While some of the bigger news took place off the field concerning the Bills with Jairus Byrd signing his franchise tender and Nigel Bradham having a run-in with the law, Buffalo's coaching staff introduced a new element to the practice setting in the final night session of training camp.
The Bills began running plays off of cards of the opponents they'll be facing at the beginning of their regular season schedule.
"I think you saw in practice you saw some cards where we're working on some situations that we haven't seen yet," said head coach Doug Marrone. "Then obviously working on our upcoming opponents. We started that tonight, that's why you saw the coaches out there with the cards. We're transitioning now and we've got to continue to get better. We're still a work in progress. We're not where we need to be as far as the first week of the season."
Presumably the looks being given to the offensive and defensive units Tuesday evening were from New England's schemes, their opponent in the season opener on Sept. 8th.
Tipped passes and INTsTipped passes are not uncommon in NFL games or in practice, but most of the time they do not result in interceptions. The Bills do practice the tip drill defensively and it appeared to pay off Tuesday as Buffalo turned three tipped passes into INTs.
The first came on a Jeff Tuel pass that was intended for Marcus Easley. Justin Rogers tipped the pass into the air and it was caught by Marcell Dareus near midfield. The defensive tackle rumbled to the end zone 50 yards for the touchdown.
"It was just something where it's designed for me to drop into coverage and the ball got tipped and it came my way," said Dareus. "The DBs get to take their interceptions back so why can't I take it back to the end zone?"
Marrone ran Dareus down at the end of the play to ask him a question.
"I said, 'What are the odds of you going back in for the next play or do I need to get a trainer?' He said, 'Oh I'm ready to go but I just scored a touchdown don't they have to kick off or something like that.'"
The second tipped pass was a Kevin Kolb throw with undrafted rookie Kip Edwards tipping it into the waiting hands of fellow rookie Nickell Robey for an interception.
The final interception went to Jerry Hughes after Duke Williams tipped a Jeff Tuel pass into the air.
Gilmore pulled from practiceStephon Gilmore came to the sidelines not long after the first team segment of practice and had his right foot examined by the athletic training staff. His shoe was later removed as his toe was examined.
A short time later Gilmore had his sock and cleat back on, but he was held out of the remainder of practice as a precaution.
"Yeah I'm doing good," Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. "I just planted kind of wrong a little bit on it. It's just a little sore, but it's nothing too serious. They just wanted to keep me out of practice to rest it."
"It was just a toe right there and we kept him out," said Marrone. "It shouldn't be a problem at all. He just needed a re-taping and he should be fine from what I've been told."
Butler, Rogers returnCrezdon Butler and Justin Rogers got some work during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 for the first time since being out with injuries. Rogers had missed two weeks of camp practice with a hamstring injury. Both players looked good in team work with both registering pass breakups Tuesday. Butler also posted an interception on a Jeff Tuel pass intended for DeMarco Sampson.
Marrone believes both should be ready to play in the preseason game at Washington, but made it clear that they want to ensure the player feels he's at his best.
"When you get those types of injuries I like to make sure I talk to the player," said Marrone. "He might be cleared for a practice, but now a game situation last week we worked him out before the game. We worked out Butler before the game and it was still a little tight. So we're not going to throw him out there because we want to see what they can do at 100 percent and be as competitive as possible so we can make the best decisions as possible for our club."
Kolb settling inWith EJ Manuel on the shelf for at least the next couple of weeks Kevin Kolb will be getting all the first team reps. As Marrone sees it Kolb has settled into the full time role well now that his injured knee is fully recovered.
"I see him getting a lot better," said Marrone. "When he first came back I think he was still sore. Kevin is a tough kid and it's hard to get people that are in competition are not going to all the time tell you the truth because they're so competitive. You watch him there was a little bit of a herky jerk where he wasn't as rhythmic as he was in the past. And the past two days I saw that change. He went out on the field and he looks a lot more comfortable and a lot healthier than he has before."
Tight end Scott Chandler, who caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Kolb in double coverage Tuesday, can see it too.
"I think any time you're able to watch a quarterback get consistent reps with the same group of guys, they're going to be more comfortable, they're going to be more successful," Chandler said. "I think that Kevin's had a good last couple of days here and hopefully we can go out and execute in the game."
Among Kolb's other better plays on Tuesday was a 30-yard hook-up with Marcus Easley down the right sideline during 7-on-7. He also hit Stevie Johnson with a 20-yard strike over the middle, and followed up with another shot over the middle to Johnson that the receiver took to the end zone for a score.
EJ updateHead coach Doug Marrone provided an update on how EJ Manuel is making out now a couple of days removed from surgery. He's still on crutches, but has already begun the rehab process.
"Yeah it's good. We worked with him (Tuesday)," said Marrone. "I saw him rehabbing working his butt off, and we're working with him now keeping him mentally prepared. Everyone has to develop, so what we've done is make sure that just because he had this procedure and is not on the field we want to keep developing him in the classroom, making sure he's going so we're pushing him hard from that aspect."
Marrone said he plans to check in with the team's medical staff every few days for updates on Manuel's progress in his recovery.
The Bills close out training camp Wednesday with a 2 pm practice before returning to One Bills Drive for their final two weeks of preparation before the regular season.