The Bills closed practice with the drill every player and every fan looks forward to, live goal line. Head coach Chan Gailey had about 10 snaps on the call sheet with full tackling at the end of Sunday's practice. Though the offense got a pair of rushing touchdowns, the defense appeared to have the better of the series overall.
"I thought it was pretty intense for the first live action," said Gailey. "We'll get to do it one more time before we go to the first game, but that was good. For the first time it was good. Guys acted like they wanted to hit and you better act like that in this league."
Fred Jackson got the first touchdown for the offense as he rolled over the right side of the line despite great penetration by Torell Troup. The next play was a play action fake, but Ryan Fitzpatrick and David Martin couldn't connect.
Fitzpatrick had Stevie Johnson for a touchdown in the right corner of the end zone, but Terrence McGee made a great recovery and knocked the ball out of Johnson's hands before he could come down with it for the score.
That was followed by one of the better hits in the hole as linebacker Chris White stopped Johnny White at the line of scrimmage with an assist from Aaron Maybin.
C.J. Spiller got away from an initial tackler on the next play, but was stopped at the goal line by Reggie Torbor. White followed with a touchdown run on the next play for the offense as the line opened up a nice hole for him.
"I thought the penetration on the edges of our defense was really good," said Gailey. "After the first play they really dominated on the edges."
Anthony Elzy couldn't reach pay dirt on each of the next three plays, as fellow undrafted rookie Robert Eddins was in on all three tackles, getting an assist from Da'Norris Searcy on the last play.
"It's not the middle of the field. Goal line you're right down there with the dogs," said Marcell Dareus, who felt he did well getting his first taste of live NFL football. "There ain't too much technique. There ain't too much running around. You can't check. You can't run away from me. You've either got to run through me or I'm going to run through you. I'm going to push you off and make the play in the backfield and this is where the men come to play."
Florence to miss preseason opener?Drayton Florence left practice late Saturday night with what appeared to be a leg cramp, but it turned out to be a bit more than that.
"He got a sprained ankle when he got down here in the end zone on a catch yesterday and he'll be out, I don't know, four days, six days, I don't know how long," said Gailey. "Every guy is different when it comes to ankles."
With that kind of a timetable Gailey was asked if Florence would miss the preseason opener and Gailey answered in the affirmative. So it's likely that the veteran cornerback skips the preseason opener at Chicago on Saturday.
Leaving practice early on Sunday was LT Demetrius Bell. Gailey said Bell strained his shoulder, but that the injury is not considered serious. He's expected back on the practice field in a couple of days.
Other players still spectating were Donald Jones, Justin Rogers, Kelvin Sheppard, Shawn Nelson, Marcus Easley with a new addition DT Kellen Heard. Roscoe Parrish also shut it down before practice was over Sunday though his ailment was not disclosed.
Merriman, Williams back at itBack on the practice field were LB Shawne Merriman and rookie CB Aaron Williams. Merriman had missed the past two days with soreness in his leg. Williams meanwhile left Saturday night's practice early with a hand injury, but was good to go Sunday.
"It was just a hand injury," he said. "I just tape it up put a little cushion on it and I'll be fine."
Howard off PUPBills OL Cordaro Howard came off the Active PUP list Sunday and practiced with his teammates for the first time in training camp.
"I've been waiting for this day since camp started, get back out here with my brothers and get out here and just compete," he said. "There is a lot expected of us this year and I'm not trying to watch from the sideline."
Howard's reps were monitored closely Sunday as they don't want him doing too much. The second-year lineman, who appeared in 10 games as a rookie last season, still does not have 100 percent strength or endurance in the surgically repaired shoulder.
"Very slow and very steady," said Gailey of the approach with Howard. "He's coming off that surgery and you really want to work him back in slow, even though with Demetrius being out he's probably going to get thrown in there maybe a little faster than we would've liked."
Lineup notesWith Bell leaving practice before any team work began, Ed Wang was his replacement as the starting left tackle Sunday. Howard then ran with the second unit at left tackle with fourth-round pick Chris Hairston getting reps on the blind side with the third unit. Hairston has played most of camp at right tackle with the second unit.
Howard didn't take all of the reps at left tackle with the second unit, so Wang did double duty getting snaps with that group as well.
With Florence out Leodis McKelvin saw most of his reps at right cornerback.
On offense David Nelson stepped in for Roscoe Parrish, who did not do any team work, at the slot position.
HighlightsNaaman Roosevelt got the big plays started as he slipped behind two defenders and pulled in a long touchdown pass from Tyler Thigpen in 7-on-7.
Paul Hubbard turned in a couple of nice plays making a difficult catch along the sideline while defended closely by rookie Loyce Means. He also had a well-executed play during red zone work when Thigpen hit him on his back side shoulder for a score. He also showed good hands on a tight throw from Fitzpatrick on a slant as he got hit on the play.
Ryan Fitzpatrick found Lee Evans for a pair of touchdowns. The first on a fade pass to the right rear corner of the end zone for six. The other came in 11-on-11 when Fitzpatrick aired it out down the middle of the field to Evans for a 65-yard touchdown hook up.
Stevie Johnson pulled in a touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick during red zone work despite good coverage from Jairus Byrd.
Johnny White had a pair of explosive runs during 11-on-11, with one going for 20 yards.
Felton Huggins had a 25-yard reception on a throw from Thigpen down the far side.
Defensively, Reggie Corner broke up a pass intended for Craig Davis in the end zone from Thigpen.
Corner then got his hand on a pass intended for Johnson deep down the near sideline and the tipped pass went right to Jairus Byrd for an interception.
Kyle Williams had a pair of back-to-back plays, the first a tackle for loss on C.J. Spiller during 11-on-11. The very next play Williams again got penetration and tagged out Fitzpatrick for the 'would be' sack.
Bryan Scott filled a hole to stop Johnny White at the line of scrimmage.
Aaron Maybin appeared to tag out Thigpen for a sack during 11-on-11 work.
Marcell Dareus stopped Brad Smith at the line twice on quarterback keepers holding him to no gain.
Next practiceThe Bills have an afternoon practice Monday scheduled for 3:30 pm.