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[BN] Blitz newsletter: Bills K Stephen Hauschka still dealing with hip contusion

Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka said he's still dealing with a hip contusion suffered when Jets lineman Henry Anderson blindsided him during their Dec. 9 game.

The injury was serious enough that Hauschka wasn't sure he'd be able to play in last week's game against the Lions.

"(A) big contusion on my hip is going to affect that fine-tuning (needing for kicking)," Hauschka told Vic Carucci. "I definitely notice it, I feel it, but I'm learning to play through it. And I'm going to be fine with it. It’s something that might not clear out until after the season. We'll see."

Hauschka added: "The team's been super supportive and I have a good awareness of my body, of what it can and can't do. Last week was a push to get ready for that game. It wasn't guaranteed I was going to be able to play in that last game."

Hopefully that explains why Sean McDermott punted from the Lions' 36-yard line in the first quarter last week instead of trying a 53-yard field goal. Otherwise, there is no good explanation for what ended up being a 16-yard net punt.

Bills sign QB Matt Barkley to two-year extension: The Bills seem to have found their veteran mentor for Josh Allen. Much like last season's playoff berth, it came in a backward, roundabout way, but it came nonetheless.

Bills Mailbag: Could a Grinch steal Brian Daboll? Interesting thought raised here. Would a team really want Brian Daboll as a head coach after his one season in Buffalo? Probably not, but anything could happen. Here's another interesting thought: Let's say Josh Allen has an incredible sophomore season and other teams want to hire Daboll to be their head coach. Given the way the NFL is trending toward high-powered offenses, wouldn't the Bills at least have to think about promoting Daboll to head coach if that's what it took to keep him? It might sound ridiculous to replace McDermott like that, but there's at least an argument to be made that the franchise needs to do everything in its power to set Allen up for maximum success. Offense is just more important than defense, and if the Allen/Daboll combo lights the league on fire, maybe the Bills ought to keep that combo together. Of course, if this scenario actually happened, the Pegulas could certainly give Daboll a few million reasons to stick around as coordinator. But if Allen lights it up and you're forced to choose one or the other ... it's an interesting idea to kick around.

Scouting Report: Stephon Gilmore ranked as NFL's top cornerback: Remember Stephon Gilmore? Glad his people are finally able to see him play. Anyway, he's still quite good. Another fun idea to ponder is what if the Bills had kept Gilmore after the 2016 season and then stayed at 10th overall and drafted Patrick Mahomes instead of trading back and getting Tre'Davious White? Nothing against White, who's great, but this one's an easy choice.

Bills' undrafted rookies recall phone calls that changed their lives: Robert Foster knew he wasn't going to get drafted, so he didn't even bother watching. When the Bills invited him to training camp, he didn't celebrate. “Celebrate for what?” Foster said. “I didn’t get drafted. It was just another opportunity. I’m really just day by day, man. I kind of just live and continue to work. I’m real simple.”

Vic Carucci’s Take Five: Patriots’ vulnerability feels more legitimate this time: The Bills were within two possessions before Derek Anderson's pick-6 sealed the win for the Patriots in the teams' first meeting this season. With Josh Allen under center, the Bills pose a much bigger threat.

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Picks: Carucci fears he's making a foolish pick, but he's taking the Bills to win. No one else shared that opinion. Jay Skurski and Mark Gaughan, however, like the Bills to cover +13.

X's and O's: The Pats are relying on Tom Brady more than ever, Mark Gaughan wrote: "Brady’s supporting cast is less special than it was in the Super Bowl runs of the past two years. The 41-year-old quarterback will have to be as great as ever in the playoffs to carry New England to a third straight Super Bowl." The play to watch is how the Patriots get the ball to James White in space.

Pressure is impacting Tom Brady more than it has in a while: The idea of how to beat Brady has always been to try to get him off his spot with a successful four-man pass rush. That's especially true this season, when Brady has been "worse against pressure than in recent memory."

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Got feedback on this newsletter or our Bills coverage? Email Josh Barnett at jbarnett@buffnews.com. Find us on Facebook by clicking here and follow @BNBlitzNow on Twitter.

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