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Training-camp postcard: Bills

Posted: Wednesday August 9, 2006 5:41PM; Updated: Monday August 28, 2006 1:47PM
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Where's Don?

Postcards From Camp
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo | Aug. 9, 2006

Veteran Kelly Holcomb (10) appears to be losing ground to J.P. Losman (7).
Veteran Kelly Holcomb (10) appears to be losing ground to J.P. Losman (7).

In Pittsford, N.Y., where Buffalo is conducting training camp for a seventh consecutive summer at picturesque St. John Fisher College. Pittsford is an upscale suburb of Rochester and one can drive from downtown Buffalo to Bills camp in fewer than 80 minutes.

Banks Shots

1. We're not expecting Bills head coach Dick Jauron to come out and declare a winner just yet, but the dots are starting to get connected in favor of quarterback J.P. Losman. Losman could still jeopardize his standing with shaky performances in the first two preseason games, but the former first-round pick has turned in mostly solid showings in practice, while veteran Kelly Holcomb has struggled mightily at times.

In a Tuesday night practice, Holcomb was 16 of 22, but threw three ugly interceptions, fumbled once and was sacked twice. Losman was 15-of-23 during the same practice, but did not have a turnover. Losman winning the job is the best good development Buffalo could hope for. The Bills need to find out one way or another this year what they have in him before they can move forward as an organization. Having Holcomb, a 10th-year veteran, as the starter would be applying a band-aid to the  position.

2. It's not going to take long to discover where the Bills fit into the AFC East pecking order. They play at New England, at Miami and home against the Jets in the first three weeks, a killer of a start for a team trying to rebound from last year's 5-11 debacle.

"We can either make a statement real early, or be playing catch-up right away,'' cornerback Nate Clements said.

Road trips to your two toughest divisional opponents in the first two weeks could be the NFL office's way of saying thank you to Bills owner Ralph Wilson for all his support of the league's new CBA agreement. Small-market Buffalo drew nary a prime-time game this season, and every one of its 16 games is a Sunday 1 p.m. kickoff. By comparison, Oakland, which went 4-12 last year, has four night games in 2006. Go figure.

3. Peerless Price left Buffalo in early 2003 as a highly prized and well-compensated free-agent signee of Atlanta's. But after two disappointing seasons with the Falcons and another in Dallas (where he played in more games, seven, than he had catches, six), Price has returned to upstate New York, hoping to fill the No. 3 receiver role behind starters Lee Evans and Josh Reed. But it won't be easy, because Price is one of eight Bills receivers in camp who spent last year on an NFL roster, making it the team's deepest position. Price's reunion with Drew Bledsoe certainly didn't amount to much in Dallas last year, and Buffalo may represent his last chance to resurrect his NFL fortunes.