And on the seventh day of Bills training camp a host of veterans rested. A number of Buffalo's veteran players were given a practice off Friday afternoon including Lee Evans, Terrence McGee, Terrell Owens and Aaron Schobel. Head coach Dick Jauron felt it was time.
"The reasoning, for some of them they just need a day off," said Jauron. "They've worked awfully hard this first week. Lee and Terrell run a lot of routes and we've been low at the receiver position and we got a couple of guys back for this practice so we thought it'd be good to give them a break. Aaron Schobel speaks for himself and Terrence McGee always works so hard. We've got a good idea of what these players can do for us."
Outside of executing hand-offs in practice Trent Edwards was another player that got the majority of the practice off. Jauron said it's because his quarterback is ahead on his pitch count.
"Trent's got a lot of throws, really more than we planned for in this first week and we just want to make sure we monitor that," said Jauron.
Jauron said Edwards is up around 200 throws already and they only want him to throw 450-600 passes through the course of camp.
As a result a lot of reserve players got a lot more reps in the practice setting including running back Dominic Rhodes who relished the extra work.
"It's good for guys like myself," Rhodes said. "Obviously, this is my first year in the offense and I'm trying to soak up as much as I can with this offensive line – you know, the plays. And it's also good for guys who might need a rest because training camp is a grueling time of year. It's a good thing in both aspects of younger guys learning and guys who are just now getting here learning and guys who just need a little rest."
"It was great," said Ryan Fitzpatrick of the additional snaps. "Anytime you can get extra reps like me, certainly in a new offense and everything, I'll take them. It's good to work with that one offensive line unit and just the communication and tempo. Today was a day we worked on some specialty stuff like a tight red zone and some four minute stuff. But anytime I can get extra reps, I love it."
C.J. Hawthorne came off of PUP Friday and jumped right into his first practice. He was to be limited, but showed no ill effects coming off his foot surgery so he eventually got a full workload.
"We wanted to ease him in to some degree, but watching him practice it didn't appear to me that he repped any less than anyone else," said Jauron. "He said he felt good. He'll have to ice and see how he feels tomorrow. He's been so automatic. He's just always out there running. It was kind of a shock when he got hurt initially, so hopefully he's fully back."
Lineup changesWith a handful of starters out there was some lineup juggling. Ryan Denney filled in at starting right defensive end for Schobel. Justin Jenkins, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish rotated through to help spell the top two wideouts. And Ashton Youboty was the starting left cornerback in place of Terrence McGee.
Drayton Florence is holding onto the first nickel role as he practiced there for a third straight day. Reggie Corner worked as the second nickel.
On the offensive line rookies Eric Wood and Andy Levitre appeared to get a few more reps with the starters, but Kirk Chambers and Seth McKinney are still part of a guard rotation with the ones.
There was a lot of red zone work including down tight inside the 15-yard line. Xavier Omon found the end zone on a catch from Gibran Hamdan as he got up the field before the defense wrapped him up.
Fred Jackson found the end zone after pulling in a pass from Hamdan was well.
Marshawn Lynch had some quality rushes dipping and darting for extra yardage.
Josh Reed had the catch of the day when he leaped from behind Reggie Corner, reached his arms around the cornerback and plucked the ball out of the air for a reception along the far sideline.
And Shaine Smith pulled in a touchdown pass from Hamdan. Smith has blended in well the first couple of days, especially considering that he was coming in cold with little knowledge of Buffalo's offensive system.
"He's done a nice job," said Jauron. "Really good attitude, came in and was clearly fit, which is a big part particularly when you're looking for a receiver to come in and participate immediately. By being fit you know he's serious about what he's doing. He wants a chance, he wants a chance to play and get into somebody's camp and he got that chance. He's taken advantage of it so far."
On the defensive side of things, Bryan Scott had a pass breakup as he jarred the ball loose from Fred Jackson before he could secure his reception.
Ashton Youboty had a pair of pass breakups including one that was intended for Justin Jenkins outside.
George Wilson broke up a pass from Hamdan that was intended for Derek Fine in the red zone.
Marcus Stroud had a "sack" on Matt Baker when he broke right up the middle.
Alvin Bowen also had a "sack" on Hamdan as he got to the quarterback before the pass was gone.
Chris Ellis had a tackle for loss and Kyle Williams had a stop for no gain.
Much the way the two-minute drill went for the defense on Thursday, so went the four-minute drill work on Friday.
The offense had the ball and the lead with four minutes remaining and the defense had a pair of timeouts. Naturally the offense is trying to run out the clock while the defense is trying to force a punt and get the ball back, while not letting too much time on the clock run off.
On all three series the defense got the stops they needed. There was very little room provided in the run game as the defensive line and linebackers effectively stacked the line of scrimmage.
Chris Ellis had a tackle for loss forcing a punt on the second series, while Kyle Williams had a stop for no gain that led to a third and long that the offense failed to convert.
"You definitely want to stop the clock when you can and you have to go three and out and you have to get off the field," said Scott. "Use timeouts wisely, create no penalties and get off the field and we did a good job of it today."
Scrimmage Saturday?Usually after the first week of camp is complete, the coaches hold a scrimmage for most of the younger players to showcase their skills in more of a game like setting, especially with NFL officials on hand. At this point Dick Jauron and his staff are up in the air on it.
"We'll talk about it, but our numbers are so low that we have to structure it," said Jauron. "We did it last year and we structured it, so we'll have a discussion about it later if we're going to do it."
Players are scheduled to hit the field at 10:20 am.