The Bills coaching staff has kept a pretty brisk pace with installation through this first week of training camp. Though it's not too much to handle for the returning players it might prove challenging for some of the rookies. All the players will get a breather from all the install Wednesday when they get the day off. As for Tuesday's practice however, there was a noticeable focus on the quick passing game with 'now' routes and screen passes.
"We went into the season with the conscious effort to become a better screen team," said head coach Chan Gailey. "The only way you do that is to work on it. As ugly as it looks sometimes you've got to keep working on it to give yourself a chance to be better."
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick believes the faster he gets it out of his hands the better the chances for one of his backs or receivers to make a play.
"We're in a position right now where we have a lot of playmakers and a lot of guys we want to get touches," he said. "In order to find touches for those guys some of it is going to have to be quicker throws and getting it out and seeing what they can do with it. We think we've got four or five guys that we can get involved in that screen game other than the running backs and they can do good things with the ball."
The execution of the screen game and some of the other quick hitting plays is still a work in progress this early in camp.
Cook shelved for a monthUndrafted rookie cornerback Domonic Cook did not get the news he was looking for concerning his injured right knee. Cook who was injured over the weekend got a prognosis that's going to keep him off the field beyond the length of training camp.
"It's not good for him," said Gailey. "It's quite a while actually. At least a month."
Cook was doing well his first couple of days at practice. Now he'll miss at least the first three preseason games.
Still sidelined are Marcus Easley and Kelvin Sheppard. Shawn Nelson had a bit of scare when his leg got rolled up at the end of a play during 11-on-11 team work. He hobbled to the side, but coach Gailey said he should be okay to go come Thursday as he has all of Wednesday to rest up and recover.
Coleman gets first team repsSecond-year pass rush Antonio Coleman was just starting to hit his stride last season as a rookie and in his first start on defense last season he tore his MCL and was promptly put on injured reserve.
Now back healthy Coleman has been seeing some reps here and there with the first team defense at their Jack linebacker position in place of Shawne Merriman, whose reps are being controlled.
"I think it's just good for me to be back off my injury and I'm 110 percent," said Coleman. "(Chris) Kelsay and (Shawne) Merriman, those are our leaders, so whenever they're out I just try to pick up the slack."
Coleman has seen time at both the SAM and Jack linebacker positions on the outside thus far in camp.
McGee's slot work an experimentTerrence McGee has seen an awful lot of work in the slot during his first few days of camp in Buffalo's nickel package. It's been quite a while since McGee lined up inside, but he's fared well shadowing the likes of Roscoe Parrish most of the time.
Moving McGee into the slot was partly out of necessity for the coaching staff with Reggie Corner on Active PUP to start camp and Drayton Florence unable to participate in practice.
"We talked about who might be going in there with Reggie out so we said let's look at him in there and see what he looks like," said Gailey. "We're going to experiment with several guys to end up seeing what the best fit is for us this season. He obviously has great quickness and instincts and he may be a guy that can play in there and be something special."
Other players who figure to see time in the slot are the aforementioned Corner and rookies Aaron Williams and Justin Rogers.
Play of the dayThe play of the day in Tuesday's practice was turned in by Lee Evans, who pulled in a 40-yard dart from Ryan Fitzpatrick for a touchdown. The play got a rousing cheer from the fans on hand. After his production was at a single-season career low in 2010, Gailey is determined to get him more involved in the offense this season and he wants to do it by expanding Evans' game.
"We've got to get him to become a better underneath receiver," said Gailey. "We've got to give him things that he can do and let him work on those things that make him better as a short receiver. We know he's got the deep threat. He's always had that. We have to help him get better in the intermediate and short areas."
HighlightsThe accuracy of quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Levi Brown was much improved on Tuesday as they combined to complete their first 13 passes. There was only one incompletion the whole segment of 7-on-7 as the pair went 17-18 during the series.
They did get some help from their receivers. Tight end Mike Caussin made a diving catch along the near sideline for a first down on a throw from Brown.
Lee Evans expertly toed the sideline on an out route that went 15 yards.
Felton Huggins held onto a ball over the middle despite getting a good lick immediately after making the catch by safety Jon Corto.
In 11-on-11 however, the defensive front continued to get good penetration. Kyle Williams and Andra Davis teamed up to wrap up Fred Jackson in the backfield on two straight run plays.
C.J. Spiller and Johnny White also found trouble getting back to the line of scrimmage on consecutive run plays.
Eventually the offensive line was able to open a few holes with solid runs coming from undrafted rookie Vai Taua, Jackson and Spiller.
David Nelson pulled in a well thrown ball by Brown on the near sideline as he got two feet in on a cross pattern.
Johnny White made a difficult catch in tight coverage along the far sideline for a first down in 11-on-11. White also leaked out of the backfield at just the right time to provide an outlet for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was under a lot of pressure and took the ball up field for positive yardage.
Defensively, Reggie Torbor had a tackle for loss on a well read run play.
DT Kellen Heard laid a good shot on undrafted rookie running back Emmanuel Moody at the line of scrimmage knocking him to the ground.
Newly acquired DL Lionel Dotson had a quarterback pressure as did Bryan Scott during 11-on-11.
And Shawne Merriman continues to look quick off the snap as he tapped out Ryan Fitzpatrick for a 'would be' sack before Fitz got to the back of his drop. Merriman's play thus far has been nothing but encouraging.
"Shawne probably had a vision of where he wanted to be and what he thought he could do, but we didn't," said Bills Assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Dave Wannstedt. "When we showed up here, was it just going to be walk through or half speed tempo? This guy has done everything that every other player on this field has done. That's been a real positive to this point. "
Next practiceThe team is back on the practice field at 7:15 pm on Thursday.