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Dusting off the K-Gun offense isn't the answer

Question: Due to the night-and-day performance of J.P. Losman when under center versus running the no-huddle, why wouldn't Tom Clements want to institute a version of the 'K-Gun' offense? . . . . One of J.P.'s problems is telegraphing who he is intending the pass to go to by locking on to only one receiver and not going through his progressions. Your thoughts? -- Brett Oakleaf, Denver.

Answer: Every year since '97, I've gotten e-mails about going back to the K-Gun offense. That's not what the Bills need right now. The reason? It's too great a burden on the defense. The Bills' blueprint calls for playing to the strength of the defense and the special teams. You want the offense on the field and the defense rested. You want to get a lead, then run the ball. If you're going to run the ho-huddle consistently, you better be scoring at least 25 points a game, and preferably 28 a game, because your defense is going to give up points. The Bills do not have that kind of offense. The Super Bowls proved, to a degree, that the no-huddle can become a problem against great defenses.

You are correct that Losman is comfortable in the shotgun. And the Bills have used the no-huddle selectively. They did it in going from first to second down several series in Tampa and later in the game, too. I think the Bills see it as a change-of-pace, get-some-rhythm-going tactic. As for looking off receivers, let's see how it goes. Losman has done it on occasion, like on the long pass to Lee Evans vs. Houston. Obviously he will get better at it with time.

Q: If a player is hurt and placed on injured reserve, does he still receive his entire salary and does it count against the cap? -- Paul Liberatore, Rochester.

A: Yes and yes. Sometimes, as with Travis Brown last year, the team will reach an injury settlement with a player, paying part of his salary and then terminating his contract.

Q: Now that Patrick Ramsey has been replaced as starter by Mark Brunell, what do you think his future looks like in the league? Do you think he can be an effective starter somewhere? And didn't the Bills like Ramsey a lot coming out of Tulane? -- Michael Holohan, Gaithersburg, Md.

A: Despite Washington's win Monday night, I think the 'Skins were too quick to pull Ramsey. Scouts I talk to think Brunell doesn't have much left. I don't think he will have a good year. Ramsey has made 24 career starts but never has started more than 10 straight games. I think he could be an effective starter but he's going to have to find the right fit next offseason. It's doubtful anyone will hand him a No 1 job. He's going to have to be patient and wait for an injury to give him his next shot as a starter. Bills scouts did like Ramsey coming out of college, although not as much as they liked J.P. Losman in 2004.

Q: Why do kickers squeeze the ball before a kickoff? Is it a ritual? Are they checking the ball's air pressure? James Ziolkowski, Buffalo.

A: The kickers use what are called "K-balls," which are new for every game. They're harder and more slippery than a ball that has been used for even a couple of days. The NFL implemented the K-ball for kicking plays in '99 to prevent teams from tampering with balls by softening them up and making them easier to kick. An older, softer ball goes farther because it compresses more on impact with the foot. There are 12 new K-balls in the officials' bag at the start of every game.

"You take a brand new ball and it's just real hard," said Bills kicker Rian Lindell. "You try to work them in a little, kind of like a glove, try to get the bladder inside to be a little more elastic."

"A new ball tends to be a little square," said Bills punter Brian Moorman. "If you can get the seams to break a little it makes it a little easier to kick."

Bills beat reporter Mark Gaughan answers your football questions every Friday. Send your e-mails to mgaughan@buffnews.com or mail to Question Mark, The Buffalo News Sports Department, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240.

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