“For a quarterback and his receiver to connect like that is a great feeling,” said Johnson after practice. “I can sleep good and not have to worry about what happened on the field even though there were things that maybe the fans couldn’t see that I’ll be thinking about trying to get better on. It was a great day for everybody I feel.”
Fitzpatrick made it clear that getting Johnson involved right away was at the top of his priority list earlier in the day following the morning walk-through.
“The biggest difference for me is (Stevie Johnson) is going to be on the field here at training camp,” said Fitzpatrick. “He was not on the field for some of the spring stuff. I want to get him going a little bit to get that chemistry back on the field.”
“Fitz just said he was going to test me and I was ready for it,” said Johnson. “I told him I’m good and he asked me if I’m good three or four times after that. And he said, ‘Okay I’m going to test you.’ And I was ready for it. The defense did a good job at competing with us and we made plays on them.”
Certainly an encouraging sign for the team’s top passing tandem.
Rehab returnees limited
Three Bills are trying to return from offseason surgeries and lengthy rehabilitations.
“He struggled through today,” said head coach Chan Gailey of Troup. “He looked good (Wednesday) in the conditioning part of it. He struggled today. He’s probably going to be one of those that we watch as time goes on.”
Troup had two vertebrae fused in his lower back. Gailey initially felt he was the furthest ahead of the three, but Thursday afternoon he didn’t sound quite as sure.
Wood is not scheduled to participate in any team portions of practice until next Tuesday at the earliest. Gailey said they’re committed to an approach that is not going to push the envelope on their starting center.
McGee did more work in practice and participated on a limited basis in the team portions of practice. It was clear however, that the surgically repaired patellar tendon was weighing heavily on his mind during the practice.
“I’m not (concerned),” said Gailey. “The trainers tell me he’s good. He tells me he’s good. I don’t think he’s 100 percent, but he’s recovering and we’re going to take our time with him. As I told him our objective with him is September 9th, not now, today or tomorrow.”
To watch the most notable highlights from Thursday’s practice go to the Media Center at Buffalobills.com.
Buffalo’s head coach cautioned not to read anything into who lined up where on the first day of practice, but make what you will of the lineups on Thursday.
Starting opposite Stevie Johnson at the other outside receiver position was
Stephon Gilmore saw a lot of action Thursday as Stevie Johnson was often lined up on his side. Gilmore had tight coverage throughout most of the practice session, but Johnson still made plays. The Bills top pick was his typical physical self sometimes knocking Johnson around a bit more than is typically seen in practice, but the Bills top wideout sees a benefit in that.
“It goes both ways because it’s getting us ready so I don’t have a problem with it until somebody gets hurt,” said Johnson who was taken to the ground a couple of times. “But I love his aggressiveness. I think he’s going to be a great one like I’ve already said. He’s getting me ready for the season. I love going up against him and I’m pretty sure he enjoys the competition with me going against him.”
Keep an eye on
Mark Anderson – the veteran defensive end lulls offensive tackles to sleep and then deploys a lightning quick move with his hands and he’s suddenly around the tackle and into the backfield. He was successful with his hesitation move more than once on Thursday.
Da’Norris Searcy – Much like Moats, it looks like the defensive staff is trying to create a role for the second-year safety on defense. He also got a few reps with the first unit here and there.
The Bills have a 3 pm practice on Friday.
First day of full practice!!! 2012 Bills season is finally here!!!!!! #BillsCamp— Douglas Meade (@emtdoog) July 26, 2012