Quarterback Trent Edwards was feeling better Monday after suffering a concussion that knocked him out of the 41-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but the Buffalo Bills wanted to evaluate him more extensively before deciding whether he would be ready for their game against the San Diego Chargers.
The Bills have a bye this week, which gives Edwards nearly two full weeks to recover from the concussion. Bills coach Dick Jauron wouldn't say definitively whether Edwards would be available for the next game, which is Oct. 19 in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Jauron also wouldn't speculate about whether Edwards would practice this week.
"I'm not going to anticipate anything," Jauron said. "We're just going to stay on the protocol. We follow the same thing for any of our players when we're in this situation. That's exactly what we'll do in this case."
Jauron wouldn't even confirm Edwards would undergo more tests or explain the organization's protocol in dealing with head injuries. He deferred questions to trainer Bud Carpenter, whom a spokesman said declined to comment. Basically, there were many questions and very few answers about Edwards' health.
Edwards met with the coaching staff in the Bills' practice facility Monday but left before the locker room was opened to the media. His teammates said he felt better after the game Sunday and again Monday. Regardless, he's expected to have more tests this week that should provide more insight into his health and availability.
"Any time you're dealing with a head-type injury, a concussion, you never know how it's going to shake out," wide receiver Lee Evans said. "We hope the best for him, hope he's getting better. I talked to him, and he seemed to be doing all right, but you have to be careful with these situations."
Edwards was concussed on the third snap Sunday when Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson came off the edge and nailed the Bills' quarterback. Edwards appeared dazed when he was carted into the locker room, where he stayed for the remainder of the game. How long he remains sidelined will depend on the severity of the injury.
"He was alert [Monday], at least," Evans said. "You could talk to him and have a conversation with him. But there's a certain protocol that you have to go through, that you have to pass, before you step out on the field. We'll have to let that process take care of itself."
The National Football League does not have strict guidelines when dealing with concussions, unlike the National Hockey League. In the NHL, players are strongly urged to be symptom-free for seven days before practicing. The NFL has no such time minimums for head injuries but recommends players are asymptomatic before returning to play. The decision is left to medical staffs of each team.
The Bills' medical staff for years has conducted baseline tests before every season. In this case, they would likely compare those tests with results from examinations Edwards had since he suffered the injury. The Bills have asked the league to review the hit by Wilson, who drove Edwards into the turf.
J.P. Losman came off the bench and completed 15 of 21 passes for 220 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown to Evans. The former first-round pick ran for another TD, but he also lost two fumbles, threw an interception and was sacked five times. It could have been partly due to his lack of practice snaps with the first-team offense.
"It's not really the lack of practice time, but more a lack of game-time playing," Losman said. "It took me a while to calm down. After the big play to Lee, I settled down a little bit. Still, I felt the whole day I was rushing a little bit, rushing through my reads. I haven't been under fire like that in a while."
The Bills' problem Sunday wasn't their quarterback so much as slowing down the opposing one and generating a consistent running game. Kurt Warner was efficient in throwing for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bills had just 84 yards rushing, including only 55 yards on 13 carries from Marshawn Lynch.
Edwards' injury will not spark a quarterback debate. Jauron said Monday he would remain the starter whenever he returns. Edwards led the Bills to their best start since the 1992 season and was building a reputation as an intelligent player and one of the better young passers in the league.
On the play in which he was knocked silly, he saw Wilson coming from the right side of the Bills' offense, waited for James Hardy to get open and found the rookie receiver for a 13-yard gain. Edwards connected on his first three attempts before getting drilled.
Losman, for the third time in 38 career games, completed 70 percent of his passes and had more than 200 yards in the same contest. His three turnovers against the Cardinals gave him nine (three fumbles, six INTs) over his last five appearances. In 34 games over the past four seasons, he has 29 INTs, 14 lost fumbles and two safeties.
"This week, I was going to get some reps because it was the bye week," Losman said. "He's been getting most of it, so [the plan said] give him a little rest. I was preparing myself for extra reps this week. As far as the week after that, who knows? It's too early to tell. I haven't heard anything."
The Bills need to determine whether several others would be practicing. Defensive end Aaron Schobel (foot) and safety Ko Simpson (hamstring) did not finish the game.
Jauron said Schobel's foot, which had been nagging him before the game, continued to get worse as the game went along. Simpson's pull was in the upper part of the hamstring rather than the belly of the muscle, a positive sign.
Cornerback Terrence McGee (knee), wide receiver Roscoe Parrish (thumb), and tight end Derek Fine (thumb), who all missed the game, will be evaluated later in the week.
The Bills will hold practice today, Wednesday and Thursday this week before taking the weekend off. They will resume practice Monday in preparation for the Chargers. San Diego plays at home Sunday night against New England.
The Bills gave up 28 first downs to the Cardinals, the most since the 56-10 loss to New England last season. Arizona converted 9 of 15 on third downs Sunday after Buffalo surrendered just 10 of 52 in that situation in the four previous games.
Losman's long touchdown pass to Evans marked the 16th time the two connected for a score, moving them into 10th place on the team's all-time list alongside Drew Bledsoe and Eric Moulds.
Jim Kelly and Andre Reed are atop the list with 65. Kelly takes up six spots among the top 10 touchdown combinations with Pete Metzelaars (22), James Lofton (19), Thurman Thomas (19), Don Beebe (17) and Bill Brooks (17).
Evans and Josh Reed are tied for 10th on the Bills' all-time receptions list with 249. Evans has played 69 games, 62 as a starter. Reed has appeared in 93 games, 40 as a starter.