Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 9-11

Posted by Chris Brown on September 11, 2009 – 10:31 pm

Couple of days before the opener. Monday night should be electric.

1. Hey Chris,
Since the release of Walker, have the bills attempted to contact Levi Jones?
Thanks, Ryan

CB: To my knowledge at this point (Friday afternoon) no there has not been contact with Levi Jones representatives. Jones has been a popular name among the Bills fan base. But he’s been sticking to an asking price that’s been considered far too high for any NFL team to stomach. Being an injury risk as well doesn’t help his cause.

 

2. What made Ryan Denney more valuable than Copeland Bryan to our team? I’m speaking for dozens of barber shop analysts and bloggers I’ve encountered throughout the offseason, who praised the play of Bryan, and incorrectly assumed he’d contributed more than enough last season and this pre-season to earn a role on the Bills.
Thanks, Grownmango

CB: I think the Copeland Bryan decision was the most difficult on the entire roster. Bryan at age 26 still has some upside and Buffalo has some veteran ends that they chose to keep. That’s never an easy call. The coaching staff obviously felt that Denney, who was coming off a career season in ’08, was a better option as a rotational defender in Buffalo’s scheme.

True, Bryan might be a better pass rusher than Denney, but Denney has the better overall game. He can defend the run, bat down passes and kick inside to tackle in passing situations. I think it was Denney’s versatility that made him the pick for the coaching staff over Bryan.

 

3. Hey Chris,
If the regular season is as exciting with production, as the preseason was with regard to changes, then we’re in for a quite a ride! It really appears that the coaches are gung-ho with this no-huddle offense, so it made perfect sense to replace Walker with a younger more athletic and fit.

Demetrius Bell should be able to keep up with a hurried pace, and who can pull on some sweeps and run various screens without calling for oxygen.

My question is Chris, how has this offensive line fared against our own defensive line in practice? And do you think the defensive coaches and players believe that the new kids can get the job done based on how they’ve performed against Stroud and company?
Die hard Bills fan,
AJ66

CB: Unfortunately during the regular season we’re not allowed to watch the team portions of practice so as to protect game plan formations and plays for that week’s opponent. So we don’t really have an opportunity to watch the newly assembled offensive line against the first team defense or the scout team for that matter. Usually during the regular season the offense goes against the scout team defense more than anything else to prepare for that week’s opponent.

 

4. Hey Chris,

I saw that Buffalo traded Ko Simpson last week to Detroit. What did Buffalo get in exchange for Simpson?
Thanks, Brad D. London, ON

CB: An undisclosed draft pick in 2010. We probably won’t find out what round that pick was in until the draft draws closer in April. Dick Jauron told me that depth at safety is what made Simpson expendable.

5. Why did the Bills release Langston Walker? Seems like a very bizarre move, no?
Matt S.

CB: I think the timing of the move was surprising, but it was complicated by Demetrius Bell’s back injury. This was a move the staff wanted to make a few weeks ago, but once Bell was injured it was put on hold until they knew he’d be ready for the opener.

Walker was released because he failed to meet expectations over on the left side. His less than gung-ho attitude about taking on the challenge of playing on the left side also was a factor in my opinion.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-28

Posted by Chris Brown on August 28, 2009 – 11:34 pm

Here’s the latest installment. Answered a bonus question this week. Slowly but surely catching up on your email here. Askchris@bills.nfl.net.

1. Chris,
we all know that Trent is very good at passing the ball in the intermediate range (15-25 yards) and that bring in T.O. means Buffalo wants to stretch the field.
Do you feel that Trent is ready (in terms of arm strength and nuances like looking off the safteies) to make the deep pass a potent weapon in their attack?
I truly believe that making defenses defend the whole field will give Trent and Buffalo a legitimate chance at winning many more games and having a better season than anyone thought they could.
 
