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 LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -Ah, August in the NFL, when a football fan's fancy turns toward thoughts of rookies, especially the ones who look so good in the second halves of otherwise meaningless preseason games.
Alas, such love affairs are often fleeting and quickly forgotten.
``Rookies are fine and dandy and I'm glad to see them progressing, but I don't fall in love with rookies,'' Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. ``Because they will break your heart.''
He wasn't impress with the Redskins' defense in the win over Indianapolis at the Hall of Fame game last weekend.
``Ever smell 3-day-old fish?'' he said. ``It ain't the best. There were some missed tackles. There were some third-down conversions. There was some rushing yardage. There was getting pushed around. There were some snaps where we had people dogtrotting. We did some things we weren't very proud of.
``We were glad to win the ballgame, but by no stretch of the imagination was that a work of art. Their backups just played a little bit worse than our backups.''
As hard as it may be to stomach, more of the same is likely in store Saturday night when the Redskins host the Buffalo Bills. It's the preseason opener for the Bills, and the Redskins are essentially treating it the same way, so both teams will devote a big part of the game to unproven players.
``We will get to see guys under the big lights,'' Buffalo coach Dick Jauron said. ``We will get to see guys we haven't seen at this level, in an NFL exhibition game. It's probably as fast as any game they will ever play, so we get to see the young guys in that situation.''
As for the starters, they'll be making a little more than a token appearance, enough to give Bills fans a first glimpse of a revamped defense that added defensive tackle Marcus Stroud and linebacker Kawika Mitchell and welcomes back middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and free safety Ko Simpson from injury-wrecked seasons.
The game will feature the debut of Bills first-round draft Leodis McKelvin, who is expected to push for a starting cornerback spot, and perhaps the first appearance for second-rounder James Hardy, a receiver who returned to practice Wednesday after missing nearly a week with a sore hamstring.
``I'm looking to try to get back in a game situation,'' Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards said, ``putting on a game jersey, and getting back into the flow of things, seeing a lot of different coverages, a lot of things that we haven't seen yet so far in camp, and a lot of different looks that we have to get used to in the regular season.''
The Redskins will be looking to build on last week's promising start under new coach Jim Zorn. Four quarterbacks combined to go 19-for-22 against the Colts, including 5-for-5 from starter Jason Campbell. Running back Clinton Portis and defensive end Jason Taylor are among several veterans who might be on the field for a few plays after sitting out last week.
``We've got some stuff we want to take the next step toward,'' Zorn said. ``We're not going to reinvent the offense in a week, but we are going to take some steps.''
After that, bring on the reserves. The Bills' long shots will get to make a first impression, while some of the Redskins youngsters who stood out last week - including Chris Horton (two sacks) and Colt Brennan (two touchdown passes) - will try to keep the August magic alive.
``This is their season,'' Zorn said. ``If they're a young guy and they don't have the possibility of beating out that starting receiver or that starting whoever, this is their season. Colt Brennan, hopefully you won't see him again until next (preseason). He's got to gear up for every single game, whereas other guys are just getting primed for the regular season.''

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