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Sunday, August 23, 2009
Random thoughts from Bills' preseason loss


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' shoddy performance Saturday night in a 31-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field:

Bills fans have to love the comments from head coach Dick Jauron. Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

"It was a disappointing night," Jauron said. "The good news is that it's preseason. We knew we had a long way to go, and this should show us that we have a long way to go. We've got to get back to work on Monday."

But why do the Bills have such a long way to go? They opened camp a week earlier than almost half the league and have played an extra exhibition because they were in the Hall of Fame Game.

In the first half, the Bills donated four turnovers, allowed three sacks and had five plays for negative yardage. For the game, they committed 12 penalties for 123 yards.

The Bills' first-teamers should look sharper than their opponents right now. They do not. Reserves and players who won't make the team scored all of Buffalo's points in the second half.

Trent Edwards didn't look any more comfortable than he did last year. Edwards is entering his third NFL season and second as Buffalo's starting quarterback, but he doesn't seem to be developing the kind of pocket presence you'd like to see from a franchise quarterback.

He threw an interception to end the first drive (the ball was deflected to Packers linebacker Brady Poppinga, but that's because Lee Evans was covered), was sacked twice and lost a fumble to end the second drive.

The first-team offensive line had a rough night. On five series, Edwards was sacked three times. Center Geoff Hangartner was whistled for a false start. Left tackle Langston Walker was penalized for holding.

Terrell Owens was missed. The Bills won't normally face blanket corners like Pro Bowlers Al Harris and Charles Woodson, but Owens certainly would have made things easier for Edwards. Owens' bum toe better not be bothering him when the regular season begins.

Despite a shaky camp, Ryan Fitzpatrick put together another strong exhibition performance. Fitzpatrick completed 12 of 16 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown with one interception. His past two games combined: 25-of-32 for 255 yards.

Xavier Omon is making sure he gets one of those 53 roster spots. The second-year back is projected to make the opening-day roster, especially with Marshawn Lynch suspended for the first three games. But Omon is running hard. He had five carries for only 6 yards, but he scored a touchdown and ripped off a 52-yard catch and run.

Two things that stood out to me on defense: 1) I know that linebacker Keith Ellison is listed at 6-foot and 229 pounds, but he really looked more like a defensive back out there. 2) The second-team defensive line outplayed the first-teamers -- relatively speaking. They were playing the Packers' backups, but ends Chris Ellis and Copeland Bryan and tackles John McCargo and Spencer Johnson played with conviction.