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Bills Notebook: Slow starts on offense still a problem, injury report looks promising

To say the Buffalo Bills lack offensive rhythm in the first quarter this season is putting it kindly.

More accurately, they look like Elaine dancing on Seinfeld at the start of games.The Bills have managed just six total points in the first quarter through eight games — last in the NFL.

Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was asked Monday about what the problem early in games traces back to.

“Just me looking at more film, I guess,” he said. “I have to go through it. I told the players I feel bad about the way we’ve started in some of the games. I have to watch it four times, as opposed to two. I’ll just keep watching, coming up, and getting all the input I can from all the staff, and getting in a routine, a rhythm early in the games.”

The Bills came out of their bye week with a nice opening drive against Tampa Bay, marching 69 yards for a field goal. They were blanked against Oakland, though, in Week Eight, and then got off to a terrible start last Thursday against the Jets. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was sacked on the first play, pinning the Bills deep in their own territory. That set the tone for field position that never changed the rest of the night.

“Sometimes it’s what the defense has done,” coach Sean McDermott said. “Sometimes it’s really what we’ve done to ourselves and we just got to get into a rhythm a little bit sooner in the game and then after half as well, I would say, too. Something I know Rick and his staff have looked at, just areas that we can improve.”

The Bills might be at full strength Sunday.

None of the team’s injured players are considered more than day to day, according to McDermott, even though rookie receiver Zay Jones (right knee), tight end Charles Clay (knee) and cornerback E.J. Gaines (hamstring) did not practice Monday.

“It’s just a day-to-day type of situation obviously with the knee,” McDermott said of Jones. “So we’ll continue to progress. He’s made some progress already and we’re moving in the right direction.”

Regarding Clay and Gaines, the coach said, “they’re also listed as day to day. Both are progressing as well and we’re hopeful they can make it for this weekend.”

Linebacker Ramon Humber and safety Jordan Poyer, both of whom returned from injury to face the Jets, came through the game in good health.

“The part I loved about it was, when you look at Ramon, Jordan Poyer was out there. They were coming off of being dinged up a little bit,” McDermott said. “They pretty much made it through the game and they wanted to be out there. Then you watch Zay battle through his injury to stay out there. That says a lot about the players and the people in that locker room.”

Left tackle Cordy Glenn did not practice Monday. His status Wednesday when the team returns to work will be one to monitor closely.

The Bills made a change to their practice squad Monday, signing running back Marcus Murphy and releasing offensive lineman Will Pericak.

Murphy, 26, was drafted in the seventh round by the Saints in 2015. In addition to his time in New Orleans, he has also been a member of the Jets’ practice squad and most recently the Colts’ practice squad.

Veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer reported Monday that the Bills hosted five players last Friday for tryouts: wide receiver DeVon Edwards, cornerback Denzel Rice and safeties Dean Marlowe, Chris Prosinski and Tre Sullivan.

Marlowe was with the Panthers and McDermott the past two seasons, while Rice spent time last year with the Houston Texans and Sullivan was with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. Prosinski, meanwhile, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Jaguars who 2011 who has six years of NFL experience. He most recently was with the Chicago Bears, appearing in all 16 games with one start in 2016.

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