Trent Johnson Rochester’s #1 Bills Fan

CB: This is the number one question regarding Trent’s game. He knows how to run an offense, knows how to make checks at the line of scrimmage and can make all the throws. But does he have the confidence in his own abilities to take more risk downfield?
It’s a step he has to take in his game this year. I think sometimes Trent’s intelligence fights his physical ability. He’s almost too smart and realizes what is and what is not a high percentage throw.

I’m not saying Trent has to be reckless in going downfield. I think it’s fine to play the percentages, but there are good risks that quarterbacks have to take. With receivers like Lee and T.O. that fight for the ball there should be more opportunities to take good risk this season. I’m confident Trent will take more risks this season.

 

2. There’s a chicken/egg debate going on among Bills fans about Roscoe Parrish and his lack of production as an NFL WR.  Some feel he could excel if the coaching staff gave him more opportunities, while others feel they would certainly give him more opportunities if he showed them he could handle it.
Where do you stand on Parrish as a WR?
Josh/ St. Louis, Mo.

CB:  I’m optimistic he will get more opportunities on offense. I think there is enough support on the offensive staff to put together a package of plays in which to take advantage of his best assets. I think this is a good idea. I think used the right way he could be a bigger offensive asset.

 

3. Chris
Will the blue throwbacks be worn at all this season?
 
Pat
(St. Catharines, ON)

CB: Yes, they’ll be worn for the home game against Miami on Nov. 29. The white throwbacks will be worn in the opener at New England and at Tennessee on Nov. 15.

 

4. Hi Chris,
 
Coming out of college as a cornerback, Ko Simpson was regarded as a “ball hawk”. Is there any way the Bills would work him out as a corner if he fails to make it on the team as a safety?
 
Chuck from
Williamsville

CB: I don’t see this happening. The team is pretty deep at cornerback. Simpson is one of those veterans that’s hearing footsteps with Jairus Byrd nipping at his heels. The Bills will likely keep four or five safeties at most. George Wilson and John Wendling are more valuable special teamers. Simpson is a good player, but could be in trouble with respect to the 53-man roster.

 

5. Chris, if the Bills wanted to change to the throwbacks on a full time basis. What is the process the NFL requires to do that???
Thanks Scott, East Syracuse, NY

CB: From what I have been told it involved a league application process that can take up to 18 months. That is what they went through when the created the new uniforms which were unveiled in 2002. I have been told there are no plans to make the retro jerseys their permanent ones. I do agree that the throwbacks are superior in look to the current jerseys. They are really, really sharp.

 

6. Hey Chris,
I was wondering about John Stupar? Where did he come from, I saw that he’s Jeff Hostletler’s nephew, and he seems to be making the high light reel? Is he a potential of making the 53 man roster?

Thank You,
Yasin Gunay
CB: I think he does have a chance. New England signed him as an undrafted rookie. He was on the Bills practice squad last season. He’s been productive in the preseason as an underneath pass catcher and has shown good hands.

With no fullback being used in the no huddle attack, I think that Corey McIntyre’s role is difficult to define offensively and thus could cost him a roster spot. If there’s one less back on the roster it could create an additional opportunity for Stupar to make the 53.

Under Dick Jauron the club has kept only 3 tight ends each of the past 3 years. But if they keep four this season, Stupar will make it.


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Not a whole lot at practice Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2009 – 4:58 pm

The Friday practice before Saturday’s game was more walk through type stuff as the offense and defense worked against sets and looks they’re likely to see in their game against the Bears.

There was some team work, but it did not appear to be full speed. Ko Simpson was back practicing after missing Thursday night’s session. Felton Huggins was also back, so their chances of playing Saturday are somewhat improved.

LB Pat Thomas, LB Ashlee Palmer and WR Steve Johnson along with Terrell Owens are not expected to play.


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Simpson, Huggins participating

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2009 – 3:11 pm

Ko Simpson is back practicing after missing last night’s practice. Felton Huggins is also participating.

Xavier Omon is participating as well.


