Thursday night's practice was of the shorter variety for the Bills at full speed as the defensive line has been short-handed in terms of bodies. With Copeland Bryan still out along with defensive tackle Marcus Smith, the healthy defensive linemen have been taxed through the first 12 days of camp so practice went only about an hour and a half.
"It was planned to be a little short," said head coach Dick Jauron. "We didn't do one of the drills that we normally do. A lot of the periods are timed, but a lot of them are just numbers. So if they go through them quickly and there are no mistakes we get done a little faster."
Long snapper Ryan Neill even helped out getting some reps at defensive end with the second and third teams to give some of the veterans a break.
"Ryan has been great in that regard, and he's athletic and he played defensive end," said Jauron. "But we don't have plans to use him. He just helped us out."
HOF game detailsJauron offered some brief thoughts on the amount of playing time the starters are expected to receive in the preseason opener Sunday night in Canton.
"We think they'll play pretty much like they would a regular first preseason game," he said. "A couple of series. They'll be out there though. They'll get some action all of them."
The Bills head coach did say that Andy Levitre and Eric Wood are likely to play a bit longer than the rest of the starters.
One starter that is unlikely to dress for the game is right tackle Brad Butler. Butler is still sidelined with a lower back injury. Jauron did not rule him out officially, but indicated that he's unlikely to play.
Jauron also said there's a good chance they'll make use of all four quarterbacks in the game. Bills third-stringer Gibran Hamdan knows with five preseason games this summer instead of four, that the reserve quarterbacks are likely to see more action.
"It's going to give us a chance to get out there and play the game that we love, and hopefully perform at a higher level," Hamdan said. "You know, more than anything, play well and hopefully get confidence in the entire group and the team that god forbid something came up, we'd be able to step in and help the team out."
HighlightsJustin Jenkins was the star of the night practice Thursday. Early in practice he made an adjustment to the ball which was a bit behind him and out jumped Terrence McGee to make the reception for a big gain close to the near sideline.
Late in the practice session he pulled in an improbable deep ball that was tipped by Reggie Corner and George Wilson before Jenkins snared it out of the air and waltzed into the end zone for a 55-yard scoring play.
"I was surprised that Gibby [Gibran Hamdan] actually threw it to me because the coverage just wasn't right," said Jenkins. "We had talked about it earlier and if he got the chance to make a big play we'd try it out and he threw it and luckily I came up with it."
"I did very little there," said Hamdan of the play. "Justin made the play, so as far as I'm concerned that was a one player play and that was Justin Jenkins basically being superman. He's a receiver that's really come along and I'm really proud of him. As a backup quarterback who's going to be in there it's comforting to know that we've got so many young receivers that can go up and make plays like that."
Jenkins has worked very hard on sharpening his route running and it has shown on the field as he's getting more consistent separation in practice.
Other highlights on the night a pass breakup by Dustin Fox over the middle on a pass intended for Derek Schouman.
Bryan Scott knocked down a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick that was intended for Schouman at the goal line.
Paul Posluszny put a good lick on Marshawn Lynch as he came through the hole on a run play.
John McCargo batted a Fitzpatrick pass at the line of scrimmage.
Reggie Corner broke up a pass for Josh Reed to force an incompletion on a third and short play.
Jermaine McGhee has a "sack" on Gibran Hamdan as he got around the corner.
Dominic Rhodes had a well executed screen play up the far sideline.
And Jon Corto had a pass breakup to thwart a Matt Baker throw to Jonathan Stupar in the flat.
Pat Thomas again switched with Marcus Buggs as Thomas was the second string middle linebacker Thursday. Buggs got more work with the third team.
Ashton Youboty got second team nickel reps Thursday with Reggie Corner running with the third nickel. Drayton Florence remains in the top slot spot.
Newly signed defensive tackle Derrick Jones lined up at left defensive tackle with the third team defense alongside Corey Mace.
Steve Johnson did a little more in practice on Thursday night. After participating only in individual position drills on Wednesday, Johnson got some reps in 7-on-7 work Thursday. The second-year wideout does not appear to be favoring the torn rib cartilage much, but does still appear to be wearing a flak jacket for protection.
Brad Butler, Copeland Bryan and Marcus Smith did not practice.Jairus Byrd and James Hardy also remain sidelined.
A single practice is scheduled for Friday at 2:25pm.