Bills/Browns: Thursday morning MNF primer

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Buffalo Bills (5-4) vs Cleveland Browns (3-6)
Monday, November 17, 8:30PM EST

Listen - I know the Bills have lost four of five.  I know that everyone's concerned about the direction of the team again.  I get that there are folks out there who will feel the need to continue to vent their frustrations until something changes with the Bills.  I just think that if you're not jacked up for Monday Night Football, you're crazy.  If you got pumped for last year's MNF game, in which we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the unbeaten Dallas Cowboys, then you should be borderline crazy for this one.

The news isn't all bad.  The Bills, believe it or not, are getting healthier...


Buffalo Bills - Game Averages

Pts Yrds Pass Rush
Off 22.8 320.8 (24th) 227.0 (12th) 93.8 (28th)
Def 21.1 301.6 (13th) 202.8 (16th) 98.9 (15th)


Cleveland Browns - Game Averages

Pts Yrds Pass Rush
Off 17.8 266.8 (27th) 173.1 (25th) 93.6 (21st)
Def 20.0 348.1 (27th-T) 200.1 (21st) 148.0 (26th)

Injury Updates - Bills getting healthier; Cleveland's not
Buffalo has struggled without several starters over the past few weeks.  Only two of them - DE Aaron Schobel and WR Josh Reed - have yet to return to the practice field, though Reed did some sideline running at Wednesday's practice.

SS Donte Whitner practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and took all of his reps with the first team defense.  It's still not certain whether or not Whitner will be ready to return after just a week off with his separated shoulder, but the fact that he's even on the field is promising.  Don't expect him to practice much Thursday, however, as the Bills strap on the pads for today's workout.

OG Brad Butler participated fully and is set to return to the lineup - though again, that's not a certainty.  He's missed three consecutive games now, and let's face it - he may not be a world-beater, but he's a right sight better than Kirk Chambers, Duke Preston or Jason Whittle inside.

Cleveland, meanwhile, is likely to be without their best offensive lineman, OG Eric Steinbach.  He missed last week's game as well.  NT Shaun Rogers and DE Corey Williams, two key anchors of Cleveland's defense, also missed practice Wednesday, though they are still expected to play.

Edwards putting in extra time
QB Trent Edwards, proprietor of suck the past few weeks, is putting in extra time to tighten up the loose screws in his game...

“I was out there working on my footwork after practice, throwing some extra routes just to get back to what I need to get back to,” Edwards said. “That’s part of the position. It’s my job to perform at a high level at the quarterback [position]. The mechanics are a big reason why you can or can’t perform at a high level.”

No lie, Trent.  Whatever's wrong, fix it fast, sir.

Langston Walker lays it on the line
Bills RT Langston Walker bristled at a reporter who implied that Bills players weren't motivated to turn this ship around...

“Man, I just want to rip into that [question], but I’m not [going to],” Walker said. “We haven’t given up hope. True Buffalo fans haven’t given up hope. True football fanatics haven’t given up hope. People who really know the game, know that we’re not out of the hunt.”

Ten-four, good buddy.  Ten-four.

Uh oh, Bickering Brownies
Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel and two of his players, Josh Cribbs and Jamal Lewis, have different definitions of the word "quit".  No word on what their stance on "is"... is.

MNF coming at the right time?
One benefit to playing on Monday Night this week hasn't really been discussed in these parts - the benefit of an extra day of preparation.  Yes, I know that the Browns have another day or two tacked onto that, considering they played (and lost) a week ago today, but still - an extra day of prep work isn't going to hurt Buffalo.

It may come at the right time, too.  Clearly, the Bills are on a skid, but a win in Cleveland gives them a little momentum heading into a road trip with Kansas City and a home date with San Francisco - two teams with a combined record of 3-15.  Momentum is everything in this league, and MNF could help the Bills grab some heading into the ultra-important second half of the divisional schedule.  I'm not trying to get ahead of myself, clearly - the win has to come first - but the opportunity is there.  Just some food for thought.

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