A season of questions [6:31 AM]
D and C reports: 'With this changing of the guard, there is excitement on One Bills Drive that this new herd can stampede its way back to the top of the AFC East and perhaps win a playoff game for the first time since 1995. However, there is also skepticism surrounding a young team that has to find its way with a potentially superb but largely untested quarterback leading the way.'
Good enough? [6:30 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills, sans The Big Three and 15 players overall from last season's 11-5 playoff club, are relishing the opportunity to disprove the consensus opinion that they've lost too much firepower to remain a Super Bowl contender. They say people are overrating the loss of golden-oldie stars like Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed and underrating their young, talented replacements like Shawn Bryson, Marcellus Wiley and Peerless Price. They say that yes, the team will feature seven new starters, but there are also 15 returnees, forming the nucleus of a defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL and a No. 11 offense that should be much more explosive with Johnson taking over for Doug Flutie.'
Morris rushes into Bills' backfield picture [1:02 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Morris proved he's more than just a reserve blocker in the Bills' 16-12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The fifth-round draft choice from Texas Tech is a viable backup option for the Bills at running back this season. Morris gained 101 yards on 27 carries and caught two passes for 41 yards. He did it mostly against backup performers. But he showed the shiftiness and quickness necessary to be a versatile contributor - one who can fill two roles for the Bills. "That was more carries than I had in any other day of reps in camp," Morris said. "It felt good. I just wanted to run as hard as I could." "Sammy's a talented player who's going to help us this year," coach Wade Phillips said.'
Buffalo targets return to run [7:30 AM]
D and C reports: 'Despite the long ball returning to Buffalo's offense this preseason under quarterback Rob Johnson, don't expect the Bills to stop using the run to set up the pass. "We won't ever be a passing team first. The character of our team is to establish the run and pound it out and throw off that," Johnson said.'
Fumbled punts concern to Bills [7:28 AM]
D and C reports: 'After rookie Avion Black had two muffed punt tries last week against St. Louis, coach Wade Phillips used second-year pro Peerless Price against the Eagles. Price, a feared return man at Tennessee, promptly fumbled his first return that Philadelphia recovered to set up a field goal. Phillips wouldn't say who he'll use against the Titans, but expressed confidence in Price. "I think we can count on him if we need to," he said.'
A major scare for Christie, Bills [4:35 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'If you wondered why Wade Phillips didn't even dress a handful of his starting Buffalo Bills for last night's preseason finale in Philadelphia, all you had to do was watch the final 27 seconds. That's when Steve Christie, after kicking a 33-yard field goal, was accidentally hit in the knee by an Eagles' defender unsuccessfully diving for a block.'
Bills finish preseason with a victory [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The outcome was a triumph for the Bills for a reason more important than the final score. They finished the game without any significant injuries.'
Tickets for games are going fast [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'There are 4,500 tickets remaining for the Buffalo Bills' season opener against Tennessee on Sept. 3 at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the team reported...The Bills are home in Week Two against Green Bay on Sept. 10. A couple thousand tickets are left for that one. They visit the New York Jets in Week Three and then have a bye. They return home on Oct. 1 against AFC East champion Indianapolis. A few thousand tickets remain for that game as well.'
Buffalo Bills Preview [8:24 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Playoff forecast: Fair to good. Buffalo had a quality team last year and should be talented again. If the Bills find leadership and Johnson proves his worth, Buffalo should be in the thick of the playoff hunt.'
Bills outlast Eagles [6:53 AM]
D and C reports: 'Aside from a sprained hand suffered by Antoine Winfield, call it a successful evening for Phillips, and as an added bonus, the Bills defeated the Eagles 16-12. With eight starters -- five on offense, three on defense -- not even in uniform, the Bills' reserves had plenty of opportunities to make one last impression before the final cut is made this weekend.'
Eagles lose, finish 1-3 in preseason [6:40 AM]
Trenton Times reports: 'Buffalo running back Sammy Morris, a fifth-round draft pick out of Texas Tech, carried 27 times for 102 yards and caught two passes for 41 yards. He also scored the game's only touchdown on a 6-yard run.'
Eagles starters were gone in a hurry [6:39 AM]
Trenton Times reports: 'Indeed, if you blinked -- or got caught in traffic -- you most certainly missed McNabb, who was gone after all of four plays -- among them an interception and a sack, along with a 3-yard pass to Torrance Small. You watched one Duce Staley run -- for one yard. For fans forced to shell out an average $50 a pop for their seats for this fiasco, that adds up to $12.50 per play from the starting backfield. What was that line P.T. Barnum said about suckers born?'
Cautious Eagles fall quietly [6:34 AM]
Cherry Hill Courier Post reports: 'On a busy off-the-field night when there were talks of a trade and a starter from last year was re-signed, the biggest and most significant move was made on the field by Andy Reid. It happened when the cautiously correct Eagles' coach wisely took quarterback Donovan McNabb out of the last game of summer with 9:11 left in the first quarter. The second-year quarterback, who can carry the heavy hopes of the franchise on only healthy legs, left the Eagles' preseason finale after just four offensive plays. Some might argue that was four plays too many in an uneventful 16-12 loss to Buffalo at Veterans Stadium. Bills coach Wade Phillips didn't play his starter Rob Johnson a snap.'
