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Stephon Gilmore out 6-8 weeks with broken wrist

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills will be without top cornerback Stephon Gilmore for 6-8 weeks because of a broken wrist.

Coach Doug Marrone delivered that sobering news following practice today. Gilmore, 22, was hurt during the Bills' 30-7 loss to the Washington Redskins on Saturday.

"We felt really good about him and he's put a lot of work in to try to be the best player at his position. I give him a lot of credit for that," coach Doug Marrone said. "He's really had an outstanding camp and has really played extremely well for us. It’s unfortunate the amount of work that he’s put in, but to be in a situation now where he’s not going to be able to participate for a period of time.

"Whenever you lose a player like that -- we consider a very good player -- someone has to step up and play that position."

Continue reading "Stephon Gilmore out 6-8 weeks with broken wrist" »

Da'Rick Rogers among five Bills cuts this morning

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have released five players, two of whom scored touchdowns in the preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

  • Wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers
  • Wide receiver DeMarco Sampson
  • Center Ryan Turnley
  • Cornerback Jumal Rolle
  • Defensive back Dominique Ellis

Most notable is Rogers, the undrafted rookie who arrived amid much anticipation. Some draft analysts viewed Rogers as a second- or third-round pick, but he had problems with marijuana in college.

Poll: Biggest story on Mammoth Monday at One Bills Drive?

By Tim Graham

Today will be packed with news from One Bills Drive.

The Bills made two additions at quarterback Sunday and might have lost their veteran insurance policy. We should get updates on quarterback EJ Manuel's knee, cornerback Stephon Gilmore's wrist, Da'Norris Searcy's head and whether running back C.J. Spiller is with the team.

Today also will be the first time reporters will have an opportunity to speak with safety Jairus Byrd since he signed his franchise tender and returned to the Bills last week.

Rosters must be reduced to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon, but many teams have announced those moves. Perhaps the Bills will today.

Bills trade with Lions for QB Lewis, adding to concern for Kolb

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills have acquired another quarterback, Thad Lewis, in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

The move, coupled with the signing of free-agent Matt Leinart earlier Sunday, reflects a major concern on the part of the Bills over the long-term health of veteran Kevin Kolb, who suffered concussion-like symptoms after taking a blow to the head against Washington on Saturday. Kolb, a seventh-year veteran, has had at least two prior concussions, one of them major. Another significant head injury is a worry for Kolb's career.

The acquistion of Lewis comes in return for third-year linebacker Chris White, who announced his departure from the team on Twitter. The deal comes just hours after the Bills agreed to terms with Leinart, the former first-round pick entering his eighth NFL season.

Lewis was running as the fourth-string quarterback in Detroit and was considered unlikely to beat out third-stringer Kellen Moore. White was veteran presence on the Bills' special teams units. However, he was running with the third team at linebacker. His odds of making the 53-man roster this season were uncertain, at best. White played in 15 games for the Bills last season but only saw eight snaps all season with the defense. He was third on the team in special-teams tackles with nine.

Lewis was undrafted out of Duke University in 2010. He set Duke records for passing yards (7,931) and touchdown passes (56). He was undrated because he's on the short side for an NFL QB, at 6-foot and 1-2 inches, and he doesn't have elite physical tools. He moves pretty well, but he's not viewed as a running quarterback.

He spent the 2010 season on the practice squad of the St. Louis Rams. He was a backup for the Cleveland Browns in 2011 and 2012. He got into one game, starting against Pittsburgh in the season finale last year. He completed 22 of 32 passes for 204 yards in a 24-10 loss. 

Former first-round pick Matt Leinart signs with the Bills

By Mark Gaughan

Heisman Trophy winner and former first-round draft pick Matt Leinart has agreed to terms on a contract with the Buffalo Bills, the team announced.

The emergency signing comes a day after Bills veteran Kevin Kolb suffered concussion-like symptoms after a blow to the head in the exhibition game at Washington. The Leinart agreement first was reported this afternoon by Mike Garofalo of FOX Sports.

Undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel is expected to start Thursday’s exhibition finale, and perhaps the regular-season opener if rookie first-round draft pick EJ Manuel can’t make a speedy recovery from knee surgery.

