Bills No. 3 QB Brohm could start after Fitzpatrick misses practice

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- An ankle injury prevented Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from practicing Wednesday, opening the possibility for third-stringer Brian Brohm to make his NFL debut this weekend at Atlanta.

Interim Bills coach Perry Fewell declined to rule out Fitzpatrick, saying the quarterback was feeling better after he was hurt during a 17-10 loss to the New England Patriots last weekend. Fewell did rule out backup Trent Edwards, who also hurt his ankle last weekend and likely will miss the last two games of the season.

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After playing the Falcons (7-7) on Sunday, the Bills (5-9) will host the Indianapolis Colts (14-0) to finish the season.

Brohm spent a majority of practice working with the first-team offense, ahead of Gibran Hamdan, who re-signed with the Bills on Tuesday. Hamdan had spent the previous two-plus seasons with Buffalo before being cut in November after the team signed Brohm off the Green Bay Packers' practice squad.

A 2008 second-round draft pick out of Louisville, Brohm was inactive for all 16 games as a rookie with the Packers. This year, his stock fell further when he was beaten out for the No. 2 spot by Matt Flynn.

That was a big disappointment for a player who put up impressive numbers during a four-year career at Louisville, where he finished 24-9 and set the Big East Conference record with 9,956 career passing yards.

Brohm was excited about the opportunity to play this weekend and make a good first impression on the Bills.

"I think this will be the first time that anybody from the Bills sees me out there in live action, so it's an opportunity to go out there and make a good impression," Brohm said. "I think I need to seize the opportunity and try to make the most out of it."

In practice, Brohm showed he had a strong arm but at times was inconsistent. He zipped passes over the middle to Terrell Owens and tight end Shawn Nelson, but he also had a pass flutter as he under-threw Lee Evans on a comeback route.

It's the most practice time Brohm has received with the Bills after spending the previous five weeks running the scout team.

Fewell previously expressed concern that he didn't want to rush Brohm into action because of his lack of experience and unfamiliarity with the Bills' offense. On Wednesday, Fewell said the Bills have scaled back their offensive plan for Brohm.

"It's a tough challenge. I'm not going to say it's not," Fewell said. "We'll try to do the things that he can do, and he can do well."

Not much has gone right for the Bills' offense, which ranks 30th in the NFL in total yards and passing yards and 28th in points scored. Buffalo hasn't cracked 200 passing yards in nine games. As for total yards, the offense hasn't reached 300 yards 11 times this season.

Evans is taking a wait-and-see approach with Brohm.

"I think it's a great opportunity for him, and we don't know what to expect from him," Evans said. "We're coming out here preparing to win regardless of who is back there. But obviously, with Brian getting his first start, we'll help him along the way."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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