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EJ Manuel to 'ramp it up this week,' per Doug Marrone

By Jay Skurski

Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is set to start another phase of his rehab for the Buffalo Bills.

Coach Doug Marrone said today that Manuel "will be working extremely hard this week."

"I can't answer the question, is he going to be practicing or not? You know, I don't want to get into that and have it explode," Marrone said, "but he's going to be working extremely hard. ... He's going to ramp it up this week."

Marrone conceded that meant Manuel was at least getting closer to a return to practice.

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Jairus Byrd says he hasn't given upcoming trade deadline much thought

By Jay Skurski

Bills safety Jairus Byrd's name has been a popular one floated in trade rumors seemingly from the time he reported to the team over the summer.

With the trade deadline in the NFL arriving at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Byrd was asked today whether he had an expectation of what might happen.

"No, not really. I haven't really given it too much thought," he said. "I mean, I'm focused on winning games here. If something happens, it happens, but right now my focus is with my teammates here and just trying to win games."

Byrd is coming off his most extensive playing time of the season in Sunday's 35-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He was in on 90 percent of the defensive snaps (63 of 70), registering three tackles and one pass defensed.

Continue reading "Jairus Byrd says he hasn't given upcoming trade deadline much thought" »

Stevie Johnson will wait to see if MRI is needed on hip flexor injury

By Jay Skurski

Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson said he was feeling a "little banged up" this morning, less than 24 hours after his team's 35-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Johnson suffered a hip flexor injury during the game, and was limited to taking just 47 offensive snaps (66 percent).

"I feel like it was better being on the field with the guys than being sidelined," he said. "I already missed a game this season and felt like that's already too much, you know what I'm saying? I probably should have stayed out, but you know, I made it through. I don't think I made the injury any worse."

Continue reading "Stevie Johnson will wait to see if MRI is needed on hip flexor injury" »

Chat replay: Monday Morning Quarterback with Jay Skurski

C.J. Spiller on being scratched Sunday: 'I wasn't ready'

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- C.J. Spiller said throughout the week he wanted to play on his sprained left ankle. The only way to keep him off the field would've been for the Bills to deactivate him.

Bills coach Doug Marrone did just that, scratching Spiller for the first time in the running back's career. Spiller had played 44 straight games, the fifth-longest active streak among all running backs.

"I wasn't ready," Spiller told me outside the locker room. "It was Coach Marrone's decision. I respected that.

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Doug Marrone throws red flag on himself over bad challenges

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone lost a pair of challenges early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.

The miscalculations cost Buffalo two timeouts and denied it a chance to challenge for the rest of the game.

Marrone, squaring off against the head coach for whom he formerly served as offensive coordinator, has failed on all three challenges this year and declared he would address the problem.

Continue reading "Doug Marrone throws red flag on himself over bad challenges" »

Game ball: Saints 35, Bills 17

Points after: Saints 35, Bills 17

Bills Saints Football.JPE#2

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome ...

What it means: The Bills are 3-5 with a to-be-expected result against one of the NFL's supreme teams and in one of the toughest stadiums to play. Thad Lewis turned in another gritty performance, withstanding several shots, but his production was pedestrian.

Player of the game: Drew Brees seemed to have a shaky first half, yet went into halftime with three touchdown passes, a 149.2 passer rating and an 11-point lead. He finished 26 of 34 for 332 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.

Bills MVP: Fred Jackson was reliable again. Without backfield mate C.J. Spiller, Jackson carried the offense as far as he could. Jackson ran 15 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. He had all but 3 of those yards in the first quarter because the Bills were playing from behind. He added two catches for 8 yards.

Bills play of the game: Stevie Johnson capped a fine second-half drive with a leaping grab in the end zone. Johnson had four catches for 42 yards on the series. His touchdown was from 13 yards out.

Preliminary injury report: The Bills deactivated Spiller to help him overcome his nagging left ankle injury and linebacker Manny Lawson. ... Johnson hobbled off the field in the second quarter with an apparent left groin injury. He returned later on the same drive, but came out again in the third quarter and was limited for the rest of the game. ... Running back Tashard Choice had a left leg injury checked out in the fourth quarter and was cleared to play. ... Receiver Marquise Goodwin hurt his left elbow in the fourth quarter and was carted to the locker room.

Coming up: The Bills return home next Sunday to play the Kansas City Chiefs in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Marquise Goodwin injures elbow

Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was taken to the locker room with an elbow injury in the fourth quarter.

Saints DBs injured

New Orleans Saints defensive backs Kenny Vaccaro and Keenan Lewis collided defending a Thad Lewis pass and missed a fourth-down play. The Bills did not convert with 3:55 left and the Saints took over at their 26 on downs.

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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 |

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 |

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 |