Leinart, 30, provides a veteran presence behind Tuel. Leinart's six-year NFL career has been a disappointment after he enjoyed one of the most celebrated college quarterbacking careers ever at the University of Southern California. Besides winning the Heisman in 2004, Leinart helped USC to two national titles, in 2003 and 2004.

Leinart's NFL career, however, never has gained traction. The Bills will be his fourth team. He is 8-10 for his career as a starter, and he has made only two starts in the last four seasons. At 6-foot-5, Leinart brings good size and a good arm. The Bills' coaches will have to give him a crash course on the offensive system over the next two weeks in preparation for the Sept. 8 game against New England.

He was the 10th overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2006. He got a late start on his rookie training camp after a contractual holdout then went 4-7 as a starter that season. He entered the 2007 season as the starter and went 3-2. But the Cardinals had veteran Kurt Warner behind him and turned the job over to Warner, who went on to great success. Warner led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2009.

Leinart lost the Cards' starting-job battle to Derek Anderson entering the 2010 season, and he was released. He spent the next two seasons as a backup to Matt Schaub with the Houston Texans. He spent the 2012 season as a backup to Carson Palmer with Oakland.

Leinart has not been in a training camp this summer. He had a tryout with Seattle in April, but he Seahawks opted to sign Brady Quinn.

Bills WR battle went nowhere, will be decided in Lions game

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills' offense had 12 possessions and went three plays and out nine times in Saturday's 30-7 loss to the Washington Redskins. Buffalo ran only 49 plays, compared with 81 for Washington.

The result is Bills coaches got a ton of evaluation opportunities for the defensive players trying to make the roster but very little new input on offense. That's especially true at the wide receiver position, arguably the most hotly contested battle for jobs on the 53-man roster.

The Bills' young wideouts battling for the last one or two spots on the receiver unit got virtually nothing. The Bills went three and out on all six possessions of the second half. The battle will go down to Thursday's exhibition finale against Detroit.

Here are the snap counts for the offense and defense in D.C.:

Offense

Robert Woods 38, Jeff Tuel 38, Cordy Glenn 37, Erik Pears 37, Kraig Urbik 37, Colin Brown 37, Eric Wood 37, Stevie Johnson 35, T.J. Graham 31, Scott Chandler 28, C.J. Spiller 19, Fred Jackson 18, Doug Legursky 15, Sam Young 15, Marquise Goodwin 14, Kevin Kolb 14, Tashard Choice 12, Thomas Welch 12, David Snow 12, Lee Smith 11, Chris Gragg 11, Dorin Dickerson 10, Frank Summers 8, Marcus Easley 6, Chris Hogan 3, Demarco Sampson 3, Zebrie Sanders 3, Zach Chibane 3, Zach Brown 3, Brad Smith 2, Brandon Kaufman 2.

Defense

Justin Rogers 49, Kiko Alonso 49, Duke Williams 27, Aaron Williams 42, Nigel Bradham 40, Leodis McKelvin 29, Jonathan Meeks 37, Torell Troup 34, Arthur Moats 31, Stephon Gilmore 31, Da'Norris Searcy 30, Marcell Dareus 30, Jerry Hughes 28, Jarron Gilbert 28, Kyle Williams 27, Crezdon Butler 26, Ron Brooks 25, Alan Branch 23, Jamie Blatnick 22, Marcus Dowtin 22, Manny Lawson 22, Jay Ross 21, Jamaal Westerman 21, Chris White 20, Mario Williams 20, Alex Carrington 19, Izaan Cross 17, Nickell Robey 14, Bryan Scott 13, T.J. Heath 12, Keith Pough 8, Brian Smith 6, Jordan Dangerfield 1.

Bills reportedly schedule tryouts for Matt Leinart, John Beck

By Tim Graham

With EJ Manuel recovering from a knee procedure and Kevin Kolb experiencing "concussion-like symptoms," the Buffalo Bills are reevaluating their quarterback depth chart and won't waste any time bringing in veterans to audition.

Multiple reports state former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart and John Beck are headed to Orchard Park to work out Sunday.

Leinart, the 10th overall draft choice in 2006, has played for three NFL teams. He spent his first four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, then one apiece with the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders.