Reid shoots down Pederson trade rumor [6:33 AM]
Cherry Hill Courier Post reports: 'Billy Conaty (Camden Catholic) is the backup center. Conaty, who grew up in Pennsauken, is in his fourth year with the Bills out of Virginia Tech.'
Sleepwalking birds [6:30 AM]
The Trentonian reports: 'If there was a hero in the Buffalo Bills 16-12 victory over the Eagles at Veterans Stadium, it was visiting quarterback Alex Van Pelt, who started and played into the fourth quarter of truly a nothing game.'
Pederson to remain an Eagle [6:30 AM]
The Trentonian reports: 'Last night the Eagles started McNabb, but went to Koy Detmer after just two possessions with one interception and one three-yard completion. Detmer promptly went 0-for-4 in three series, one of which didn't net a yard on three pops from the Browns' [sic] 25-yard line, after the Eagles recovered a fumbled punt.'
Eagles Fall to Bills to Finish Preseason [6:25 AM]
Comcast SportsNet reports: 'Special teams miscues cost the Eagles a shot at the win. David Akers accounted for all 12 Eagles points with four field goals but missed a 36-yarder in the final minutes. Allen Rossum followed by fumbling a punt.'
Trade rumors swirl around Pederson [6:21 AM]
Allentown Morning Call reports: 'The game itself fell into the hands of backups. The Bills did not dress starting quarterback Rob Johnson, guard Joe Panos, top wide receiver Eric Moulds and a host of others, including Catasauqua High grad Jonathan Linton.'
Bills cash in on blunders by the Eagles [6:19 AM]
phillyBurbs.com reports: 'Bills rookie fifth-round draft pick Sammy Morris scored the game's only touchdown on a six-yard second-quarter run. He finished with 142 total yards of offense, including 101 rushing yards.'
Mistakes costly to Eagles [6:17 AM]
phillyBurbs.com reports: 'Christie added two more field goals, including a 33-yarder with 27 seconds left. He was injured on the second kick when Allen Rossum hit him low and late and needed to be helped off the field.'
Eagles in a nutshell [6:16 AM]
phillyBurbs.com reports: 'The Eagles finished their four-game preseason with a 16-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills in a battle of second- and third-teamers at the Vet last night. The Eagles managed only four David Akers field goals and were kept out of the end zone by the Bills' scrubs.'
Birds let the Bills end the preseason on top [6:13 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'Both teams were set on getaway mode, clearly more interested in killing three-plus hours and getting on to the regular season than in playing football against each other.'
The Eagles' faithful glimpsing signs of progress [6:12 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'About the most intriguing development at the Eagles' preseason yawn against the visiting Buffalo Bills last night occurred hours before the first snap. A banner was unfurled in a corner once strictly reserved for cynicism and despair. "Big Red Has Restored Competence," it read, and, heralds should note, no one howled. Followers of the Bills might have had trouble with the cryptic message, but surely no fan of the feel-good Eagles could have.'
Special teams yield mixed results, but give much reason for hope [6:10 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'Special teams tasted like a delicacy for the Eagles in the first half of last night's game against the Buffalo Bills at Veterans Stadium. That was not the case, however, in the fourth quarter.'
Reid says no plans to trade Pederson [6:08 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'As expected, Bills coach Wade Phillips didn't play many of his starters. Quarterback Rob Johnson and star wide receiver Eric Moulds remained on the sideline, as did starting tight end Jay Riemersma. Running back Antowain Smith, who is coming off an injury, saw limited action. Defensive end Marcellus Wiley, the man who made Bruce Smith expendable, also played more because he was coming off an injury.'
Getting kicks, little else [6:07 AM]
Philadelphia Daily News reports: 'So the 50,000 or so who stewed in a sticky Veterans Stadium last night saw a lot of Alex Van Pelt, who played a lot as you'd expect Alex Van Halen to play. Football, not the drums.'
Air McNabb should have time to fly [6:05 AM]
Philadelphia Daily News reports: 'On the Eagles first play from scrimmage, Antoine Winfield went deep. Donovan McNabb danced in the pocket, bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet like the prime Muhammad Ali shadow-boxing. The pass was a 55-yard frozen rope. You could have hung Ed Wade's bad trades on it. Antoine Winfield made a pretty diving catch. For the Buffalo Bills, that is.'
First boos, then boot for Doug? [6:03 AM]
Philadelphia Daily News reports: 'Rossum's dive at Christie resulted in only a bruised knee for the kicker.'
Bills 16, Eagles 12 [6:00 AM]
AP reports: '"Hopefully, I showed the coach I can play when given the opportunity and help the team out," said [Sammy] Morris, who also had one catch for 30 yards. "And it hopefully gives the coaches the confidence to give me more opportunities in the future."'
Bills 16, Eagles 12 [5:55 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Rookie Sammy Morris made a strong case at securing a roster spot as the Buffalo Bills earned a 16-12 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the exhibition finale for both teams.'
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