The smallest player on the field had the biggest impact at the Bills first night practice of training camp as Roscoe Parrish electrified the crowd in attendance with some big plays in the passing game.
All of them came in the 11-on-11 team work portion of the night practice. After pulling in an intermediate reception on the third play from scrimmage, Parrish went deep two plays later. Lined up as an outside receiver Parrish ran a go route on the fifth play of the series got behind Ashton Youboty and J.P. Losman timed his pass well for a 60-yard touchdown hookup with the ball doing all the work.
The crowd loved it as those in attendance cheered boisterously.
"Well J.P. did a good job throwing the ball downfield and earlier this offseason I said I wanted to help contribute on offense as much as possible this year," said Parrish. "J.P. threw the ball well down the field and that's what we have to continue to do to get better each day out here."
"Some big plays tonight," said head coach Dick Jauron. "It's a controlled practice so you don't know what would occur in a real game, but the timing was good and the throws were good. Roscoe has got unique skills. It was good to see it."
What has Losman encouraged is if Parrish can emerge as another deep threat for Buffalo's offense it will make teams pay for giving too much attention to top receiver Lee Evans.
"That takes a lot of pressure off Lee," said Losman. "Being able to hit another guy deep other than Lee is going to be huge. On that play they rolled over the top of Lee and so here we go with Roscoe. Once we establish that and do it consistently it's going to be dangerous."
Parrish had another long reception six plays later and also gained yardage on a receiver screen. He had five catches on the night.
The diminutive wideout has been adamant about creating a new persona for himself as a receiver first and dispel the label of him being a specialty receiver. He took a step in the right direction as his 60-yard scoring play happened while he was lined up outside and not in his familiar slot position.
"That's a big key and what I'm trying to prove," he said. "If I'm going to be a receiver first I've got to know how to play outside as well as inside."
But whether he'll ever be a full time number two wideout remains to be seen as the coaching staff has a genuine concern about his durability over a 16-game season if he were a full-time starter.
"He's not a very big guy so we've got to be careful that we don't wear him out which we could do," said Jauron. "He's maybe the quickest athlete that I've ever been around. So he's got unique skills in the return game, as a pass receiver and we've just got to fit it in. We've got to get him the ball in different ways. Get the ball in his hands and let him make plays. That's what we'll try to do and walk that fine line of what is too much in practice and in the game."
The run drill saw highlights on both sides of the ball by the men up front. Kyle Williams, who for the second year in a row is having a strong camp, totally plugged up the middle on a run play for Anthony Thomas preventing him from getting beyond the line of scrimmage. Four plays later Williams blew up the offensive line by himself and wrapped up Shaud Williams five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Williams was in on so many plays in this period that defensive line coach Bill Kollar boomed.
"Whoa, it looks like there are three jerseys with number 95 out here!"
Chris Kelsay knifed through the offensive line on one play and stopped Dwayne Wright.
On the other side of the ball, Aaron Merz had a nice block leading for Marshawn Lynch. Langston Walker had back-to-back plays that were impressive. On one Donte Whitner tried to execute a run blitz and was rag dolled 10 yards into the backfield by Walker as he almost rolled into the players that stand 10 yards behind the play waiting to sub in. The next play Walker crashed down inside on John McCargo on the back side of a running play and buried the defensive tackle who didn't have any hope of pursuing the play.
O-Line, D-Line 1-on-1s
The offensive and defensive linemen got after it and the guards and tackles also worked in pairs at times. Jason Whittle had two successful reps against Jason Jefferson. Brad Butler buried McCargo, who did not have his best practice. Although on the next play McCargo successfully tied up the guard and tackle by himself allowing Ryan Denney to get to the quarterback.
McCargo's best move came a few snaps later as he redeemed himself against Butler. At the snap he took a quick step to the inside and Butler bit hard, failed to get a hand on McCargo and the defensive tackle ran right around him to the outside without getting touched. Butler slapped his own helmet in frustration. McCargo seemed to work best in a tandem with Chris Kelsay.
Larry Tripplett put a nice move on Aaron Merz. Kyle Williams had two good reps against Duke Preston. On the first he made a quick rip move to get past him and on the next snap he effectively bull-rushed him. And Anthony Hargrove had a good bull rush on Terrance Pennington.
In the passing game Lynch had a nice reception deep down the left sideline from Losman after lining up wide. Shaud Williams was a bigger factor coming out of the backfield as he caught a bullet from Craig Nall over the middle. Nall also hit two more passes right after that one, a sharp throw to Jonathan Smith and another to Lee Evans. Perhaps Buffalo's backup QB has finally found his groove.
Fred Jackson also had some quality receptions as the back were a big part of the passing game.
Defensively Angelo Crowell had a pass breakup, but he was unhappy because he felt he should have come up with an interception.
Lee Evans had a touchdown on a fade route while Peerless Price scored on a post pattern.
There weren't many highlights in 11-on-11 aside from those turned in by Parrish, but Ko Simpson and Kiwaukee Thomas did have a pass breakups.
DiGiorgio and Webster sit
Middle linebacker John DiGiorgio did not participate for the second straight practice due to a hip flexor injury.
"We thought we'd catch it early," said Jauron. "(Head athletic trainer) Bud (Carpenter) thought that missing today might get him back for us tomorrow or maybe a day later. We're hoping it's nothing serious."
In his absence Paul Posluszny took all the first team reps and played alongside Angelo Crowell in the first team nickel package despite turning his ankle during individual drills himself.
Jason Webster also sat out with a tight hamstring that he couldn't loosen up early in practice.
"We just thought we wouldn't push it, so we held him out," said Jauron. "And actually at this point it's probably good to get some other guys out there to take more reps and get a better look."
Getting a lot of reps at right corner in Webster's place was Jabari Greer, while Ashton Youboty saw a lot of work in the slot on nickel packages. Rookie free agent Riley Swanson who is currently running as one of the third team corners got some snaps with the second team here and there and also worked in at second team nickel.
Late in the practice Anthony Hargrove tweaked his hamstring and didn't finish.