The defense had the headline plays as they recorded five interceptions in Monday's afternoon practice, but the offense had their share of plays as well. That balance of play left head coach Chan Gailey pleased with what his coaching staff got from the the two units.
"Both sides made plays," said Gailey. "That was a positive in some respects. Offensively you want to eliminate the turnovers and defensively you can't allow them to get into the end zone, but there were plays on both sides. We had some guys that went out and did a good job today. I felt there was a bit more pep in their step today after a day off."
Jairus Byrd had two of the five interceptions on the day, with the others going to Leodis McKelvin, rookie safety Nick Sukay and George Wilson.
"We had a good day," said McKelvin of the secondary's opportunistic play. "We came back and tried to straighten things up before we get into this week for this game. Straighten up missed alignments and try to get everything perfect going into this week's game."
McKelvin is referring to Thursday night's preseason opener against Washington, which kicks off at 7 pm at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Though the offense had some quality plays of their own including six touchdowns during red zone work, Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't want to match turnovers with touchdowns.
"It was one of those days looking at it offensively, a lot of it was feast or famine," he said. "We did make a lot of plays, but we had some turnovers too. That's the kind of stuff that we're trying to avoid. We need to have the consistency to come out and make some of those big plays and avoid the bad ones obviously. That's what football is about, but that's something we're continuing to work on."
Buffalo's offensive players that recorded touchdowns included Scott Chandler, Stevie Johnson, Ruvell Martin, Dorin Dickerson, Tashard Choice and Donald Jones.
"We are going back and forth," said Jones. "Some days the defense will win and some days the offense will win. It really should be like that. In this league we are all getting paid, so we shouldn't be a lopsided team and we should be going back and forth, which is the way it is right now."
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Injured players returnCoach Gailey indicated on Saturday that he anticipated getting a few injured players back in the fold Monday and that proved to be the case.
Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson and Chris Kelsay all returned to practice and all three participated in team drills in addition to individual position drills.
Torell Troup was also on the field after missing Saturday's practice and got his first team reps of training camp though he was only given a couple before retiring for the day.
David Nelson returned after missing about a week of work, but only did position drills coming off of the strained tendon in his knee.
"It was nice to get all those guys out," said Gailey. "I thought they pushed through well. The only one we really didn't get for any prolonged time I think was David Nelson. I think most everybody else had come out and stayed maybe even longer than we thought they would."
Justin Rogers remains sidelined with a strained hamstring, while Erik Pears is still out with a groin problem. Gailey did say that Pears outlook is positive after he saw a specialist over the weekend.
Lineup notesAt left tackle Cordy Glenn continues to get the lion's share of the reps with the first unit. With Pears not in the lineup, Sam Young starts at right tackle, but halfway through the first team series Chris Hairston subs in for Young. Then when the second unit comes on the field, Hairston flips to left tackle and Young comes back on to play on the right side.
Glenn is taking small steps forward at the position. He held his own in one-on-one pass rush drills against Buffalo's defensive ends including Mario Williams and Mark Anderson Monday.
With Nelson still out of the lineup duties in the slot for the first team offense were split by Donald Jones and Ruvell Martin. When Jones was in the slot, it was Johnson and Derek Hagan outside. When Martin checked in he went to the slot with Jones moving outside and Hagan rotated out.
Backup QB updateBuffalo's sideline boss was anything but impressed with the accuracy of his backup quarterback candidates in the first week of camp as both Tyler Thigpen and Vince Young struggled to connect with the receiving corps with any kind of consistency.
The last couple of days of practice however, both have improved.
"The installation has gone slower the last couple of days so we're getting to repeat some things, so when you get to repeat them they get sharper and crisper on their reads and it has paid dividends," said Gailey. "They're seeing things and doing some things with the football that are a lot better than the first few days. That's for sure."
Among Young's better throws was a 20-yard strike to Kamar Aiken over the middle. He also found Scott Chandler in the front left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
Thigpen's best throw was a well-timed dart to Dorin Dickerson on a post in the end zone for a touchdown during red zone work.
2 minute drillFitting the balance of the play on the day, the two-minute drill series that were run by the first and second team units were split by the offense and defense as well. The situation was the offense had the ball at their own 30-yard line with one timeout and one minute on the clock needing a field goal to win.
The second string got the first series and the defense got the better of it. After Dwan Edwards batted a Vince Young pass out of the air for an incompletion, Young hit David Clowney along the right sideline for a short gain. Young's third down pass was then incomplete to Ruvell Martin. Young's fourth down effort also fell incomplete ending the drive.
The starting offense came out to try to answer. The first play however, was intercepted deep in the secondary as Jairus Byrd made a diving play to end the drive. With the drive lasting just one play, the offense was given a second crack at it.
On first down, Fitzpatrick hit Scott Chandler for a gain short of the first down marker. On second down, Fitzpatrick tried to hit Stevie Johnson deep down the right sideline, but Aaron Williams made a touchdown-saving pass breakup as he leapt high and fully extended knocked the ball away.
That brought up third down, which the offense converted on a quick slant to Johnson. That was followed by a completion to Donald Jones. After a spike stopped the clock with seven seconds left the offense had to take the chance and run a play in the hopes of getting in field goal range.
Fitzpatrick through a pass into double coverage, but Derek Hagan went up the ladder to pull the ball down with two seconds remaining at the defense's 26-yard line. The offense called timeout with 1.9 seconds left on the clock.
Rian Lindell then came on and put the "game-winning" 43-yard attempt through the uprights.
ScheduleThe Bills have their final full scale practice before Thursday night's preseason game on Tuesday. The session is scheduled to begin at 3 pm.
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