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Bills make a pair of changes to active roster; sign QB Dennis Dixon to practice squad

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills continued to tweak the bottom of their 53-man roster by signing linebacker Ty Powell and cornerback Brandon Smith. To make room for them, the team released linebacker Marcus Dowtin and cornerback Johnny Adams.

Powell, 25, was signed off the New York Giants' practice squad. The 6-foot-2, 249-pounder entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks in April. He was released prior to the start of the regular season and has spent time on the practice squad for both Seattle and the Giants. He started his collegiate career at DeAnza College and finished it at Harding -- proving if you can play, NFL scouts will find you.

Smith, 26, is a converted wide receiver who joined the team's practice squad Sept. 10 after being released by Green Bay on Sept. 10. The 6-1, 205-pounder originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers in 2011.

Continue reading "Bills make a pair of changes to active roster; sign QB Dennis Dixon to practice squad" »

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.

Leslie Frazier suggests Bills' D game-planned for exhibition

By Tim Graham

The Minnesota Vikings weren't prepared for what the defense they faced Friday night.

Teams usually don't game-plan for preseason exhibitions or constantly call blitzes. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier didn't sound too appreciative for what the Buffalo Bills unleashed defensively.

"Everybody has they way of approaching the preseason, and that's their choice," Frazier said after the Bills beat the Vikings, 20-16, in Ralph Wilson Stadium. "We'll keep moving forward.

"They did some good things. It's preseason. They have the option to do whatever they want to do."

The Bills blitzed throughout the game. They recorded four sacks, with defensive end Jerry Hughes tallying a pair. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and linebacker Marcus Dowtin had one apiece. The Bills also had five quarterback hits and six tackles for losses.

Continue reading "Leslie Frazier suggests Bills' D game-planned for exhibition" »

Bills claim former Jets linebacker Marcus Dowtin off waivers

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine apparently liked what he saw from linebacker Marcus Dowtin as a member of the New York Jets.

The Bills today claimed Dowtin off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dowtin started his NFL career last year under Pettine, then the Jets' defensive coordinator. Dowtin, an undrafted rookie out of North Alabama, spent time on the practice squad but eventually was promoted and played in three games for the Jets.

The Eagles signed Dowtin to a futures contract on Dec. 31. But new head coach Chip Kelly has been tweaking the roster and released him Thursday.


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 |