The Bills will be anxious to put the performance in their preseason opener last week behind them with an improved outing against the Colts Thursday night in Toronto (Kickoff 7:30 pm). After a game in which there were big plays surrendered, pre-snap penalties and turnovers Buffalo's head coach wants tighter execution.
"We're still in the process of crawling before you walk, walk before you run," said Chan Gailey. "We're still in the crawl-walk stage of installation and putting in what we're trying to get done here. It's a process, it's not going to happen (quickly). And if you think that in the first game, you're going to go out there and look like a million bucks, no (you're not going to).
"There were some positives to take out of the first game so I'm looking forward to seeing if we can take the next step. That's the goal, to take the next step."
Playing timeBuffalo's starters on offense and defense are expected to see slightly more time than they did in the first preseason game, which in many cases was a quarter and a half. Expected to see the most work is top draft pick C.J. Spiller.
With top backs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch out with injuries, Spiller will get the lion's share of the work out of Buffalo's backfield Thursday night.
"It is what it is. You can't control that," Gailey said. "I hate it happening to both of them for their sake and for our team's sake. It's an opportunity for someone else to show what they can do, and it gives a great opportunity to take a good look at C.J. He missed some camp anyway so this is a way for him to get some extra reps."
Spiller maintains he's ready to take on a greater rushing load.
"I just have to be ready with however many reps that I'm getting. It doesn't matter to me if I have to play the whole game I will," Spiller said. "It's football. It's what I love to do. I haven't talked to them about how many (reps) I'm going to take. I've just got to prepare myself as if I'll play the whole game."
Spiller will be followed in the running back rotation by Chad Simpson, Joique Bell and newcomer Andre Anderson, who signed on Monday.
QB rotationIn the first preseason game Ryan Fitzpatrick was the first quarterback in after Trent Edwards' night was over against Washington, while Brian Brohm did not make an appearance. Again Indianapolis Thursday night, Brohm will be the first quarterback in after Edwards.
"Trent will start and then we'll put Brian Brohm in the game and then if there's some snaps left, Levi Brown will play," said Gailey. "Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) won't play in this one. He played last week and Brian didn't play. And we thought, instead of trying to get Fitzpatrick a few plays, Brohm a few plays, Levi Brown a few plays, it was better to just sit one and let the other two guys play and see where it goes from there. And let a guy have an extended playing time on the field."
"It's going to be fun to get out there and get on the field in live action," said Brohm. "It's going to be my first game action of the year, so it's always good to get out there and get that first throw under your belt and hopefully be able to get in a good rhythm and hopefully execute all the things we've been practicing."
Lineup changesThursday night could be the first time this preseason that the projected starting offensive line takes the field as one unit. Left tackle Demetrius Bell and right guard Eric Wood are expected to see their first live action coming off lengthy knee and leg rehabilitations in the offseason.
"I probably will (play)," said Wood. "I'd imagine I'll get some playing time this week. I don't know how much it'll be and you know we're still just taking it slow. We've got a lot of time before Miami. We'll do what's necessary this week. I'm excited to get back out on the field and play against somebody with a different jersey. It may not be too much, it may be a bunch. I'm up for whatever and I'll let coach make that decision."
Right tackle Cornell Green is the only question mark heading into the game. He returned to practice on Monday after suffering a right knee injury the week before, but Gailey said he'll be a game day decision.
Buffalo may also have a few veterans on the defensive side of the ball back in the lineup even if it is only for a handful of plays.
"That is the plan," said Gailey. "(Paul) Posluszny, maybe (Chris) Kelsay will all get in for some snaps. I don't know how many right now, but I think they'll get in for some snaps."
"I'm cool with that," said Posluszny. "That'd be great because I feel good and I think the more experience I can get in the preseason the better. I need to be in the action and get live reps, so the more the better. I'm definitely ready to go. If they let me play I'll play."
Also expected to be back in the lineup on defense is linebacker Keith Ellison and defensive end Spencer Johnson. Not expected to play are receivers James Hardy and David Nelson, who are both dealing with injuries. Jairus Byrd's status has not yet been determined after he missed Tuesday's practice due to what Gailey termed a physical "complication."
The opponentThe Indianapolis Colts are also coming off a loss in their first preseason contest as turnovers cost them in a 37-17 loss to San Francisco. Colts backup quarterback Curtis Painter was at the heart of the turnover problem with three interceptions and a lost fumble on an exchange with RB Mike Hart.
Peyton Manning did play the first two offensive series for the Colts and was sharp going 8-10 passing for 91 yards with Indianapolis scoring a field goal and touchdown on those first two possessions.
The Colts run defense had trouble slowing down 49ers rookie Anthony Dixon, who plowed his way to 100 yards on 21 carries (4.8 avg.). He also had a touchdown.
It's anticipated that the Indianapolis starters will only play a couple of series at the most against the Bills Thursday night.
Much like the Bills patchwork offensive line through the course of camp, the Colts have also dealt with injured players up front. Starting LT Charlie Johnson (foot) and starting center Jeff Saturday (knee scope) did not play last Sunday in the team's preseason opener. Starting TE Dallas Clark, starting WR Pierre Garcon and starting DE Dwight Freeney also did not play against the 49ers last weekend.
For Thursday night's game the status of starting right guard Kyle DeVan is up in the air as he has a hamstring injury. Left guard Jaimie Thomas is also questionable (foot).
Indianapolis will be without reserve safety and special teams ace Jamie Silva, who suffered a torn ACL in the preseason opener.
The last timeThe Bills put a damper on the grand opening of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as their five takeaways helped Buffalo post a 20-7 victory over the Colts in their first game at their new stadium on Aug. 24, 2008.
The Colts started Jared Lorenzen at quarterback as Peyton Manning was recovering from knee surgery and backup Jim Sorgi was a late scratch. Meanwhile the Bills started J.P. Losman in place of an injured Trent Edwards, but it was the turnovers that put Buffalo in a position to win.
After the offense put 10 points on the board, including an impressive 18-play 93-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard Xavier Omon touchdown run, Terrence McGee scooped up a fumble by Joseph Addai and sprinted 68 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead at the half.
Reggie Corner, Keith Ellison, John Wendling and Ashton Youboty all posted interceptions in the victory as the Bills dominated time of possession holding onto the ball for almost 43 minutes.