan Scott, although Gailey expects him to return to practice Tuesday.

Also sitting out Monday from team drills was defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who's suffering from a minor wrist injury, Gailey said.

Rookie offensive tackle James Carmon walked off the field early in practice with a trainer, although no update was available on his condition.

Video: Bills release Vince Young

Tarvaris Jackson fought through injury in lone season in Seattle

By Jay Skurski

Tarvaris Jackson was pumped up to get to Buffalo.

So pumped up, in fact, that he took a redeye flight from Seattle that left at 11:30 p.m. Sunday night, after learning of his trade from the Seahawks to the Bills.

“I’m not really looking forward to those anymore, but it was cool. I was excited about getting here,” Jackson said this afternoon after taking part in his first practice with his new team.

Jackson did not take part in team drills, but was on the field throwing to receivers as part of his work with quarterbacks coach David Lee.

Jackson spent just one season with the Seahawks, and it was marred by a torn pectoral muscle on his throwing side, an injury he suffered in Week Five.

“Obviously I wanted to play better. I didn’t want to get hurt,” Jackson said. “I was limited in practice. I probably practiced like once a week, maybe, on limited throws.”

Jackson gutted through the injury – missing only one game – after Seahawks trainers told him he wasn’t at risk of further hurting himself. He struggled in his first two weeks back, however, throwing four interceptions with no touchdown passes.

“We started slow and we were a young offense last year,” Jackson said. “The defense kind of held us down a little bit until we got ourselves down on offense and got the running game going.”

The Seahawks went 5-3 over the final eight weeks, with running back Marshawn Lynch averaging 100 yards per game. But Jackson still averaged almost 30 throws a game over that stretch, so it’s not as if they were hiding him.

Over the final seven weeks, he threw eight touchdowns against four interceptions.

I said ‘Well, let’s give it a shot and see what happens,’ ” he said of playing through his injury. “I gave it a shot and it turned out well.”

Thigpen, Young prove knowing playbook overrated

By Tim Graham

Maybe it's not that big of a deal how quickly new Buffalo Bills backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson learns the playbook.

Bills coach Chan Gailey pointed out this afternoon Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen know the offense.

What good has that done the Bills?

Apparently, not much.

The Bills lack faith in either of them to fill in for Ryan Fitzpatrick if necessary. That's why they traded for Jackson and cut Young this morning.

Gailey said Young had the offense down "with his thought processes. But you've got to be consistent with all that, too. We just didn't see the consistency. Obviously, Tyler hasn't jumped up there yet either with consistency. We're going to try to see if we can find somebody that will give us consistency."

Gailey, like Buddy Nix earlier in the day, said he was unsure if the Bills would keep four quarterbacks given Jackson's arrival less than two weeks before the season opener at the Meadowlands. Gailey did reiterate Brad Smith would be the third quarterback.

Final roster cuts must be made by Friday. That gives the Bills four days to evaluate whether a quarterback who just got his playbook is a safer bet for the No. 2 job than a quarterback who knows the offense and can't execute it to Gailey's satisfaction.

"Any time you don't have consistency, whether it's guard or defensive end or linebacker or wherever it is, we're looking to create competition," Gailey said. "That's where we are right now. We haven't found the consistency that we want.

"We're going to see how fast [Jackson] can learn. We're going to try to play him Thursday night, let him get in the huddle, get a feel for things, how we do it."

Nix doesn't want to discuss Vince Young anymore

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix was reluctant to discuss why Vince Young no longer is with the club.

"I don't want to get into what he can do and can't do," Nix said this afternoon before quarterback Tarvaris Jackson joined his new teammates for a practice at One Bills Drive. "It just didn't work out.

"Vince did everything that he could. He worked hard at it. He did everything that we asked him to do. It just didn't work. So we're going another route."

Pressed by reporters about how Young didn't measure up, Nix replied "Why do we keep talking about Vince's problems? Vince is gone."

The decision to trade for Jackson came down to insurance.

"We spent a lot of money in the offseason," Nix said. "We put a lot of money in this football team, and we think we've got good players and a chance to be competitive. I wouldn't want one guy to get hurt and couldn't play and everybody else be helpless to get it done. So it's a protection."

Nix suggested Jackson could play in Thursday night's preseason finale against the Detroit Lions.

Check back on the Press Coverage blog for a report on Jackson's first practice and comments from the Bills' newest player.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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