The offense was ready to respond Sunday morning following an afternoon workout Saturday that saw the passing game struggle. Buffalo's quarterbacks made more plays, and at times did so in the face of pressure.
Perry Fewell's defense appeared to be making more pressure calls through the course of the team segments of practice, but Buffalo's offense for the most part adjusted.
"It all starts up front with myself and Geoff Hangartner recognizing what the front is and where the linebackers are and I have to be on the same page with my receivers on where the secondary is," said Trent Edwards. "I know our defense does a great job of disguising those things and disguising those fronts. Paul (Posluszny) and Kawika (Mitchell) are jumping around a lot making it difficult to identify where the linebackers are and that's all a credit to Perry Fewell and the way he runs that system. It's just a matter of getting reps against those sorts of defenses."
Edwards beat the blitz on one play as he took two steps to his right and flicked a pass over the middle underneath to Terrell Owens who was coming across the field. He also hit Lee Evans down the sideline for a big gainer despite some pressure coming off the edge.
There were some instances however, when the defense got to Edwards and the other Bills signal callers for 'would be' sacks. Copeland Bryan made a nice move off the right side to get to Ryan Fitzpatrick before he could deliver the ball. Edwards was surrounded on another play where it was questionable as to whether he would have gotten the ball off under live conditions.
Kyle Williams and Chris Kelsay also teamed up coming in from two different angles to pressure Edwards, who threw an incompletion as he was flushed from the pocket.
As Edwards mentioned Kawika Mitchell and Paul Posluszny were creeping up at the line of scrimmage through the course of the practice and Mitchell had what looked to be a sack or at the very least a pressure when he came right up the middle. Marshawn Lynch picked him up, but Mitchell turned sideways so there was less of Mitchell for Lynch to block and would've gotten an arm around the quarterback.
At one point in the huddle a couple of the offensive linemen rallied the players to improve the protection, and the unit responded. It's Trent Edwards' huddle, but he doesn't mind if another player wants to make a comment.
"There was a time out there today where one of the offensive linemen called us up and said something and there are opportunities for guys like Brad Butler and Langston to say something in there," said Edwards. "It's nice when you have that sort of dialogue where they feel comfortable saying things."
Morning highlightsLee Evans and Terrell Owens were again busy men in practice as they have been on the receiving end of the bulk of the pass plays with the first unit. Evans has been working in the intermediate area a lot through the first few practices, but did pull in a 40-yard bomb down the far sideline from Edwards as he got behind Leodis McKelvin and Donte Whitner for what would have been a touchdown.
Edwards meanwhile found Owens wide open on a deep crossing route on a busted coverage that would have resulted in a touchdown as well. Owens also pulled a double move to get open for a 30-yard reception from
Overall Edwards is pretty happy with the progress he's made with his corps of wideouts in terms of re-establishing the timing and rhythm.
"When you haven't been throwing with receivers for four or five weeks, getting on the same page with all those guys is important," he said. "You're always trying to understand all of their idiosyncracies when they're to running routes. I have to make sure when I step up to the line of scrimmage I know the difference between Terrell's comeback route and Lee's comeback route."
"It's more so with Trent (Edwards)," said Owens. "Trying to gauge my gait, how fast I am, what I do before I go in and out of breaks. It's all about timing. I think that's what the OTAs and the minicamps are for. We've gotten in rhythm and we're definitely trying to get on the same page."
Roscoe Parrish made a couple of nice plays in the passing game including a difficult catch on a deep out where he shielded the defender with his body to make the play before going out of bounds.
Steve Johnson made his first big play of camp pulling in a 45-yard bomb from Fitzpatrick for a touchdown.
Defensively, Leodis McKelvin had a pass breakup, Spencer Johnson had a quarterback pressure and Kyle Williams had the move of the day in the trenches when he cleared his path with what looked like a toss block as he cleared the opposing offensive lineman right out of his way.
Kawika Mitchell has a pass defensed as well as Bryan Scott.
