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Top 3 things to know from Day 13 at Bills Camp

Posted Aug 14, 2017

Practice got off to a slow start and head coach Sean McDermott called his players on it. There were also some skirmishes late in practice and a spirited goal line period.


1 - Coach McDermott demands better
Monday’s practice did not look crisp at the outset. During the first team period there were false starts and dropped passes on offense. There was an offsides and a mental error or two on defense. It prompted head coach Sean McDermott to put a stop to practice and call the entire team up to address them.

Coach brought us up and really just kind of grabbed us by the facemasks and gave us a good butt-chewing,” said Richie Incognito. “A lot of guys needed to hear that. A lot of guys at this level are not used to hearing that.”

“We started off kind of slow,” admitted Jerry Hughes. “Some guys were asking for some plays to be repeated and he gave us a very important life lesson. Whenever you put the pads on there are no repeats in life. You’ve got to come out fast and come out ready. We understand that and also know we have to start fast.”

McDermott also told his players that if they want to play like winners they have to practice like winners. After the group went back to their respective sides, LeSean McCoy on the next play caught a pass in the flat and juked a defender and darted upfield.

There was no question the tone of the practice change and there was more focus and improved execution. But toward the end of practice the intensity went a bit too far.

2 - Offense and defense get chatty
There were small signs that some players were close to reaching the boiling point in the middle portions of practice. An extra shove after the play here. A trash talking comment there. Come the 11-on-11 red zone period it led to some pushing and shoving and face-to-face jaw jacking.

Jordan Mills got into it with Shaq Lawson and Ramon Humber. Leonard Johnson gave an extra shove in the back to Zay Jones after the play. Jerry Hughes started yapping at Mike Tolbert and then Tyrod Taylor got involved. Hughes was determined to have the last word and eventually was pulled from the lineup by defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

“It got chippy, it got physical, it got violent,” said Incognito. “We had some live periods in there. You mix in a little bit of Coach McDermott’s speech and a little bit of just being hot and tired, and you kind of get a powder keg getting ready to explode.”

“We exchanged words, but at the end of the day we didn’t want them to score,” Hughes maintained. “I was just excited that they didn’t get in the end zone and firing up our guys. Our second unit has to go out there and I want them to match that same intensity when we play football on the goal line. We don’t give up. We still fight and claw, we scratch to keep them out and hold them to three points.”

Veteran Lorenzo Alexander, Incognito and Marcell Dareus were among the peace makers out on the field when skirmishes surfaced.

“There’s a very thin line in this game and we’re all alpha males and playing at a high level,” said Alexander. “There’s a fine line between being tough and being a liability. I love Jerry’s passion and the way he plays the game. I talked to him about making sure when one of us comes up to you and tries to calm you down, because I don’t want to stop him because that’s what makes him great, but just come back to us and let’s go to the next play and be you again in between the whistles.”

After practice the players say that no bitter feelings go beyond the playing field.

Coach McDermott again called the team up after practice and reminded them of the line between intense, physical play and dumb football that hurts your team. Finding that line might prove to be harder for some players than others. But Alexander believes what happened in practice could help when they get to games.

“It’s a great learning experience,” said Alexander. “You want to have it now and not in the game where it costs you points, a game or a player who is ejected and maybe suspended for the next game. So it’s great for guys to see themselves on film and correct it. And then when it happens in the game we react better.”

Goal line
The practice finished with a live, tackle to the ground goal line period. From the two-yard line, the offense struggled to reach the end zone.

Leonard Johnson, who had perhaps his best day on the field in camp, broke up a play action pass intended for Andre Holmes. On the next play Mike Tolbert was stopped shy of the goal line by Johnson and Jerry Hughes.

Jonathan Williams finally crossed the goal line for the offense on the third play. The offense celebrated when they thought Tolbert got in on a carry up the middle, but his knee was down before he broke the plane of the goal line.

The next play went incomplete as Nate Peterman was flushed from the pocket, but Williams reached the end zone a second time on the final play of the series.

Bonus notes
Kevon Seymour returned to practice on a limited basis and started at right cornerback with the first unit.

Adolphus Washington saw his practice day cut short due to back spasms.

Shareece Wright’s thumb injury is just a sprain.

Charles Clay was given a maintenance day off.

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