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HUMBLED HOBERT VOWS TO READ UP ON THE OFFENSE

The Buffalo Bills got good news from Todd Collins Monday and surprising news from Billy Joe Hobert -- he didn't do his homework.

"I'm ashamed of the way I prepared this week," Hobert said Monday, a day after the Bills' 33-6 loss to New England.

"Every week, I've taken pride in knowing the game plan as well as the starter," Hobert said. "This weekend was a joke. . . . This is the first week I can remember where I only looked at the passing plays one or two times.

"I'm probably going to get in trouble for this, but I just didn't study hard enough."

It didn't take long Sunday to figure out the Bills were in trouble after Collins went out with an injured shoulder midway through the first quarter.

Hobert's first pass was well overthrown and intercepted. His third pass was well underthrown and intercepted. The Bills went three plays and out each of his first four series and seven of his first eight drives.

Collins said Monday there is a decent chance he will recover enough to play in Monday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The 26-year-old Hobert, in his fifth NFL season, says he learned a lesson.

"I was definitely humbled," he said. "I am confident enough in myself to believe that, no matter what the situation, I'm going to do well. Unfortunately, it's an overconfidence.

"I don't have enough technical ability to get it done," Hobert said. "I rely on instincts. On the fourth play (on his second series), I was dropping back. There wasn't anybody within 4 yards of me, and I was running backward to throw the ball. I called myself a few words that guys call themselves
when they're being wimps."

Hobert said he has not lost the confidence for which he is perhaps best known.

"I haven't lost confidence because I know I screwed up," he said. "If I had studied hard all week and prepared like I was the starter and played this bad, I'd be like, 'Oh my God, I'm in for a world of hurt.'

"I remember dropping back . . . and saying, 'I know where they're supposed to be. Who am I supposed to hit?' I threw it to (Quinn Early), and one of the safeties batted it down. If I didn't go to him, I would have been lost."

The Bills acquired Hobert from the Oakland Raiders for a third-round draft choice last April and are paying him an average of $750,000 a year. He is the second-highest paid backup in the NFL, behind Chicago's Rick Mirer (at $1.8 million).

Hobert said he's confident the Bills' coaches realize he can play much better.

"I couldn't care less about a backup job," he said. "I care about the starting job. If they didn't move Todd out of the starting position after he had eight turnovers in two games, they're definitely not going to move me out of my spot after one slack performance. I truly believe the coaches know I have more ability than what I showed.

"I'll get my nose in the books and know exactly what's going on. All I have to do is study."

Collins, meanwhile, seemed optimistic about his chances of facing the Colts. The Bills' players have today and Wednesday off and he has an extra day to recover. The Bills were hoping Collins might practice either Thursday or Friday.

Collins said further examination showed his injury was not to the rotator cuff in his left shoulder, but to the biceps tendon, which connects near the left shoulder.

That's much less serious than a dislocated shoulder or a torn rotator cuff.

"Hopefully I'll be able to get some work in on Thursday," Collins said.

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