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Fan Friday 8-14

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2009 – 1:25 pm

Training camp is winding down, with three days left at St. John Fisher after today. Still some time before the regular season however. Let’s see what you’ve got for me this week.

1. Hi Chris,
Do you think one of the reasons the Bills have been reluctant to deal with the strong outside linebacker spot is because they plan on using Maybin there (as well as DE)?
Mark (State College, PA)

CB: I don’t believe that’s the main reason why, but it could be a factor. The Bills defensive staff really likes what they’re getting out of Nic Harris so far in the preseason. I believe he’ll push Keith Ellison, but ultimately experience will win out there. But Maybin I believe will be used as a rush linebacker in addition to getting snaps at defensive end. I think where he lines up will depend a lot on down and distance.

 

2. Hey Chris,
I was lookin at your Q&A regarding safties.  You didn’t mention Ko Simpson.  So you think he will be cut this training camp?  I think
that would be a shocker, considering he is young and his experience.  But I guess I can see, with the addition of Byrd, they may not have
the room. Do you think the Bills may look at trading him?

Shawn Sieracki
Dallas, Texas

CB: I think Ko Simpson is a bubble guy in this camp due mainly to the presence of Byrd. Though he hasn’t set foot on the practice field yet, Byrd was taken in the second round for a reason, to get on the field sooner rather than later. Buffalo did not get a single INT from their safeties last season. That has to change. Byrd had 17 INTs in college in three seasons.

If he shows any kind of promise in the preseason games he plays in and doesn’t look lost, he could be a starter before this season is over. Either way he’s a lock to make the roster.

In all likelihood the team keeps five safeties. Right now here’s my list of who I think they keep. Whitner, Scott, Wilson, Byrd and Wendling. Wilson and Wendling make it because they’re more valuable special teams players than Simpson.

 

3. Chris,
Nice job on the site.  How do you see the O-line situation developing…the situation at guard has been often discussed, but a couple of situations I am interested in is (1) Demetrius Bell – probably not a starter this year, but from what I saw last year it seems like he might have the athletic ability to be a LT – do you see him starting in yr 3 or 4?  Also, what do you see happening at backup center, Brandon Rodd or have somebody like Seth McKinney cover backup at guard and center?

CB: With Bell I think they see him as the heir apparent to Langston Walker, who three years left on his deal counting this season. I believe Bell is left tackle caliber. He’s certainly athletic enough. I think he’ll be the team’s swing tackle this fall.
At center Brandon Rodd has done okay as the backup. You’re right Seth McKinney does have NFL experience there, but he has not seen reps in the pivot thus far. I think he would be an option though. I don’t anticipate them putting Eric Wood in there either, despite the fact that he played there in college.

 

4. Hey Chris, 
 
I’ve noticed in most of your articles dealing about the LB position, you always mention Ellison only having two players to battle with for the starting position, Bowen and Harris. Why isn’t Pat Thomas mentioned at all? Is Thomas battling for a back up position behind Kawika or Poz? If Thomas isn’t being considered to battle with Ellison, do you see him actually making the team?
 
Thanks,
Brian Craig (Walworth, NY)

CB: Pat Thomas is battling for the backup MLB role with Marcus Buggs. It’s been a heated competition with the two of them flip flopping back and forth in the backup role behind Poz. As for Ellison his greatest competition looks like it’s going to be Harris. Bowen has been largely on the weak side in camp.

 

5. Hi Chris,
 
The battle to land a spot on the roster at corner is one that I find most intriguting on the Bills this season. How many corners do you figure will make the roster? Which ones?
 
Thanks,
Anthony

CB: I think the top four or five corners are easy to determine, but do they keep a sixth is the question. McGee, McKelvin, Florence, Youboty and Corner all make the roster as I see it. Then if they decide to keep a sixth I believe it’s Ellis Lankster. Cary Harris and Lydell Sargeant probably go to the practice squad.


