It was a day to throw and throw often as the Bills had one of their longest 7-on-7 periods of the spring as the second week of OTAs wrapped up Thursday. And while things did not get off to the best start for the offense, on the whole, the quarterbacks made good decisions, had a high completion percentage and made a handful of big plays downfield.
Though all four quarterbacks had their share of positive plays, it was hard to top Ryan Fitzpatrick's 9-for-9 passing performance during that segment. Fitzpatrick hit Lee Evans twice, had a couple of short passes to the tight ends and also got Roscoe Parrish, Felton Huggins and James Hardy involved.
After his first six reps in the quarterback rotation, Fitzpatrick got three more at the end much like the other two veteran signal callers and made the most of them. Huggins made a nice leaping catch along the near sideline before falling on his back and rolling out of bounds. And that was followed by the biggest play of the day when Marcus Easley got behind the defense and Fitzpatrick hit him in stride for what would've been a 60-70 yard touchdown play. He then hit Hardy on the far side of the field with a pass for a first down.
Some of the throws by Buffalo's quarterbacks Thursday drew some praise from their offensive teammates encouraging them to playfully taunt the defensive players a bit. Even some reads by the signal callers that were unsuccessful still got positive feedback. On one of Brian Brohm's reps he had Lee Evans streaking down the near sideline, but the pass was just out of Evans' reach falling incomplete. Still head coach Chan Gailey was quick to comment.
"Good idea on that. Good idea," he said.
Nicked upIn fairness to the defense they were without two of their top cover corners in Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin. McGee is still not full go coming off of offseason shoulder surgery, while McKelvin pulled out of practice early with a muscle strain.
On the positive side it afforded players like Ellis Lankster, Lydell Sargeant and rookies John Destin and Stephan Virgil to get a lot more snaps in the team portions of practice.
Back on the field was Bryan Scott after he had been limited the past couple of days.
Marshawn Lynch, Shawn Nelson and Aaron Schobel were not in attendance.
Two-minute drillFor the first time this spring, the two minute drill was unveiled during 11-on-11 work near the end of practice. Initially the defense had the upper hand as they forced the offense, under the direction of Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick, three-and-out on the first two series.
On the third series, Brian Brohm was able to get a couple of first downs with James Hardy converting a first down on third down to lengthen the drive. The series eventually ended on an incomplete pass on third-and-short.
During the last two series of two minute work the offense began to make a few more plays as both sides got a bit winded the first time through the up tempo pace. Defensive coordinator George Edwards could be heard yelling from the far sideline.
"Finish strong! Finish strong," he shouted, as he tried to implore his players to dig in.
"We get out there and get in football shape, and running two minute will do it quicker than anything else," said Kyle Williams. "That's why you're always trying to get off the field quick during two minute, especially for the defensive line. If our pressure up front goes down it makes it hard for the guys on the back end. We were out there giving it a go and nobody was hurting, but there were times we were trying to catch our breath. It'll get you ready to go."
HighlightsLee Evans made a handful of receptions Thursday with perhaps his best being the well-timed play he had with Fitzpatrick during 7-on-7 when he went right through the teeth of the defense for a big gain.
James Hardy had a nice catch and run on a crossing route where he pulled away from the defender after the reception.
Rookie Donald Jones made a couple of plays, with his best being a leaping grab along the near sideline in two-minute drill before landing on his back to convert a first down despite very tight coverage.
Roscoe Parrish ran a tight out route down the far sideline where Fitzpatrick hit him on time allowing him to toe the sideline before going out of bounds.
Marcus Easley had the aforementioned long touchdown play, but also made a strong hands catch to convert a first down in two minute on a throw from Edwards.
Defensively, Jairus Byrd made his first interception of the spring as he jumped in front of intended receiver Steve Johnson to make the play in 7-on-7. Byrd also had a 'would be' sack during the two-minute drill to prevent a first down.
Alex Carrington had a batted pass to force an incompletion.
Chris Kelsay had a strong bull rush walking his opponent back into the pocket forcing the quarterback to dump the ball down to a back.
Keith Ellison had a 'would be' tackle for loss when he anticipated a throw to C.J. Spiller out of the backfield.
Rookie Antonio Coleman had a good outing during the two minute drill portion of practice as he got consistent pressure on the quarterback on most of his reps.
And Drayton Florence had a pass breakup during 11-on-11 .
ScheduleThe Bills begin their voluntary minicamp on Friday with a pair of practice sessions scheduled. The first will be at 10:45 am and the second at 3:15 pm. The minicamp runs through Sunday.