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Practice Notes - Day 9

The offense appeared to have the better of the play on Monday as they were relatively successful finding the end zone during red zone work. Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick were particularly sharp with their passes and decision making.

On Fitzpatrick's first play from scrimmage in 7-on-7 he hit Shawn Nelson for a strike over the middle and his day went from there.  Unofficially he was 9-14 with two touchdowns. It may have been his best practice thus far in camp.

"I'm feeling a lot more comfortable now," Fitzpatrick said. "I think it was good to get through the OTAs, digest the system a little bit, to have some off time to really go through the playbook and now coming out here with the reps I'm feeling a lot more comfortable."

Fitzpatrick's most athletic play came when he rolled away from pressure to his left and on the run threw to a streaking Roscoe Parrish who was breaking toward the same sideline as the quarterback for a first down completion.

One of the other players Fitzpatrick made use of in the pass game was rookie Shawn Nelson who returned from an ankle injury that's forced him to miss a good portion of the first week of camp.
Nelson however, jumped right back into the lineup and made some plays. Five plays after making the catch from Hamdan, he pulled in a 35-yard touchdown pass on what looked like a blown coverage by the defense. He also pulled in a short pass in the flat from Trent Edwards.

"That was really good to see him out there," said head coach Dick Jauron. "He needs every rep he can get. We got him a good deal of work today, maybe a little more than we planned."

Also rejoining the lineup full time was defensive tackle John McCargo, who ran with the second unit alongside Spencer Johnson.

Butler injured
Brad Butler suffered a lower back injury early in practice and was escorted to the locker room by the team's training staff. Jauron is hopeful it is not a long term injury.

"Brad kind of hurt his low back in a drill," said Jauron. "I didn't see the play so I don't know exactly what happened. Bud took him in and examined him and we'll see where it goes. He's hoping, he's optimistic that it's not a long term thing so we'll all keep believing that and hopefully that's what it'll be."

Replacing Butler in the lineup at right tackle was veteran Kirk Chambers.

Leodis McKelvin missed practice Monday as he was given a rest day. Other non-participants were DT David Lindquist, Steve Johnson, Copeland Bryan and Marcus Smith.

Lineup changes
For the first time in training camp rookies Andy Levitre and Eric Wood got all of the first team reps Monday. For Levitre it marks two straight days he's had that opportunity with Chambers sitting out Saturday's practice.

"It's been good," said Levitre. "There's good competition on the other side of the ball. I'm getting good reps and everything is a little bit faster. I'm going against guys that have been here for a while so you have to think faster. I love the competition. I'm learning every day, getting a little bit better."

Drayton Florence was getting first team cornerback reps with Leodis McKelvin getting a rest day Monday. McKelvin has been dealing with a minor quad strain and the staff elected to keep him off it an extra day.

Reggie Corner meanwhile ran as a the first nickel with Florence moved up on the depth chart.

Dustin Fox returned to practice off injury and ran with the third team at free safety.

At tight end Derek Schouman was given a ringing endorsement for the starting job by Dick Jauron following practice on Monday. When asked if Schouman had taken control of the position the head coach answered in the affirmative.

"Yeah I do," said Jauron. "He's got to come through for us and he knows that. There's pressure on him. He's a great effort player and he's a tough guy. And he's pretty athletic. Now he's gaining more and more experience and he's playing better and better all the time. We're excited about him because we're so young at that position and he's so critical to that position."   

HighlightsOne place where Schouman came through was right at the end of practice when he beat his coverage to the front right corner of the end zone to reach inside the pylon for a touchdown on the last play of a one-minute hurry up drill where the offense had to get the ball in the end zone.
Earlier in practice Schouman also was wide open in the back of the end zone during 7-0n-7.

"I believe he's going to need to step up in that area," said Trent Edwards of . "They're going to take away those outside guys. Derek Schouman and Derek Fine are going to need to be guys that step up over the middle for us. Down in the red zone those tight ends are going to need to be there for us."

Schouman also had a nice looking play as he slipped down the seam for a 20-yard pass play.

Other offensive highlights included a 35-yard touchdown catch by Shawn Nelson, who returned to practice and made three receptions on the afternoon.

Shaine Smith continues to make the most of his opportunities as he pulled in a touchdown catch after getting behind the cornerback and safety for a score in 7-on-7.

Justin Jenkins ran a sharp route as he got enough separation to pull in a touchdown in the front left corner of the end zone on a throw from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Lee Evans had a couple of big plays including a well-timed play over the middle with Trent Edwards. He also got behind the defense on the first play of 11-on-11 when Edwards hit him for a 55-yard pass play that got the offense down to the goal line.

Terrell Owens caught more of his balls underneath on Monday.

Derek Fine had a good catch over the middle.

Felton Huggins had a nice catch in the deep middle from Fitzpatrick that would have set up a first and goal.

On defense Terrence McGee had a pair of pass breakups both against Owens, with one coming in the end zone.

Kyle Williams and Ryan Denney both had "sacks" in practice.

Ashlee Palmer had a pass breakup during 11-on-11.

Spencer Johnson and Marcus Buggs teamed up on a tackle for loss on a run by Xavier Omon.

Aaron Schobel had a quarterback pressure that led to a play for no gain.

Alvin Bowen had a nice stick at the line of scrimmage on a run play.

Pat Thomas had a tackle for loss late in practice in 11-on-11.

And John McCargo had a batted pass during team work.

Four minute drillThe Bills ran a couple of series of their four-minute drill where the offense has the lead and is trying to run out the clock.

The first unit offense got the clock down to the two-minute warning successfully even though the defense stopped the clock once with a timeout.

The second unit fared just as well getting to the two minute warning before the segment came to a close.

Buffalo resumes their night practice schedule Tuesday with the player s scheduled to take the field at 7:10 pm.

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