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Simpson injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2009 – 1:53 am

Ko Simpson did not participate in practice on Thursday due to an ankle injury.

“His ankle just got sore on him and we thought we’d give him a couple days off and just see where it takes us,” said head coach Dick Jauron.

Jauron did not say whether the ankle would sideline him for Saturday’s preseason game. Taking reps in his place was free safety Antwain Spann.


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Practice non-participants

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2009 – 11:32 pm

Steve Johnson, Felton Huggins, Ko Simpson, Pàt Thomas,Ashlee Palmer, Terrell Owens are all not practicing.

Xavier Omon and Ashton Youboty are doing individual position drills. We’ll see if they do more as practice wears on.


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Simpson on the block?

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2009 – 12:19 pm

According to the National Football Post, the Bills are dropping Ko Simpson’s name in trade discussions with other NFL clubs leading up to the draft.

With Donte Whitner expected to man the starting free safety position this coming season and Bryan Scott at strong safety, it would not be overly surprising if this report proved accurate. Buffalo has capable backups for both positions as well in George Wilson and John Wendling.


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Ko Simpson could have charge erased

Posted by Chris Brown on February 5, 2009 – 2:47 pm

Bills safety Ko Simpson has asked to enter an early intervention program to have the charge of hindering police removed from his record. That according to the Associated Press.

Simpson is expected to be granted entry into the pretrial program because he has a clean record. Hindering police is a misdemeanor.

In all likelihood Simpson will perform 50 hours of community service to have the charge removed. He was initially charged back on New Year’s Day when some of his friends were getting arrested.


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Fan Friday 12-5

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2008 – 6:29 pm

Fan Friday 12-5

Here’s the latest rundown of questions posed by you the fan. You can always e-mail me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I try to answer each and every question, if not personally in this blog. Let’s get rolling.

1. At the end of a game and in critical situations, who makes the offensive play calls? Is it Turk or Jauron?
Thanks, John

CB: I don’t know exactly how it works specifically with Schonert and coach Jauron. In a lot of cases the head coach will have a ‘check with me’ policy in crunch time. A lot of times a head coach will be in a coordinator’s ear where he’ll tell him any number of things from, ‘Run it again’ to ‘you’ve got two downs here because we’ll go for it on fourth down if necessary.’ But head coaches don’t often tell a coordinator what specific play to call. They like to have their coordinator feel like he has he freedom to call the game the way he feels comfortable. Otherwise why did you hire the guy to begin with?

2. Chris
 
I was curious of what direction you think the team will take with the following free agents:
 
Angelo Crowell   (has this ship sailed when the team placed him on IR ?)
Melvin Fowler   (Lost his starting job to Preston, can he handle the big 3-4 NT?)
Duke Preston  (He’s done well the last few games, at the very least a valuable back up)
Jabari Greer   (Has developed into a very good corner, also one we won’t be able to afford)
CB: I would be surprised if Crowell is back in light of how his whole injury situation/surgery decision went down at the beginning of the season. I don’t anticipate him being back because that situation did not appear to go amiably.

Melvin Fowler I think is another player that doesn’t stand a good chance of being re-signed. I think Preston is a possibility, but I believe the team will find quality competition for him at center whether it’s in the draft or in free agency.

As for Greer, I don’t think his contract demands will be up in the stratosphere like Nate Clements were. They might be able to work something out, but if he hits the open market it will be much more difficult.

 

 

3. Hi Chris,
I’m a Bills fan stranded in Phoenix. Anquan Boldin is keeping quiet for now but has not changed his mind about wanting out of AZ. I have dreams of seeing him line up opposite Lee Evans- what a Christmas present that would be !
 
If I were GM I’d offer the Cards a #1 pick plus James Hardy, McCargo (if they are interested), and their choice of Kelsay or Denney. I might even dangle Jabari Greer if he’s not interested in signing an extension w/ the Bills.

