It wasn't so much the impending rain moving in Tuesday afternoon that cut Bills practice short so much as the lightning that was shooting through the sky all around the St. John Fisher campus. With about a half hour left in Buffalo's practice session, fans was asked to exit the stadium and the players moved their practice into the Fieldhouse.
"We have a great communication system with some area people about their lightning horns going off and so we try to monitor that closely," said head coach Chan Gailey. "Our head trainer Bud (Carpenter) keeps in close contact with me and we have to get off that field before the lightning gets close."
The Bills finished up practice in walk-through fashion in the Fieldhouse getting through their final 30 team reps.
"Yeah, it is tough," said Mario Williams. "We do not have a bubble here, so what can you do. We just come in and take the physical out of it. But you have to be mentally prepared and on top of your game. It is actually a good way to come in, actually see things a little bit slower."
"At least we've got something that we can go in and get a feel for it and get communication," Gailey said. "And that's about what it's for. It's about communication only."
Pass breakupsDefensive players were active in the passing lanes on Tuesday as there were a good number of breakups before the foul weather arrived.
Among the players with passes defensed were Jairus Byrd, Tank Carder, Nick Barnett and Aaron Williams. Safety Da'Norris Searcy one upped them with an interception off Ryan Fitzpatrick on a throw down the deep middle of the field intended for Scott Chandler.
Search has been worked in a rotation of sorts subbing in for starters George Wilson and Jairus Byrd at times with the first defensive unit.
"We're trying to work him in there and see what he can do," said Gailey. "We're trying to bring his communication level up. George is unbelievable at that. We've got to get him some reps. You don't ever know what grouping is going to be in there so you have to get everybody playing with everybody that needs to get in there."
For all the highlights from Tuesday you can go to the Media Center at Buffalobills.com.
Run gameThere was a bit more emphasis on the ground game offensively during the team periods of practice. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both had some quality rushes during the 11-on-11 session.
Jackson chalks up their success in the run game to the continuity the group has on offense.
"This is the third year in this offense and we kind of know what we're doing and that puts you ahead of the game," said Fred Jackson. "Hopefully we can continue to work in a positive manner."
The inside zone run plays were Buffalo's bread and butter when it came to the ground attack. Andy Levitre believes their consistent execution on those plays is what made them successful last year even when the opponent knew what was coming. He expects that trend to continue this fall.
"For us as an offensive line it comes down to technique," he said. "So as long as we stick to the techniques we've been taught and execute the play there's no reason why even if they knew the play that we couldn't gain yards off of it."
No favorites yetChan Gailey was non-committal when he was asked questions about some of the more notable position battles. One competition he did not seem all that pleased with to this point was the left tackle battle.
"Nope. Too early," said Gailey when asked if there was a frontrunner emerging. "Don't know how that one is going to end. Don't even have an inkling. Really don't."
Tuesday was Chris Hairston's turn to run with the first unit.
Gailey was then asked if he liked what he was getting from the position from both Cordy Glenn and Chris Hairston. Here was his response.
"We've got some work to do," he said.
At number two quarterback Gailey doesn't see any separation either.
"They both have not done anything to distance themselves from the other. Neither one of them have done anything," he said. "Both of them some things are good one day and some things about bad one day. We just have to keep letting them play."
Meanwhile the number two receiver battle has been slightly altered by the absence of David Nelson in the lineup. With Nelson out with his strained tendon, Donald Jones has been working out of the slot in his place. Taking his reps outside has been Derek Hagan, who had a nice 55-yard touchdown reception from Vince Young in practice Tuesday on a mismatch in coverage.
"Really they're all kind of competing right now and we're trying to make decisions," said receivers coach Bob Bicknell. "It's all about where they fit and how they fit. I just can't be happier with the way they've worked."
Injury updatesDavid Nelson is still sidelined with the aforementioned tendon injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to find the silver lining without his main slot receiver on the field.
"It is kind of like the OTAs and the mini-camps when Stevie (Johnson) was not out there," Fitzpatrick said. "It is good to try to work and get some sort of relationship with some of the other guys. Stevie is a guy that I have 100 percent confidence in. David is a guy that I have 100 percent confidence in. I think we are on the same page with a lot of stuff, so I want him out there more than anything. But I think maybe it is a good thing to get some other guys in there and try to establish a better relationship with them. And then have David back healthy in a few days."
Justin Rogers (hamstring), Kellen Heard (ankle) also remain out of action.
Added to the non-participation list Tuesday was RB Johnny White, who did not dress for practice and rookie RB Chris Douglas, who was injured during practice and left early.
RT Erik Pears returned to practice, but was very limited only doing individual position drills.
Other observationsH-back Dorin Dickerson got the most reps he's had with the starting offense thus far in camp Tuesday. Dickerson had a strong spring and needs to carry that play into camp when given the opportunity. He was targeted a few times in the afternoon session.
David Clowney turned in his first big play of camp with a 40-yard gainer on a deep ball down the right sideline from Brad Smith.
Ron Brooks saw some time in the slot in one of Buffalo's dime packages and also ran as the second string right cornerback with Justin Rogers still out of the lineup. Terrence McGee ran opposite him on the left side, but still isn't full speed.
Prince Miller saw some slot work as well defensively in the team's second nickel package.
Still no team reps for Eric Wood with Kraig Urbik still manning the starting center spot and Chad Rinehart spelling him at right guard.
Spencer Johnson got some reps with the first unit at defensive tackle in place of Marcell Dareus.
Kickers Rian Lindell and John Potter both attempted very long field goals. Just shy of midfield both attempted 59 yarders. Both had the distance. It was difficult from a sideline angle to determine if Lindell's kick was good, but Potter's did appear to go through.
ScheduleThe Bills second night practice of camp is Wednesday. The start time is scheduled for 6:30 pm.
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