Continue reading "Bills reportedly schedule tryouts for Matt Leinart, John Beck" »

Points after: Redskins 30, Bills 7

By Tim Graham

Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' harrowing loss to Washington today at FedEx Field ...

What it means: This game was quintessentially queasy for those who think the objective for any preseason exhibition is to escape without any serious injuries. The Bills lost quarterback Kevin Kolb (head), cornerback Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and safety Da'Norris Searcy (head) in the first half. C.J. Spiller (knee) went down in the first quarter but returned.

Bills star of the game: Spiller was a surprise starter after the tragic report involving his step-grandfather this morning. We're unsure as of this posting if Spiller knew about it. Spiller might've sat out, but he didn't. He also could've declined to return after his knee scare, but he didn't. Spiller ran eight times for 39 yards and a touchdown.

Stat line of the day: It's not a glittery set of numbers, but they're interesting. Jeff Tuel wasn't supposed to play so much, but with Kolb knocked out of the game, Tuel saw three quarters and went 10 of 17 for 63 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

Receivers impacted: With the Bills not throwing much (probably out of caution to not get Tuel hurt), the receiver competition didn't crystallize. Only 12 catches were made. Stevie Johnson had a team-high four catches for 28 yards. Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley and Da'Rick Rogers had zero receptions.

Defense struggles against backup QBs: Washington was without Robert Griffin III and second-stringer Kirk Cousins. Rex Grossman and Pat White combined to go 18 of 35 for 267 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. White also ran three times for 26 yards and a touchdown.

Penalties improve: This was one of Doug Marrone's main points of emphasis. The Bills committed nine penalties in their preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts and 14 last week against the Minnesota Vikings. Today, they were charged with seven for 38 yards.

Coming up: The Bills close out their preseason schedule Thursday night against the Detroit Lions in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Bills endure miserable day in blowout loss to Redskins

By Mark Gaughan

LANDOVER, Md. – It was all bad news for the Buffalo Bills Saturday, and the fact they lost to the Washington Redskins, 30-7, was hardly the team's worst development.

Quarterback Kevin Kolb suffered from concussion like symptoms after taking a blow to the head in the first quarter. With rookie EJ Manuel already out due to last week’s knee surgery, that leaves undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel as the only healthy quarterback on the roster.

The Bills play their exhibition finale at home against Detroit in five days. Manuel already has been ruled out for the game. It seems certain the team will have to sign some free-agent quarterback to fill in.

Whether Manuel can be ready for the season opener against New England remains in serious doubt. Kolb, meanwhile, has had numerous concussions in his career.

Also on the injury front, the Bills lost their top cornerback, Stephon Gilmore, to a hand injury in the second quarter. Starting safety Da'Norris Searcy left the game in the second quarter after taking a blow to the head.

Meanwhile, star running back C.J. Spiller faces a personal crisis this week in the wake of a shooting spree in Florida. Spiller's step-grandfather reportedly has been identified as the gunman who killed two men and injured two others before committing suicide this morning in Union County, Florida.

The ABC affiliate in Gainesville, Fla., reported Union County Sheriff Jerry Whitehead has announced Hubert Allen Jr. went to his former place of employment, Pritchett Trucking, and shot an employee.

Allen then reportedly went to the family farm of company owner Marvin Pritchett, killed him and a farmhand and shot another man before returning home to kill himself.

C.J. Spiller's grandparents played pivotal role in raising him

By Tim Graham

The designation "step-grandfather" apparently is a nebulous one.

Many readers responded furiously to today's report that C.J. Spiller's step-grandfather, Hubert Allen Jr., shot and killed two people and wounded two others before killing himself in Union County, Fla.

Angry readers felt the story was gratuitous, that it besmirched Spiller, that it was a stretch to include the star running back's name. One reader claimed a step-grandfather is no closer than a third cousin twice removed. Other readers ruled the incident was no big deal for Spiller because he played this afternoon.

I've spent considerable time talking with Spiller about his family over the past few days. I'm in the process of writing an in-depth feature story about how his family shaped the man he is.

Continue reading "C.J. Spiller's grandparents played pivotal role in raising him" »

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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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