Bills get their first taste of blood

After the drastic changes made to the impotent 2002 Buffalo Bills defense , Buffalo Bills fans were ready for a show. A crowd of 37,818 strong filed into Cleveland Browns Stadium to watch the Buffalo Bills battle the Cleveland Browns in a controlled scrimmage.

The rules were simple, each team received five series on offense to successfully run 10 plays, starting from their own 30 yard-line. The object being to score a touchdown. If not successful they get three plays from the 20 yard line - then three plays from the two.

The Cleveland Browns started with Quarterback Tim Couch, and the first team offense. Their first series was ridded with problems from the beginning, including many incompleted passes. After striking out with their first 10 offensive plays, the Browns tried their luck from the 20, and then from the goal line, with Buffalo's revamped first team defense keeping them out in every instance.

Drew Bledsoe then took the helm for the Bills first turn on offense on a nice drive that teached the 7 yard line and included strikes to Bobby Shaw (1 reception for 17 yards) and Josh Reed (1 reception for 10 yards). On the nine yard line, Eric Moulds was running a slant in pattern but Bledsoe threw the ball too strong and slightly behind him over his right shoulder, and Cleveland Brown cornerback Anthony Henry picked it off and ran it back nearly 20 yards. The first team offense regrouped at the 30 yard line, but was not able to score in three plays.

Backup quarterbacks Jason Johnson and Travis Brown looked very sluggish today and just didn't have any rhythm. Running back Joe Burns ran hard and looked impressive.

The Buffalo Bills defense showed their drastic improvement with three forced fumbles, a seven yard sack by Ryan Denney, and a four yard stuff of James Jackson by Ron Edwards. Nate Clements drilled Browns WR Kevin Johnson on their first possesion. Marcus Jones saw a lot of work with the second team and showed some explosive speed. Returning middle linebacker Brandon Spoon shows no ill effects from his bicep injury and looked like his old self by executing some good tackles and stuffing the run on a few occasions.

On the second offensive possession, the Browns put in QB Kelly Holcomb, who is in a QB battle against Couch to win the starting job. Holcomb struggled at times and the Bills ended up with two forced fumbles by veteran linebacker London Fletcher, who recovered one himself. The other was recovered by Buffalo Bills defensive back Kevin Thomas.

Edwards also played with the second defensive unit which took on the Brown's 1st offense and put in a very strong effort. He showed some good skills at stopping the run. Linebackers London Fletcher and Jeff Posey showed great teamwork and seemed to be in the thick of things in nearly every run play. Star offseason acquistionTakeo Spikes also played well, putting the heat on Browns QB's several times on blitzs with LB Posey.

The defense registered six sacks overall, two each for DEs Denney and Grant Irons. LB Dominque Stevenson also caused a fumble in addition to the two forced by Flecther.

The Bills have the day off tomorow but will practice Monday night at St. John Fishers under the lights and under the eyes of a sellout crowd for the second time. The practice will start at 6:30pm and can be attended only with a ticket.

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