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Practice Notes - Day 12 - Run game emphasized

Posted Aug 11, 2012

After a preseason opener in which the starting offense did not call a single run play, head coach Chan Gailey made the ground game a point of emphasis in practice Saturday night in the team’s return to training camp.

“A lot of people don’t know that we were very vanilla in the game,” said Fred Jackson in reference to last Thursday night. “We didn’t bring a lot so we didn’t do a lot. We came out here today and emphasized a lot of stuff like running the ball, but I think we’re alright. We’re progressing. We’ve got to keep putting together good practices and once we get the groundwork laid out I think we’ll be okay.”

The team periods of 11-on-11 featured several run plays to start before things gave way to the passing game late in practice during red zone work. Gailey even gave indication that there will be a lot more run plays executed in the team’s next preseason game at Minnesota.

“We have not run the ball as much as we wanted to in preseason and we made this week the week we’re going to come back and work on the run game quite a bit,” Gailey said.

Fewer mistakes
For a team that finished fifth in the league for fewest penalties assessed against them in 2011, Chan Gailey was less than pleased with the 14 committed by his team against Washington. After there were a few more penalties in practice Saturday night Gailey reiterated the need to eliminate the mental errors.

“We had three more pre-snap penalties and we’re going to alleviate those,” he said.

“We want to eliminate the penalties,” said Jackson. “I think that’s the number one thing we can take from that game. We’ve got to be sharper than what we were. We’re going to lose a lot of football games if we play like that. It is our first exhibition game and we can’t overreact, but we do need to learn from it.”

One-minute drill
The two-minute drill turned into the one-minute drill Saturday night as the offense starting from 30-yard line had 30 seconds and no timeouts to reach the end zone. The second team offense went against the second team defense first and with nine seconds left on the clock, Vince Young hit T.J. Graham on a post pattern in stride for the touchdown as time expired.

The first team offense didn’t fare quite as well. Ryan Fitzpatrick couldn’t connect with Stevie Johnson on first and second down. After hitting Scott Chandler for a short gain on third down, Fitzpatrick couldn’t hit Johnson again on fourth down ending the drive.

As always you can see the highlights from Saturday night’s practice in our daily Bills Roundup report, which is in the Media Center at Buffalobills.com.

Nelson update
David Nelson battled his way through practice Saturday night, but is still not all the way back from the strained tendon in his knee that he suffered the third day of camp. With the medical staff telling him he can’t make the condition any worse Nelson has resigned himself to working his way through it knowing eventually it will improve.

“Right now it’s hard for me to plant and cut a little bit. It’s the first time I’ve done any movement on it. So it’s the first day,” said Nelson. “I just didn’t have that complete stability in there today. We’re going to continue to work on that. We’re going to get it back strong. I haven’t been able to lift on it or run on it, so we’re going to push through that. And as the days come it’ll get easier. I hope by next Friday I’ll be ready to go.”

Shep, Spence sit out of team
Kelvin Sheppard and Spencer Johnson sat out of team drills Saturday evening. Sheppard is still dealing with an undisclosed medical issue that Gailey insists will be resolved once and for all in time.

Johnson is dealing with a sprained shoulder, but is anticipated back in the next couple of days.

Lineup notes
With Sheppard not taking part in teams reps, first team middle linebacker snaps went to Scott McKillop. The Pitt product has come back from a devastating knee injury to have a pretty effective camp.

“You don’t want to put too much weight on that,” McKillop told Buffalobills.com. “The coaches are giving everybody reps. I was fortunate to get some with the ones, but nothing is set in concrete. It’s just where I was at today and I was trying to take advantage of the opportunity I was given.”

McKillop, who is a former Big East Defensive Player of the Year, was the team’s leading tackler against Washington last week. He had a would be sack during 11-on-11 on Fitzpatrick during his time with the starting unit.

DE Kyle Moore was again rotated in for some reps with the second team defense at left defensive end early in the team drills. Moore is a long-limbed pass rusher, but needs to make his game more well-rounded if he’s going to make the roster.

“He’s done a good job. He’s got to learn to play every aspect of the game. That’s his thing right now,” said Gailey. “Kyle can rush the passer. We’ve got to make sure everything else is in sync with the rest of our football team.”

Cordy Glenn continues to take first team reps at left tackle even with Erik Pears back in the lineup and taking team reps at his starting right tackle position. Previously Pears’ absence forced Chris Hairston to take reps at right tackle, but that is no longer the case. Hairston took second team reps at left tackle Saturday.

Terrence McGee looked to be moving around better in practice Saturday. For the first time he got some team reps in the slot and ran with receivers as well as he has all camp. Whether he’ll be close enough to get some snaps in the Minnesota game this Friday remains to be seen.

Schedule
The Bills have an afternoon practice on Sunday at 3 pm.

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