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Poz, Whitner practice with first unit

Posted Oct 14, 2009

For Perry Fewell Wednesday was a good day. Previously devoid of five starters from his opening day defense, Buffalo’s defensive coordinator may just get two of them back this Sunday when the Bills play the Jets in New Jersey.

“That was the only time I smiled was (Tuesday) night after we worked them out and they told me they were going to be able to practice and hopefully be able to play and contribute on Sunday,” said Fewell.

For Fewell Posluszny’s return Sunday, if it happens, would represent a huge boost to Buffalo’s front seven. The Bills just shifted defensive co-captain Kawika Mitchell to middle linebacker last week to fill the void left by Posluszny, only to lose Mitchell to a season-ending knee injury that required surgery.

Fewell was very encouraged by Posluszny’s ability to step right back in and not miss a beat running the defense.

“He looked good,” said Fewell still smiling. “It was good to see him in there. Maybe I was just happy to see the guy. He had an interception in practice. He got the front set and got everybody calmed down. He took command of the defense so it was really, really good to see him back there.”

Joining Posluszny on the starting defense in practice was safety Donte Whitner who has missed the last two games following a thumb injury that required surgery.

“I’m doing pretty well,” Whitner said. “I did some things. I’m just preparing as if I’m playing in the game. I’m very hopeful. I wish I could have played last week. I’m a little hardheaded sometimes and they have to sit me down and calm me down. I’m hopeful every week. This is a thumb and I don’t really need it for the rest of my life, so let’s just tape it up and let’s go.”

Fewell admits Posluszny and Whitner bring a noticeable presence to Buffalo’s defense and it affects everyone on that unit.

“Paul is a captain, his leadership is up front, and he just (has) a calming effect on the whole defense when they know that they can get into the right call and have a chance to play the right call,” said Fewell. “Donte is really the captain of the secondary back there. His experience and knowledge and recognition of what’s happening, those are two big factors for us. Key factors.”

This early in the week head coach Dick Jauron would not say definitively whether either of them would be able to play on Sunday, though he did confirm that both have been medically cleared to play.

“Really good to have them back,” he said. “We’ll have to see where it leads as the week goes on. We put them through extensive drills (Tuesday) and then again in practice. Tomorrow we’ll get a little more extensive with the pads and a little more contact. There’s no full contact in those practices, but we’ll push those two guys a little more in that area, just to make sure to see if they have a chance to maybe perform this week.”

Both players are desperate to get on the field to help a team that has now lost three straight and fallen to 1-4 on the year. But Whitner has his teammates looking at their situation a bit differently.

“We’re only two games out (of first place),” he said. “We can go ahead and run some wins off. I’m confident about that. On both sides of the ball we’re doing some things to change some of the mistakes that we’ve made. I’m not saying the mistakes we make are acceptable. I think they should be fixed and I think this week they will be fixed.

"You’ll see a good team out there. You’ll see guys out there really competing and trying to get a win this week in New York.”