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Bills to bench QB Losman, start Holcomb

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Oct. 6, 2005) -- Coach Mike Mularkey's secret is out -- receivers Eric Moulds and Lee Evans acknowledged that backup Kelly Holcomb is replacing J.P. Losman as the starting quarterback for Buffalo 's game against Miami on Oct. 9.

Moulds backed the decision, crediting Mularkey for attempting to provide a spark to a sputtering offense that has managed 29 points -- two touchdowns and five field goals -- in the last 14 quarters.

"It takes a good coach to say, 'I'm going to sit the starting quarterback down and be able to go with somebody else and try to get a spark from Kelly,"' Moulds said. "A lot of coaches wouldn't have done it so we respect him and we're going to back him 100 percent."

Moulds' comments came a day after Mularkey declined to say who his starter was, raising speculation that he was ready to bench Losman after four shaky starts.

"The onus is to win now, and because we weren't winning, they thought that they had to make a change," Evans said.

Mularkey declined comment after practice.

The Bills (1-3) have lost three straight, and Losman has struggled in each game.

He is averaging 108 yards passing a game, has completed less than 48 percent of his attempts and has acknowledged he's still hesitant at times in the pocket.

Losman was awarded the starting job in February, replacing veteran Drew Bledsoe, who is now the starter in Dallas.

Holcomb replaced Losman for the final quarter of Buffalo's 19-7 loss to New Orleans on Oct. 2. It was the second time Losman's been pulled for at least one series in the last three games.

Holcomb is a nine-year NFL veteran, who signed with Buffalo as a free agent in March after spending four seasons with Cleveland. He's 5 of 9 for 27 yards passing and lost a fumble in four series replacing Losman.

Moulds, a 10-year veteran, is growing anxious by the team's slow start and worried the Bills might give up on the season at the expense of developing Losman.

"It's tough. I talked to a lot of veteran players, and we want to win now," said Moulds, the only player left on the roster who played in Buffalo's last playoff game in 2000. "For a veteran player, the window's closing for us and we want to try to win now."

Moulds said it's not a knock against Losman.

"I think J.P. knows he's the future here and he knows the situation was the coach's decision," he said. "I talked to him yesterday about it. He's not happy about it, but feels that right now it's the coach's decision and he has to live with it."

"I don't think it's a slap in the face," Evans added. "For right now, maybe they felt he needed to sit and learn a little more and pick it up when he gets the opportunity."

Neither Holcomb nor Losman made themselves available to reporters. Losman hasn't spoken publicly since Oct. 3, when he said he still had the backing of his teammates.

"The biggest thing right now is to stay together," Losman said. "There's going to be a lot of people from outside these walls, trying to pull us apart. And the one thing we can't do is point the finger at each other or anybody else."

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