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Minicamp - Day 1 - 'D' makes plays, youngsters get reps

Posted Jun 4, 2010

Lynch at One Bills Drive this week
The Bills have confirmed that RB Marshawn Lynch was at One Bills Drive earlier this week.

The team verified that Lynch was at the team's training facility on Wednesday and Thursday and worked out in the team's weight room.

Bills safety Donte Whitner was the first to mention that he spotted Lynch at the team’s facility on Wednesday, but isn’t sure when he might see him out on the practice field.

“I don’t know when to expect to see him,” Whitner said. “I saw him two days ago. Other than that I really haven’t seen him.”

'D' makes plays
It’s been back and forth between the offense and defense during spring workouts. One side of the ball gains the upper hand in one practice and the following day the advantage flips. That trend continued on Friday. A day after the offense had perhaps its sharpest day passing, the defense had a good number of plays on the ball forcing incompletions while also getting a few takeaways.

Ellis Lankster had perhaps the most impressive takeaway on the day. The second-year cornerback completely laid out and was parallel to the ground when he made an interception on a pass intended for rookie David Nelson.

Second-year safety Cary Harris had a pass break up when he stripped the ball away from Roscoe Parrish to prevent a completion over the middle.

Drayton Florence batted a pass high in the air on a blitz, which was almost intercepted by Chris Kelsay in the first play of 11-on-11.

Reggie Corner had a diving effort to pull in an interception on the far sideline three plays later.

And rookie Stephan Virgil had three plays on the ball of his own (see below).

"We like to be around the ball and making plays," said Corner. "It's all about being competitive out there on the practice field and we know they're pros on the other side of the ball so they're going to make their plays. We just want to make our share on defense."

Rookies show well
The limited nature of some veteran players due to ongoing rehab or minor injury afforded some of Buffalo’s younger players to get more snaps on the first day of the team’s voluntary minicamp Friday. There were also a couple of vets absent at the skill positions giving some rookies a chance to shine.

On offense fourth-round pick Marcus Easley had his second long touchdown catch in as many days as he’s shown a knack for getting behind defenders.

“Our coach tells us the number one responsibility for wide receivers is to beat the man, so inside, outside release, whatever the case might be,” Easley told Buffalobills.com. “On that play I took an inside release and ended up getting the defender stacked and just tried to catch the ball while I was in the air.”

After the touchdown play with Edwards, Easley again beat his man deep, but the pass was Ryan Fitzpatrick was just out of his grasp.

“I had my fingertips on it, but I couldn’t squeeze it like I wanted to,” Easley said. “Still no excuses I was wide open, the ball hit my hands, I’ve got to come down with it.”

Defensively, another rookie made his presence felt. Undrafted free agent Stephan Virgil made a few plays on the ball. With three of the top six cornerbacks sidelined, Virgil got reps with the second team defense and made three plays on the ball during the morning practice alone.

Virgil had a well-timed pass breakup on a pass intended for Shawn Nelson down the seam. He also broke up a pass thrown to Easley on a crossing route. His final play on the ball came in 11-on-11 when he stripped the ball away from fellow rookie David Nelson to force another incompletion.

"I think all our young guys are improving," said Corner. "Stephan is coming along. He's a very good player already and I think he's going to be something special."

Other players that fared well Friday with extra reps were running backs C.J. Spiller and Chad Simpson.

QB Update
A day after the top three quarterbacks all had pretty solid days, they were challenged on more of their throws Friday.

Trent Edwards had the best success with the deep ball hitting Easley in stride for the long touchdown.

Brian Brohm showed perhaps the best touch on the ball as he dropped a pair of passes over the heads of defenders in the waiting hands of his intended receivers on a pass over the middle to Shawn Nelson and later to rookie wideout David Nelson. Both plays went for 15 and 30 yards respectively.

Ryan Fitzpatrick had Easley lined up for another long touchdown play, but the rookie couldn’t quite run under the pass.

As far as the rotation was concerned, in the morning practice Trent Edwards was the first man through in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 with Fitzpatrick to follow in both segments. Brian Brohm was third in the rotation with rookie Levi Brown’s reps being noticeably fewer in number.

In the afternoon Fitzpatrick was first in the rotation during 7-on-7 and was followed by Brohm then Edwards with Brown getting an equal number of reps. Fitzpatrick also led the rotation in 11-on-11 and again was followed by Brohm then Edwards and Brown.

Highlights
In addition to some of the aforementioned plays from the morning session Roscoe Parrish had a 25-yard hookup with Trent Edwards after a busted coverage left him wide open on the far side of the field.

C.J. Spiller had his elusiveness on display. Working exclusively with the first unit with Fred Jackson not on hand, Spiller ran to the line to hit a hole that was quickly closed by Bryan Scott. Before Scott could ‘tap out’ Spiller, he darted backwards, shuttled a step to his right and burst through a second hole that had opened for positive yardage.

Chad Simpson also had a couple of nice looking runs that would’ve gained first down yardage and more.

Felton Huggins made a tough catch over the middle despite some tight coverage.

Defensively, Chris Ellis had a ‘would be’ sack as he anticipated a rollout by Fitzpatrick.

In the afternoon Reggie Corner had a pair of pass breakups. One was intended for Steve Johnson and the other for Roscoe Parrish. Corner read the quarterback's eyes on the second PBU to make the play.

Rookie John Destin forced an incompletion on another throw intended for Johnson and Virgil defended yet another pass during 7-on-7.

Safety Bryan Scott had an interception that he returned up the near sideline for what could've been a touchdown had it been live conditions.

Andra Davis also had a pass defense.

On offense Shawn Nelson made an impressive jump ball catch along the far sideline that drew gasps from the defenders lined up on the sideline that were not on the field for that play.

Marcus Easley again made a reception deep downfield on a throw from Brohm.

And rookie Naaman Roosevelt made a strong catch over the middle in traffic on a pass from Levi Brown.

In and out
The Bills secondary was without Terrence McGee, who remains limited coming off of offseason shoulder surgery. Leodis McKelvin and Lydell Sargeant were also sidelined with minor injuries.

Back on the field Friday was tight Shawn Nelson, who missed the second week of voluntary OTAs. Fellow tight end Derek Schouman also participated on a very limited basis for the first time since knee surgery last season.

Bryan Scott is back in the fold in the team setting after being limited earlier in the week during OTAs.

Doing a little bit more work on the field was Kawika Mitchell, who is still working his way back from a torn quadriceps muscle.

Not in attendance were Will Croner, Lee Evans, Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch and Aaron Schobel.

Schedule
The Bills also have a pair of practice session Saturday including the open practice for fans inside Ralph Wilson Stadium at 3:15 pm weather permitting. Check www.Buffalobills.com for updates. The first practice, which is closed to the public is set for 10:45 am.

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