Owens misses practice
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Trent Edwards is back as the Buffalo Bills starter, though he might be missing his top threat after Terrell Owens missed practice Wednesday because of a strained hip.
Coach Dick Jauron said Owens’ hip began bothering him during the team’s day off on Tuesday, and he noted that the receiver was feeling “very uncomfortable” when he arrived for meetings on Wednesday. It’s unclear how Owens was hurt, because he practiced on Monday after the team returned from a four-day break following its bye.
Jauron was unsure whether Owens would be able to practice as the Bills (3-5) prepare to play at the Titans (2-6) on Sunday.
“We’re kind of hoping it goes away as quickly as it came,” Jauron said. “We really won’t know any more until tomorrow.”
Owens declined to speak to reporters when he made a brief appearance in the locker room after practice. He’s not missed a game this season since signing a one-year deal with the Bills in March, but he did miss Buffalo’s final four preseason games because of an injured toe.
One of the NFL’s most prolific receivers, Owens has failed to provide a spark to what’s been a sputtering offense, which ranks among the NFL’s worst. With 23 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns, including one rushing, Owens’ numbers for the first half of the season are his lowest since 1996, his rookie year in San Francisco.
His injury overshadowed other developments as the Bills attempt to make a second-half push to climb back into contention.
Jauron announced Edwards will start against the Titans, having reclaimed his job after missing two games with a concussion. Second-year receiver James Hardy’s comeback is complete after he was activated from the reserve/physically-unable-to-perfom list 11 months since tearing a ligament in his left knee.
In switching quarterbacks, Jauron said Edwards “earned the right” to start after the offense continued to struggle under backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who took over after Edwards was hurt in a 16-13 overtime win at the New York Jets on Oct. 18.
Fitzpatrick rallied the Bills to beat the Jets, and then went 1-1 in two starts, but the offense failed to generate much of an attack in a 20-9 win at Carolina followed by a 31-10 loss to Houston two weeks ago. In those two games, the offense generated a combined 371 yards and 18 first downs.
“Certainly, if you had an offense that scored 40 points a game, I don’t know that you’d start fooling with it,” Jauron said. “But all that being said, that’s not what happened.”
Though the offense has struggled no matter who has started, Jauron noted that Edwards showed signs of improvement before he was hurt, and after the Bills had scrapped their no-huddle attack.
Edwards is eager to play after having spent the past two weeks practicing.
Having a chance to watch tape of his first six games, Edwards noticed he was having trouble with his accuracy, footwork and was inconsistent reading opposing defenses.
“Those things can kind of get out of whack when you start losing football games,” Edwards said.
He particularly struggled in the three games before he was hurt, a stretch in which he went 50 of 92 for 500 yards with a touchdown and five interceptions.
Hardy was eager to return, too, but it’s unclear how he’ll fit in on a team that’s carrying seven receivers.
“I feel great. This is the best I’ve ever felt, period,” said Hardy, who was cleared after spending the past three weeks practicing with the team. “It’s been a long process but I’m glad it’s over. Now I’m just ready to get back on this field.”
A second-round draft pick out of Indiana last year, Hardy has been out since tearing a ligament in his left knee in a 31-27 loss to the Jets in December. He finished with nine catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games.
To make room on their roster, the Bills waived third-string running back Xavier Omon, a sixth-round draft pick last year.
NOTES: S Donte Whitner, who’s missed two games with an ankle injury, isn’t sure whether he’ll be ready to return this weekend. … DE Aaron Schobel continues to miss practice since hurting his groin against Houston. … Other starters missing practice were CB Terrence McGee (knee surgery), LB Keith Ellison (quadriceps) and DT Kyle Williams (right knee).