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What to look for at today's Bills practice

By Jay Skurski

A steady barrage of news has filtered out of One Bills Drive in the last week.

To recap, in the past seven days alone, the Bills have:

    • Lost veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb to a concussion that ultimately landed him on the injured reserve list.
    • Lost No. 1 cornerback Stephon Gilmore for 6-8 weeks because of a broken wrist.
    • Signed and then eventually released former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart. They also traded with the Detroit Lions for another quarterback, Thad Lewis, only to release him, too. 
    • Announced they are planning to start undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel against the New England Patriots, which would make NFL history, if first-round draft pick EJ Manuel isn't ready because of knee surgery.
    • Welcomed back Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, who doesn't sound thrilled to be back. Then watched as Byrd had a second opinion on a foot injury.
    • Signed one of their team leaders in center Eric Wood to a contract extension.
    • Made a round of cuts Friday, then another one Saturday that left them three players under the maximum roster limit of 53.

So when the Bills get back to work today to prepare for the season opener against New England next Sunday, here's what to look for.

    • Can EJ practice? Bills coach Doug Marrone has said Manuel will need to practice by at least Wednesday to have a shot to play against the Pats. The sooner he gets back on the practice field, the better his chances get. The Bills have five full practices before playing New England: Today, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
    • Jairus Byrd's health. The safety's roster exemption has expired, so he's now part of the active roster. It's clear the Bills need Byrd back at 100 percent as quickly as possible, especially with the secondary lacking Gilmore at the present time. Byrd was unsure of how quickly he'd be ready to play last week after missing all of training camp.
    • Roster adds. As mentioned above, the Bills have three spots available on their 53-man roster. A cornerback and quarterback would seem like logical additions. The team can also fill out its eight-man practice squad starting this afternoon.   
    • C.J. Spiller's return. The Pro Bowl running back, subject of today's lengthy cover story by Tim Graham in The News' NFL Preview section, returns to the team today after spending the week in Florida to deal with a family situation.   

tagged

C.J. Spiller | Doug Marrone | EJ Manuel | Eric Wood | Jairus Byrd | Jeff Tuel | Kevin Kolb | Matt Leinart | Stephon Gilmore | Thad Lewis
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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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