The most alarming development in the Bills four practice games this summer is the regression of Trent Edwards, who seems to get worse with each start. In Saturday's 17-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the struggling quarterback was six-for-13 for 31 yards. He did, however, throw his first touchdown pass. Unfortunately it was to Pittsburgh's James Farrior.
I've said repeatedly that I don't put much stock in exhibition games, but you can glean a few things, and it doesn't bode well that Edwards and the Bills first-string offense has mustered only three points in 15 possessions. I'm sorry, but I don't care if you have the Steel Curtain as your defense, you aren't going to win many games with that kind of production.
Against the Steelers, that starting unit accumulated a total of just 56 yards, despite playing one series into the third quarter. The fact Edwards and Co. have gone against very vanilla schemes makes those numbers even more disconcerting. What's going to happen when the games are for real and the Bills are exposed to the flurry of complicated blitz packages opponents will be throwing at them.
Of course, it doesn't help when you are depending on an entirely revamped offensive line, featuring two rookies, a new center and a guy at left tackle who was barely adequate at right tackle.
Perhaps Terrell Owens' return from his toe injury will give the Bills anemic offense a shot of adrenaline, but it's asking an awful lot of a receiver - even one as as talented as TO - to compensate for major inadequacies at the all-important QB position and along the offensive line.
Speaking of Buffalo's O-Line, Tim Graham, a former Buffalo News reporter now working for ESPN.com, reports that the Bills would like to replace left tackle Langston Walker with Demetrius Bell. Bell is the son of NBA great Karl Malone and is an extremely athletic big man who has limited experience. The move has been delayed by Bell's nagging back problems during camp.
One of the few positives from the Steelers game was the play of rookie Aaron Maybin, who had a sack, a hurry and a tackle for a loss on a running play. That's the kind of production the turnover-starved Bills defense could use every game from the former Penn State star.
Don't expect any updates about Tom Brady's shoulder injury from New England's secretive coach Bill Belichick. He's always treated the NFL's injury report as a farce. He listed Brady as probable for every game during the Patriots Super Bowl years, and often included half his roster on the weekly report submitted to the league.
A better source might be Chad Ochocinco, the Bengals prolific pass-catcher and Tweeter. He spoke to Brady after the quarterback took a hard hit the other night and reported on Twitter that the Patriots superstar is sore, but OK. I wonder if control-freak Belichick is going to ask the league to place a gag order on Ochocinco.
Speaking of Ochocinco, he was fined $5,000 for wearing an orange chin strap in a recent Cincinnati exhibition game. He was ticked off and deservedly so. The chin strap actually matched nicely the Bengals orange helmets. I know there has to be uniformity, but sometimes common sense needs to prevail. The NFL does get full of itself at times.
I'm happy to report that my good friend and 19th century base ball teammate, Max Robertson, is out of the hospital and home recuperating from a staph infection in his leg. I think Max may be concerned that he has surpassed me as the slowest runner on the team. When he recovers, we'll have to get out the sun dial and have the guys time us from home to first.