AZ has been getting by with journeyman CBs Hood & Green and would like an upgrade- they also need an upgrade over aging and injury prone DE Bertrand Berry.

James Hardy would be a reasonable replacement at WR with Steve Breaston moving into Boldin’s slot.
 
If you don’t think I’m offering enough, keep in mind Boldin wants to get paid what Fitzgerald is making and I don’t think AZ can afford to tie up so much of their salary cap in 2 WRs. And the Bidwells are ALWAYS looking to pinch pennies.
 
What do you think?
 
Pete
Gilbert, AZ

CB: Well there’s no question that you’ve thought this through. Unfortunately the problem that the Cardinals have in keeping Boldin happy ($$$$), is the same problem any other team would have in acquiring him. He’d likely want a new deal for considerably more money and since his career numbers are better than Evans, he’d probably want more than him.
I just don’t seeing that flying in Buffalo. So as much as I like your dream, I think you’re going to have to keep dreaming.

 

 

4. Do you think now that Turk is calling plays from upstairs it will help the Bills offense and maybe get a better view of what defenses are trying to do?”
Mike from Williamsport, PA

CB: That’s what he seems to think after I spoke to him following the Chiefs game outside the locker room. Most coaches say they can more definitively see what is unfolding with respect to defensive coverages or offensive formations depending on which side of the ball the coordinator is in charge of. That should translate into quicker play calls and more effective counter punches. It’s been two weeks and the results have been very different from on the field from one game to the next. We’ll see how things work in the last four games.

 

 

5. Any news on their prospects for Schobel, Whitner and Greer returning?

Also, what are your thoughts on the play of Ko Simpson? On the surface he appears to be soft & late in pass coverage and has looked out of position on several of the long runs the team has given up.

Thanks,
Mike M.

CB: Schobel is not playing this week. He practiced fully according to Dick Jauron on Wednesday and Thursday, but in the brief time we watch practice, he did not look game ready. The good news is he won’t need surgery.

Whitner should play on Sunday (he’s questionable) and Greer (out) is probably a week or so away. As for Ko Simpson I think the organization was expecting he would be making more plays at this point in his career. That’s why Donte Whitner has been steadily transitioned to free safety.


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Lehman should dress today

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2008 – 3:15 pm

Bills newly signed linebacker Teddy Lehman should be dressed for today’s game. He made the trip to New England with the team after signing Friday, and has prior knowledge of Buffalo’s defensive system, having played in a similar scheme in Detroit under Dick Jauron.

Kawika Mitchell should play today despite being questionable with an ankle injury. But the limited depth at linebacker, in terms of players with game experience, will likely have Lehman dressed for the game.

Dressing seven linebackers might seem unlikely, but I would expect Lehman to take the active game day roster spot usually occupied by Donte Whitner. Buffalo will still have four active safeties (Scott, Simpson, Wendling, Whitner), who are all active most Sundays anyway, so plugging Lehman into Whitner’s game day roster spot doesn’t take away from any of the other positions.


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Simpson on the field ahead of Wilson

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2008 – 5:16 pm

Last week George Wilson was on the field in the nickel package. This week Simpson is back in for nickel along with Scott while Whitner goes to cover the slot with Youboty inactive for the game.


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Impressive Miami drive

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2008 – 5:15 pm

They tested McGee early (who had good coverage on Ginn play) and made good use of the Wildcat formation. Two carries for 9 yards.

Bills took McGee off the field and had Greer and Whitner covering the outside receivers with Ko Simpson the free safety when defending the Wildcat formation.


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Whitner at free safety again

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2008 – 8:00 pm

Donte Whitner again took reps at free safety and slot corner this week and indicated he got a lot of work in those two positions Wednesday in practice much the same way he did last week.

“A lot of free today,” said Whitner. “A lot of free. It just gives me an opportunity to make a play on some of those balls and some of those receivers coming across the middle. Just being physical and that’s what I like to do, and helping the corners getting lined up. Ko (Simpson) was out there today and Bryan (Scott) and George (Wilson). We have a variation of guys we can put out on the field.”

