It was a spirited finish to Buffalo’s last practice prior to a day off as the team finished with a live goal line drill in their 13th straight camp practice. The defense got a few early stops on the first three plays keeping Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller out of the end zone in succession.
The offense changed the momentum when Ryan Fitzpatrick hit C.J. Spiller on a quick slant for a touchdown. The fifth play was an incomplete pass as Donald Jones couldn’t quite hang on for a touchdown catch in the left rear corner of the end zone as he tumbled head over heels. But Joique Bell, who has been strong in goal line work found the end zone again on the last play of the series.
“I’m not trying to get intensity up even though that’s what happens when you go live,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “It’s just that you had better been live somewhere before you line up next Friday night and that was the last time we’ll be truly live before we get to next Friday night.”
Gailey is referring to the team’s first preseason game in Washington against the Redskins on Aug. 13 at 7:30 pm.
“It allows us to compete and gives us a good feeling of what the game’s really like,” said Kawika Mitchell of the live, tackle to the ground series. “Certain teams, certain head coaches don’t believe in live situations, but I think it’s good to get in there and get a feeling for hitting somebody the way you’re supposed to be doing it in the game. I enjoy it.”
The players are eager to get some rest and relaxation on Sunday, their first day off since training camp began 10 days ago.
“Oh man, I’m really looking forward to this,” said Jairus Byrd. “I think we’ve worked really hard. This is the hardest camp, from what I’ve heard from a lot of guys that they’ve been in for a while. So everyone is looking forward to this day off just to get their legs back under them.”
We’ve come out here every other day twice a day and they’ve worked hard,” said Gailey. “They need a day off. They do need a day off. We don’t come out here and mess around. We go to work and then get off the field. I’m not trying to be out here two and a half or three and a half hours. We go to work, get our job done and get off the field and they’ve done a good job of that.”
Pass game coming along
The offense’s passing attack is slowly building in consistency. Though coach Gailey has stated that there are still some bad plays that need to be addressed, there have been more positive plays of late. More of those kinds of plays were on display Saturday.
Lee Evans was again getting behind the defense as he pulled in a strike from Trent Edwards deep down the sideline for a 45-yard pass play. Edwards and Evans have been in sync the past few days on the deep ball in particular.
Shawn Nelson had a well-timed play with Levi Brown pulling in a well thrown pass down the seam for a 25-yard pick up in 7-on-7.
And James Hardy had a 35-yard touchdown reception on a well run route that split the corner and the safety as Ryan Fitzpatrick hit him in stride. Hardy is doing what he can to make an impact while convincing the coaches he can produce as he tries to challenge Steve Johnson for the number two receiver role.
“Everyone is going to have an equal opportunity to make plays,” said Hardy who had three receptions Saturday. “It’s just whose going to make plays. It’s not who is going to run the best routes, who is going to block the best, it’s about who is going to help this team get up and down the field and get in that end zone. Those are the things that I feel I can bring to the table.”
Johnson to his credit had a touchdown on a quick slant in goal line work.
Naaman Roosevelt made a tough catch in traffic, as he caught a pass that was behind him while running across the field with one hand and pushed it against his shoulder pad to hold onto it.
Fred Jackson had a sharp run through the hole on the ground and C.J. Spiller had a nice looking draw play as he darted through the hole at the line of scrimmage.
Defensively, Drayton Florence got off to a hot start with a pass breakup on the first play in 7-on-7 breaking up a pass intended for Johnson. He followed that up with an interception five plays later when he took the ball right out of Chad Jackson’s hands and ran the other way.
Bryan Scott broke up a pass in the flat that had C.J. Spiller targeted in 7-on-7.
Jairus Byrd broke up a pass over the middle that was intended for Fred Jackson, who came out of the backfield. Byrd is generally happy with the progress of the secondary as a whole.
“I think we’re jelling pretty good right now,” he said. “We’re still making mistakes out there, but for the most part, we’re making more plays than we are mistakes.”
Leodis McKelvin also prevented a completion when he raked the ball out of a receiver’s hands on the far side of the field.
Aaron Maybin had a ‘would be’ sack during 11-on-11 that was called by the NFL officials on hand.
Antonio Coleman had a quarterback pressure and Chris Ellis had a batted pass in 11-on-11 red zone.
And Lydell Sargeant intercepted a pass in the end zone in 11-on-11 red zone work.
In and out
Starting right tackle Cornell Green left practice early with an undisclosed injury, but Gailey said he does not believe it to be serious.
“He just tweaked something,” said Gailey. “Precautionary. It looks minor and I’m hoping he’ll be back very soon.”
Green did walk to the locker room under his own power.
Stepping in for Green at the starting right tackle position was rookie Cordaro Howard, who saw his first action since taking a blow to the head earlier in the week.
Though Eric Wood practiced Saturday he did not take much of any team reps, so Andre Ramsey again filled in for him at right guard. Jamon Meredith played left tackle with the ones with Demetrius Bell doing very little team work as well.
Marcus Stroud was not participating Saturday so third-round pick Alex Carrington got reps with the first unit at defensive end.
Kyle Williams however, was back practicing after missing just a day of work with a bruised hand.
Roscoe Parrish sat out after leaving practice early Thursday night with an undisclosed injury.
The Bills have a day off Sunday before coming back on Monday for a two-a-day with a morning practice at 9:30 that’s closed to the public and a night practice at 7 pm.