Tonawanda News

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September 12, 2013

Bills Notebook: Panthers present new challenge

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — •••

The Panthers (0-1) experienced their own hard-luck loss on Sunday, holding the Seattle Seahawks to one touchdown but falling 12-7.

While quarterback Cam Newton gets most of the attention, the linebacking trio of Luke Kuechly, Jon Beason and Thomas Davis has opened some eyes after Kuechly stepped in and won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.

“The guys up front, they do well with penetration ... then those backers are so fast and heading downhill, they’ll get you for 2- or 3-yard gains all day,” said center Eric Wood. “That puts a premium on us getting up to the second level, and when you get there, locking on to your guy and not letting them spill off.”

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On the injury front, the Bills practiced without cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and Ron Brooks (foot), kicker Dustin Hopkins (groin), guard Doug Legursky (knee) and receiver Marquise Goodwin (hand). Safety Jairus Byrd (feet) took part in stretches and individual drills but was listed as a limited participant.

Gilmore was on the field stretching with his surgically-repaired wrist in a brace. When the team broke down into positional drills, he was stretched by a trainer and rode a stationary bike. Gilmore said he’ll see a doctor Tuesday before setting a timetable for his return.

Each of the above players except Byrd and Hopkins have already been ruled out of Sunday’s game. The Bills’ coaching staff is waiting on Byrd’s plantar fasciitis to heal, while Hopkins is scheduled to resume kicking later this week.

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Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon visited with WGR Sports Radio 550 Wednesday morning and commented on reports that Byrd, who held out for most of training camp after receiving the franchise tag during the offseason had requested a trade.

“No,” Brandon answered bluntly when asked if Byrd or his agent had made the request. “I know these reports come from all over the place ...but (Byrd)’s been nothing but a professional since he walked into the building.

Brandon added that the Bills planned on negotiating with Byrd again after the season.

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Brandon also said there are around 1,600 tickets remaining for Sunday’s game with the blackout deadline (1 p.m. today) fast approaching.

He said he was confident the Bills would manage to sell the game out, but added that the team had no plans to buy out leftover tickets before today’s deadline.

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