It was just a light drizzle when practice started, but that quickly turned to hard rain for most of the Bills practice session Wednesday. Head coach Dick Jauron intended to keep his team out in the wet weather for the entire practice, but when footing became an issue the team finished up the last few series of teamwork in the fieldhouse.
"You know what it is going to do here wind-wise, and snow-wise and cold weather-wise," said Jauron. "But we have no idea what it's going to do early in the season and we could easily get rain. The footing and how you compete and how you backpedal, how you turn, plant and drive, cutting, you have to work on those things because they're not easy."
Handling a wet ball did prove challenging at times for some of the receivers, but Jauron saw it as an opportunity to get accustomed to conditions that could very well exist in September and October.
"Our staff does a good job, but they can't keep the ball as dry as they do on game day, so the ball was pretty slick," said Jauron. "Something that we stressed on the offensive side was ball security, obviously after the last game and in all conditions. I thought they did a pretty good job handling it."
Lee Evans had one of the better fingertip grabs in the wet conditions in 7-on-7 when he fought Leodis McKelvin off and made a catch for a first down.
If Buffalo's pass defense through training camp in the practice setting is any indication the defensive backs are going to have far more than the 10 interceptions the defense had in 2008.
Wednesday was another day when several passes were challenged. Reggie Corner continued his strong preseason with a pass breakup early in 11-on-11. He also had an interception on a pass that deflected off the hands of C.J. Hawthorne.
During the team red zone period rookie Ellis Lankster had yet another INT on a Gibran Hamdan throw to the left corner of the end zone that was intended for Derek Fine.
In 7-on-7 Bryan Scott also had an interception on a throw by Trent Edwards.
Linebacker Keith Ellison had a pass breakup late during 7-on-7 work as well.
And after the team moved into the fieldhouse Ko Simpson picked off a pass that had Roscoe Parrish targeted.
Though the quarterbacks had it a bit tougher throwing wet and heavy footballs, the defensive backs got some credit from their head coach.
"Throwing it the ball at times was slick, but the defense made some good plays on it," said Jauron. "The defense had a good day and that's always good to see."
There were some offensive plays through the course of practice as well. In addition to Evans' strong fingertip grab, Roscoe Parrish had a touchdown reception from Ryan Fitzpatrick during red zone work.
Shawn Nelson reached high and fought tight coverage to pull in and hold on to a touchdown pass from Gibran Hamdan despite landing on his back.
Derek Schouman had a big gainer down the seam on a well-timed play with Fitzpatrick as he slipped past coverage on the play.
And Josh Reed had a long touchdown at the end of practice in 11-on-11, though the defense was claiming offensive pass interference for an alleged "push off."
With Demetrius Bell still not participating in practice, veteran Kirk Chambers lined up at left tackle with the second unit.
Ryan Denney continued to spell Aaron Schobel as the starting right defensive end.
Copeland Bryan continued to get reps as the right defensive end with the second unit, while Chris Ellis got reps with the third team defense.
Ko Simpson remains the second team free safety, while Jairus Byrd is still running with the third unit.
And starting left guard Andy Levitre got extra work with the second unit as well with Chambers moving out to left tackle.
In and out
Undrafted rookie Lydell Sargeant suffered a knee injury on Tuesday, but finished practice. But the injury worsened overnight.
"Lydell has a knee issue," said Jauron. "It's disappointing. I don't think it's going to allow him to play this week and then we'll see. They're doing more tests (Wednesday). This morning he couldn't do much."
Also not practicing were Felton Huggins, Jackson, Sargeant, Drayton Florence, Demetrius Bell, Aaron Schobel, Terrell Owens and James Hardy.
Owens did do more work with the trainers on Wednesday. His footwork was expanded as some long runs were added on to his work with the rope ladder that lays on the field. It appeared as though Owens felt comfortable pushing himself a bit more.
Returning to practice on a limited basis were linebackers Pat Thomas and Ashlee Palmer. Palmer is a bit further ahead of Thomas as the rookie participated in all of the individual positions drills. Thomas did not do very much on Wednesday.
The Bills have a Thursday practice scheduled for 11:35.