Niagara Gazette


August 28, 2008

BILLS/LIONS NOTEBOOK: Starters take the night off

Lockport and North Tonawanda youth football players take the stage at halftime.

ORCHARD PARK — “It was obviously a game we would have liked to have won.”

That’s how Dick Jauron started his post-game press conference Thursday, though evidence would suggest otherwise. Even Marv Levy would be hard-pressed to approach a preseason game more cautiously than the Bills did against the Detroit Lions.

Levy, the Bills’ legendary coach during the team’s Super Bowl years, was famous for his disdain of preseason games. But it’s tough to recall a time in which he held out 21 of 22 expected starters, which is what Jauron did Thursday in a 14-6 loss to the Lions at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Free safety Ko Simpson, who missed nearly all of last season with an ankle injury, was the lone player to start Thursday who’s also expected to be in the starting lineup Sept. 7 for the home opener against Seattle.

It should be noted season-ticket holders pay full price for preseason games.

Jauron said it was a need to evaluate young players, and not a fear of injury, that was the primary reason for having the starters take a seat.

“(We) just look at our own situation, what we need to get done and what we need to see, then go from there,” the coach said. “Tonight had an impact on a lot of spots (on the roster.) We’re going to sit down and talk about the roster after we take a long look at the tape.”

As expected, starting quarterback Trent Edwards and left tackle Langston Walker skipped the contest. Third-string quarterback Gibran Hamdan took nearly all the snaps before leaving in the fourth quarter with a concussion.

Backup J.P. Losman finished the game, but didn’t attempt a pass.

With most of the starters out, plenty of reserves got a final chance to show they belong on the 53-man roster. Orchard Park native Jon Corto started at weak-side linebacker. Corto, who moved to linebacker from safety earlier in training camp, suffered a concussion during the game.

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