Bills Notebook: Bills look to build on win

Buffalo takes away plenty of positives in win over Chicago, Dominic Rhodes and Chris Kelsay get in a scuffle, Eric Wood continues to impress to Marcus Stroud, Donte Whitner loves the atmosphere at The Ralph and more...

-- Trent Edwards said he thought the Bills played well as a whole in their second preseason game, but that there's definitely room for improvement after watching the film.

"There were a few plays I wish I had back. Just like the first game, this game I had a couple bad sacks that I took," he said. "I told you that after the game that those are on me. I don't want to do that to my offensive line and put them in that position. For the most part, I was happy with the routes the receivers were running. I was very happy with the protection the line was giving both me and Marshawn (Lynch) and the running game. You know our next step is now we need to find the end zone."

-- Marshawn Lynch continues to practice and play in preseason games, but knows that come Sept. 5 he must leave the team for three weeks for his suspension.

"I'm just not going to be able to participate with the guys out there but as far as working out, it still continues for me," he said. "A lot of it will be runs, set up cones down the field and making moves on them, individual work, running, lifting, continuing to do the same things just probably not too many team periods."

--Coach Dick Jauron's training camps aren't known for the practice scuffles, partly because he doesn't grind players into the ground and he makes it known early how distasteful he finds fighting. However, there was a doozy of a brawl on Aug. 12 when Chris Kelsay and Dominic Rhodes got into a fist-swinging scrap that took several teammates to break up. It's believed both players were fined.

"We don't publicize our fines, but if there's a punch thrown on the field we do fine a guy," Jauron said.

"We've talked about it before only because if it happens on Sunday (in a game) we lose the player so we play a man light and it really hurts our football team. We really don't want to practice any way that we're not going to play so it's disappointing in that regard. We all know how competitive these players are and how tired of camp they get and so things like that happen. They ended it fast, they get over it fast, and it's gone."

Rhodes, a free agent from Indianapolis, respects Jauron's view on the matter but said a little roughhousing can also build team morale and team chemistry. "At least we know we've got some scrappers out there," he said.

Frankly, the perennial 7-9 Bills could use more of that attitude. Rhodes and Kelsay shook hands later on.

--Veteran Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud continues to be impressed with rookie guard Eric Wood, one of the Bills first-round picks who will start at right guard as a rookie. Stroud and Wood are seeing plenty of playing time against one another this camp.

"We talk often actually. Eric is going to be a good guy in this league definitely I think," Stroud said. "He is receptive, so he comes and asks me 'If I set you like this, what is your thinking on this?' We talk to each other and hopefully I am helping him. He is a scrappy guy. He gets after it and we have had some good battles this camp."

--A sellout crowd of nearly 70,000 witnessed the Bills preseason home opener against Chicago. Fueling the ticket sales were discounted seats for "Kids" night. Many Bills veterans loved walking into packed Ralph Wilson Stadium, even if it was for a game that didn't count in the standings.

"It's fun, it reminds me of Ohio State in college," safety Donte Whitner said. "When we play in front of our own fans, they do something to us on the football field. That's why home field advantage, home court advantage in all sports is so big ... just from hearing them cheer, especially on third downs and big plays, moments in the game really helps us so I'm excited to be back in front of the fans."

One of Buffalo's goals this season is to get back their home-field karma; it hasn't had a winning home record since 2004.

--Bryan Scott, the Bills hard-hitting strong safety, entertains on and off the field. During training camp, he's been spotted -- and heard -- playing a piano in one of the dorm lounges. He's very good at playing blues, jazz, country, even classical and he's self-taught.

"I just play it by ear," Scott told The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "I tried to read music before, but I don't think that part of my brain works. I never took lessons, I just learned by sitting down and playing."

--For Geoff Hangartner, a free agent from Carolina, the site of the Bills training camp was a nice signing perk. Hangartner's grandparents, Croft and Susan Hangartner, live in Rochester. Croft, retired from Mobil Chemical, is also a member of famed Oak Hill Country Club, about a 3-iron down the road from the Bills training site at St. John Fisher College.

"It's been great being able to spend more time with them," said Geoff, who grew up in Texas. "He's enjoyed coming to practice. He's been out here four or five times a week and it's really nice to have him around."

Teammate Kyle Williams is happy, too. An avid golfer, Williams was invited to play a round at Oak Hill with the Hangartners and shot a very respectable 80 on the championship East Course.

--Bruce Smith, the NFL's career sack leader who was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with owner Ralph Wilson, talked poignantly about the role his parents, Annie Lee and George, played in helping him reach Canton.

"The reason I'm sitting here today is because my parents worked and sacrificed," Smith said during a roundtable discussion with fellow Class of 2009 members Rod Woodson and Randall McDaniel. Smith's mom worked in a plastics factory and his dad, who died in 2000, drove a dump truck for minimum wage.

"Both my parents, they hated what they did for a living but they knew they had a family to feed, they had put a roof over heads and do what's necessary that being responsible parents do," Smith said. "So when I had chance to do something I love, and it's not like going to work, that's when special things happen. I got to do something I love and had a passion for it."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Football is football. It's a little faster, but it's the same game. I like the blocking. It's a legal way to hit a guy and not go to jail. I have no problem blocking." -- Bills rookie TE Shawn Nelson, who scored his first NFL touchdown in Saturday's preseason victory over Chicago.


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