I think it appears as though the Bills staff has found a more effective safety combination as they see it. It will be interesting to see, but it looks as though Ko Simpson will not be starting any time soon.

For more on this developing story you can check the home page.


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Simpson sitting served secondary purpose

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2008 – 4:43 pm

With Ko Simpson not seeing much action at all in the secondary Sunday, there were some wondering if his hold on the starting free safety job was tenuous. But head coach Dick Jauron indicated that putting Bryan Scott in the run front and on Antonio Gates was an opponent-specific move and also hinted that Simpson wasn’t quite 100 percent healthy anyway.

“I know Ko was fine with it team-wise,” said Jauron. “And it gave him a little more time to heal up. He practiced last week, but I think it was good for everybody all around.”

Good all the way around because the strategic decision to play Bryan Scott worked well and Simpson got an extra week of rest coming off the hamstring injury.


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Secondary situation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2008 – 6:57 pm

Buffalo’s secondary situation has been mixing and matching. Ko Simpson has not played defensively in this game despite practicing fully through the week.

Donte Whitner has been playing free safety for most of the game with Bryan Scott at SS. Whitner has also played in the slot in nickel packages with Scott at  SS and George Wilson coming in at FS.

Ashton Youboty has not been seen on the field defensively thus far as well as Reggie Corner. Leodis McKelvin has manned the LCB position the whole game. Youboty’s foot injury is probably such that he will only play in an emergency situation.


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Bills official practice report

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2008 – 7:11 pm

Here’s the official report from the team for Wednesday

QB Trent Edwards participated fully on Wednesday and said he’ll start Sunday.

TE Derek Fine participated on a limited basis and is probably a longshot to play Sunday as he continues to recover from thumb surgery.

CB Terrence McGee (knee) did not practice, doing very limited work on the side early in practice.

WR Roscoe Parrish (hand) was listed as a limited participator, but head coach Dick Jauron said that Parrish participated fully Wednesday.

DE Aaron Schobel (foot) did not practice. Head coach Dick Jauron said Schobel’s foot is in the same condition it was leading up to the Arizona game. However, he does expect Schobel’s foot to improve at time goes on and doesn’t anticipate the foot injury to linger.

Schobel called himself “day to day.”

FS Ko Simpson (hamstring) practiced fully and told me that he didn’t pull his hamstring so much as he felt tightness in it. So he’s expected to be a go for Sunday.


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Ko Simpson returned to practice

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2008 – 6:08 pm

Bills FS Ko Simpson who suffered a hamstring injury in the Arizona game over a week ago, returned to practice Monday as well.

Simpson did not practice during the bye week, but his hamstring injury was near the top of the muscle and not the middle of his hamstring, which typically takes more time to heal.

So provided he feels fine when he wakes up Tuesday, Simpson should be good to go in practice on Wednesday, which will also make his status look pretty good for Sunday’s game against San Diego.


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10 Bills not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2008 – 9:30 pm

On what proved to be the last practice of the bye week, again Trent Edwards was not practicing with his teammates. Edwards was not in attendance as he was sent home after reporting to One Bills Drive this morning.

John McCargo is also absent as he tends to a family situation. He’s been excused.

In addition to Edwards and McCargo there were 8 other players not practicing.

They were Roscoe Parrish, Terrence McGee, Ashton Youboty, Ko Simpson, Melvin Fowler, Chris Kelsay, Aaron Schobel and Marcus Stroud.

Dick Jauron then gave the team Thursday off, a day that was originally scheduled to be the final practice of the bye week.

The team has a morning practice on Monday at 9:30am.


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Simpson out with hamstring

Posted by NFL Staff on October 5, 2008 – 6:50 pm

As we had feared Ko Simpson is out for the game with a hamstring injury. George Wilson is in his place.


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