A couple of competing cornerbacks made some plays, Roscoe Parrish flashed again and Buffalo's Pro Bowl punter was back booming kicks again at Wednesday night's practice.
For the first time during a night practice the Bills were not in pads. Though head coach Dick Jauron didn't have a reason for the change other than the fact that he makes the schedule, it's presumed that with some real hitting coming up in 48 hours in New Orleans that it would be better to go easy on the physical contact.
Greer, Youboty battle
The no huddle segment, that typically starts practice, got the continued competition between Jabari Greer and Ashton Youboty off to a very good start. On the first play from scrimmage Youboty made a diving effort and may or may not have had an interception. The pass was low from J.P. Losman and Youboty had inside position on the receiver. In trying to make a play on the ball his hands appeared to be beneath the ball before it hit the turf, but it was difficult to say for sure.
A few plays later, Greer, who is in direct competition with Youboty, almost had an interception as well during the series, but had to settle for just a pass breakup.
The battle continued during 7-on-7 when Youboty jumped on a quick slant and came up with the interception off Trent Edwards. But six plays later a pass from Craig Nall went off the hands of Shaud Williams and into the arms of Greer who took it the other way for what would have been a touchdown.
Williams couldn't pull the ball in because he got hit hard by Mario Haggan. Without pads Williams looked like he got the wind knocked out of him, but eventually got back up and finished practice.
Receivers making plays
Roscoe Parrish continues to make impressive plays in the passing game. Getting consistent separation Parrish made a pair of receptions during 7-on-7. He had a catch deep over the middle that drew a few 'oohs' from the fans in attendance.
Later in the series he made a catch over the middle in traffic as Losman had a small window to throw through to get the ball to Parrish, but he rifled it in there successfully.
Sam Aiken also made a nice grab in traffic during 7-on-7 red zone. He came across the middle and pulled a pass in from Losman despite two defenders being right on him for a touchdown.
Losman is glad to see receivers other than Lee Evans factoring into the offensive production.
"The more guys the better," said Losman of his receiving corps. "Right now we have a lot of guys doing a lot of great things. It's not just Lee, it is Peerless, Roscoe and Josh (Reed) that are going to be carrying a lot of the load. We know that Lee is going to get double covered a lot. A lot of attempts are going to go to him, but that's when Marshawn will come into play as well. People are going to have to start paying more attention to him running down the middle of the field and running outs. People are going to have to pay attention to him because he is going to get open."
Marshawn Lynch didn't have any eye-opening runs as has usually been the case in most practices, but his speed has already forced the coaching staff to alter their blocking scheme somewhat according to Losman.
"He's pretty fast," said Losman. "He hits the outside pretty good and we had to change up some of the blocking schemes because he was getting out too fast. Those are all positives. He's hitting the hole pretty hard. We don't want to put too much on him. We want to just give him some so he doesn't hit that rookie wall and he hasn't shown any signs of that so far."
Dwayne Wright made a couple of nice plays in the team segments of practice. His best move of the night came on a reception out of the backfield. Wright caught the ball in the left flat just outside the tackle box. He took one step toward the sideline, then planted and turned it upfield to the inside which left a couple of linebackers frozen as he sped to the second level.
Moorman back and booming
Brian Moorman returned from an excused absence and didn't miss a beat. He was routinely forcing the punt returners during punt team drills to retreat at least 10 yards to field his punts.
On one rep Jonathan Smith was already giving respect to Moorman standing 60 yards from the line of scrimmage before the snap, but Moorman still made him turn tail to make an over the shoulder catch on what was about a 70-yard effort.
The punt returners were having trouble holding onto the kicks tonight. Roscoe Parrish, Smith and rookie free agent Scott Mayle all dropped a punt during the segment.
Donte Whitner participated in individual drills, but did not do any team work as he's still recovering from a lower abdomen injury.
"Donte went through some of the practice and then we pulled him out of it only because that's what we wanted to see," said Jauron. "He went through individual and some other things and it's a little sore. So we'll just wait on that and see how that goes."
Not participating were Brad Butler, Aaron Merz and Josh Scobey.
Butler and Scobey will not be making the trip with the team to New Orleans.
"We'll leave them here so they can get treatment," said Jauron. "We've got their treatment scheduled back here and that will be a big plus for us and for them if we can get them back on the field."
Whether Merz will travel is still up in the air after an MRI on his injured shoulder revealed little.
"Nothing out of the ordinary or that we hadn't seen before," said Jauron of Merz's MRI. "Hopefully it'll bounce right back."
"I'm preparing mentally to play and hopefully, physically I'll be ready to," said Merz. "If I am I'll be ready to go. We are doing everything we can to get me out there."