Bills misjudged Edwards-to-Owens combo

The Buffalo Bills have misread their personnel more than a few times under first-year general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey.

Two of their bigger mistakes were in the spotlight Wednesday, when a flourishing player the Bills dismissed criticized a player they committed to -- but have since dumped.

On a conference call with Bills reporters, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Terrell Owens said he was "shocked at the beginning of the season that Trent was named the starter."

Owens was referring to quarterback Trent Edwards, who took Buffalo's first-team reps through training camp, in each preseason exhibition and the first two regular-season games. Buffalo released Edwards after Week 3.

But when it came to Owens, the Bills acted with conviction, going so far as to send out a press release in February to announce they would not re-sign him, receiver Josh Reed or defensive end Ryan Denney.

Owens' 59 receptions and 834 yards each rank third in the NFL. His seven touchdowns are tied for fifth.

Gailey admitted the Bills guessed wrong about whether Owens had much left to give. He had 55 catches for 829 yards and five touchdowns in his one season with Buffalo. He will turn 37 years old next month.

"There's some point that you do reach the wall," Gailey said. "It's a guess on when guys are going to do that and you have to make assumptions with the information you have at hand. But, obviously, he's kept himself in shape, and he's done a great job doing some good things for them down there.

"We didn't know where [the wall] was. We felt like it was getting close. Obviously, it wasn't, but we felt like it was getting close, and we had some younger receivers that we wanted to develop."

But without Owens on the roster, Steve Johnson has had the chance to emerge. The 2008 seventh-round draft choice leads the Bills with 44 receptions for 591 yards and six touchdowns.