Shawn Nelson predicted he'd see more reps than he did in his first practice Saturday afternoon after signing his contract and he was right. In fact Nelson was even sprinkled in with the first unit during 7-on-7 as he lined up at the traditional tight end spot on the line.
Nelson saw reps during 11-on-11 with the second and third teams at both tight end and split out wide. He did not pull in a reception in the Sunday morning practice.
At the nickel position, Reggie Corner is still the first team nickel man in the slot, with Ashton Youboty the second nickel and veteran Drayton Florence the third.
In the afternoon practice there was a change at middle linebacker. Marcus Buggs ran as the backup middle linebacker behind Paul Posluszny for the first three practices of camp. But Sunday afternoon veteran Pat Thomas ran with the second unit at the 'mike.'
Thomas missed some time with an injury in spring camp, but feels he can draw on his experience in his two previous defensive systems.
"I played in Jacksonville and Kansas City and this defense here is like a mixture of both," said Thomas. "So it's good that I played in two other 4-3 systems that apply here."
Chris Ellis also remained at right defensive end with the second unit for the second straight practice.
Injury updateNot practicing Sunday were Marcus Stroud and running back Justise Hairston. Head coach Dick Jauron revealed that Stroud could be watching practice for up to a week after tweaking his hamstring Saturday afternoon.
"It may be one of those five to seven (days)," said Jauron. "We're going to make sure it's OK before we get him back on the field."
The news is worse for running back Justise Hairston as it appears his injury suffered in the first practice is season ending.
"That was so disappointing for the young man to get hurt in literally a walk-through," said Jauron. "It was so freakish, it involved no contact at all. It's a knee injury, and we think it may be a season ending injury. It's very, very disappointing for us, and extremely disappointing for the young man."
The timing of the passing game was noticeably better for the second and third units in the afternoon practice session. Ryan Fitzpatrick took more shots down the field and was rewarded.
Roscoe Parrish made a couple of plays for him including an acrobatic grab that he held up to the crowd to show that he made the catch.
Steve Johnson made a great catch along the far sideline as he twisted and turned in the air to pull the pass in.
P.K. Sam made a difficult catch with a defender draped all over him. Unfortunately linebacker Marcus Buggs stripped the ball from him after the catch drawing the ire of receivers coach Tyke Tolbert.
Jonathan Stupar made another nice play for the second day in a row with a high reaching grab while backpedaling toward the sideline on a throw from Fitzpatrick.
Buffalo's top two wideouts made some plays as well. Terrell Owens caught a few big gainers, with his best coming on a route he turned inside out. Owens ran what looked like a square-in made the catch and with his defender overplaying him to the inside, made a spin move and bolted down the sideline for what would have been a touchdown.
Lee Evans however, had the play of the day as he out jumped two defenders to pull in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Edwards.
"It's one of the ones that you know you just took a chance on," said Evans. "That's one of the things where we're trying to get him [Edwards] too. Sometimes things aren't perfect, but you've got to take a chance sometimes and it worked out on that play. It wasn't the perfect look but he just took a chance."
Defensively there were some plays made too. Aaron Schobel had a quarterback pressure.
Terrence McGee had a pass breakup on a throw intended for Owens.
Ellis Lankster had an interception on a throw intended for Steve Johnson over the middle.
Chris Ellis had a would be sack on a good rush off the edge.
And Ko Simpson notched his first interception of camp on a pass that was initially deflected by Drayton Florence.
Pads practice Monday
The players will put the pads on for the first time Monday with practice scheduled for 11:10am, and most of them are looking forward to it.
"I love practicing in pads," said Chris Kelsay. "A lot of the drills we do in sweats, the tempo isn't much different. We practice hard. We've always had a group of guys that practice just as hard as they play regardless of if the pads are on or off. There are a lot of collisions, a lot of contact, but I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the younger guys, especially the rookies, help the tempo get picked up just a little bit. It'll just be good to get the pads back on."