It was a day that the players had to fight through Tuesday as the Bills coaching staff worked to balance getting enough work done in a short week to be properly prepared for their next preseason game Friday and get enough rest for their players' bodies. Head coach Doug Marrone and his staff still ran a two-plus hour practice Tuesday, but some players had their workloads lightened.
"The players have come in and we played a game on Sunday we've had really two good days of work," said Marrone. "You can see it a little bit with the soreness. There's nothing major to report, just a lot of soreness and trying to see who we can get back for this game on Friday. With practice this morning we have a large recovery time, we don't practice again until tomorrow night. My message to the players was to make sure to stay off their feet, make sure they're getting their treatments knowing it's the toughest stretch of camp they'll have."
Among the players who saw their load reduced in terms of reps in practice were Kiko Alonso and Nigel Bradham. The pair of first team linebackers were subbed out during the team portions of practice as their play counts have been heavy through the first two-plus weeks of practice.
Other players stepped out of practice early like Aaron Williams, who was experiencing muscle cramps. Marquise Goodwin also stepped out of practice briefly to be looked at by athletic trainers, but returned to the action.
Kolb back in syncComing off an initial practice where he looked a bit rusty following a one week layoff due mainly to his freak knee injury, Kevin Kolb came back Tuesday with one of his better practices of training camp. Kolb was back in sync with his receiving corps connecting on several big pass plays. His two biggest were a pair of 70-yard bombs in stride to Marquise Goodwin and Da'Rick Rogers during 11-on-11. Both plays went for touchdowns.
Kolb looked to be back in rhythm and did not show any signs of limited mobility with his knee. A perfect example was when Alex Carrington came off the edge and flew into the pocket. Kolb, who initially tried to step up in the pocket, quickly backed out, rolled right and delivered a pass for a completion.
Tuesday's practice apparently sold Marrone that Kolb would be fit to play in Friday's preseason game.
"I was happy," said Marrone. "Obviously I watched him closely yesterday and watched him again today. I thought he looked really good to a point now where we're going to get him ready to play."
Whether Kolb gets the start on Friday against Minnesota will likely be announced following the team's Wednesday night practice.
**Goodwin keeps making plays
**Marquise Goodwin's third week of training camp has unfolded not all that different from the previous two. He's routinely turning in some of the biggest pass plays of practice each day as Buffalo's cornerbacks continue to struggle to keep the blazing wideout in front of them.
"He's kind of fast," said offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett with a grin. "I think as a coordinator our job is to figure out what these guys do good and when they do something good you've got to try to find different ways to do it and manipulate it and get people down the field and it's kind of hard, we always joke, if 88 is in there, just close your eyes and throw it as hard as you can and we're trying to see if we can overthrow him. We've only done it once to this point."
In addition to his aforementioned 70-yard touchdown reception from Kolb, EJ Manuel also hit Goodwin for a 25-yard pass play along the left sideline, and then came right back to him a play later on a curl route. Even Jeff Tuel found him for a few completions Tuesday.
Hogan rotated up with the startersWith Stevie Johnson, Brad Smith and now T.J. Graham all sidelined with injuries it's afforded some of the younger receivers on the roster more opportunities in practice. Chief among them Chris Hogan, who got the most reps with the first unit Tuesday.
"It's a huge confidence booster for me," he said. "I'm taking advantage of every opportunity I'm getting on the field, especially with the 'ones.' Any rep that I'm going to get, ones, twos or threes, it doesn't really matter to me. I'm trying to put some good stuff on film. When I get a chance to make a play, make those plays."
Hogan's biggest play Tuesday was a 35-yard reception he made near the right sideline on a pass from EJ Manuel.
"We call him 7-11," said Hackett. "He's always open and he's done a really good job. He's one of those guys that from a quarterback standpoint you know right where he's going to be. He runs very good routes, he made some great plays today but he's a guy that definitely opens your eyes. You want him in there and quarterbacks love when he's out there."
Notable defensive playsThe defense has been turning in plays routinely every day in practice. The headliner was Stephon Gilmore's interception along the near sideline on a pass from Manuel that was intended for Robert Woods.
Players that logged sacks Tuesday included Arthur Moats, Mario Williams and Nigel Bradham.
Credited with tackles for loss were Jarron Gilbert, Keith Pough, Alex Carrington and Jay Ross.
Goal line and short yardageA total of eight plays were run in a brief set of short yardage and goal line plays. It was difficult to determine if the offense converted any of their short yardage opportunities as the ball was not spotted following the carry. Carrington however, got into the backfield quickly during short yardage and tapped out Tashard Choice for a loss.
On three goal line plays the offense drew a flag on the first with pass interference in the end zone on an incomplete pass. C.J. Spiller scored on the second play of goal line running wide to the left to reach the front left corner of the end zone for a score.
But Jay Ross closed out practice with a tackle for loss on fullback Drew Smith.
Lineup notesWith a bunch of players out with injuries and others rested due to lingering soreness, there were a host of players getting extra reps with the first and second units on offense and defense.
Center Ryan Turnley got second team reps in place of David Snow, who was rotated back in on occasion. Turnley has been mostly running with the third team.
With Kiko Alonso and Nigel Bradham getting fewer reps it meant time with the ones for Bryan Scott and Arthur Moats, who have been fixtures with the second unit on defense.
With Moats and Scott moving up to the first unit, linebackers like Keith Pough and Chris White were able to work with the second string.
And when Aaron Williams stepped out of team work near the end of practice, Duke Williams stepped in for some first team snaps.
ScheduleThe Bills have a night practice Wednesday scheduled for 6 pm, their last before Friday's preseason game against Minnesota.