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CAP WOES DECIMATED SPECIAL TEAMS

Despite their obvious struggles, the Buffalo Bills will continue to use young, inexperienced players on special teams.

Coach Wade Phillips said he has no choice.

"They have to play," he said. "I think a lot of them are going to be good, so we've just got to keep going with them."

Phillips said the team has good athletes, but many of them have never played special teams before. The Bills were hurt in this area in the offseason when several veterans left the team either by free agency or the salary cap.

Sean Moran, Manny Martin, Joe Cummings, Marlo Perry, Gabe Northern and Dan Brandenburg were the core of the special teams units last year. Perry was the special teams captain.

"They talk about seven starters (leaving), but what wasn't talked about a lot was the other guys gone, too, and they have to be replaced," Phillips said. "With the salary cap the way it is these days, it has to be young players, at least in our case.

"If you said we were going to play all rookies on offense and all rookies on defense, you would say, 'Well, you guys are crazy.' Well, we're playing all rookies or first- and second-year guys on special teams. That's what we have to do. We think they are good enough, certainly. But it's going to take some time with those guys."
Phillips praised the play of quarterback Rob Johnson, saying Sunday might have been his best game in a Bills uniform.

Johnson completed 21 of 36 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown. His quarterback rating of 100.9 is fourth-best in the NFL.
Linebacker Sam Cowart continues to play at an unbelievable level. The Bills had him making 23 tackles against the Jets.

He has 51 tackles in three games, an average of 17 per game. He's on pace for 272 tackles, which would shatter the franchise record of 206 set by Chris Spielman in 1996.

Cowart had 186 tackles last year, the fifth-highest total in team history.

Wide receiver Eric Moulds wanted the ball, and the Bills have responded. According to the play-by-play from Sunday's game, 16 of Johnson's passes went toward Moulds, who finished with eight catches for 78 yards.

The next closest target was fullback Sammy Morris, who was thrown to five times. Overall, Johnson completed passes to seven of the nine players he threw to.
The Bills will take part in a dedication of a new home for a Buffalo family today at 11 a.m. on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.

It is not known what players will be there, but quarterback Rob Johnson, cornerback Donovan Greer, wide receiver Jeremy McDaniel and offensive tackle Robert Hicks were among those who helped build the home for the family of Lisa Byrd at 33 Gray St..

The Bills were off Monday and today. They resume practice Wednesday and Thursday before taking the rest of the week off.

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