With Friday being the fourth straight day in pads for the Bills, head coach Dick Jauron lightened the workload a bit for some of his veteran players. Chris Kelsay, Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Stroud were some of the primary beneficiaries as they had fewer reps in team work.
"Kawika had soreness and tenderness and kind of going into the day (head athletic trainer) Bud (Carpenter) and I talked about he and Marcus (Stroud) and Chris Kelsay, and some of our guys that aren't old guys, but that have experience and have played a lot of football to kind of back them off a little bit," said Jauron. "We'll go hard (Saturday) and then they'll have almost a two day break there to re-cooperate and get into the next week."
Mitchell's replacement was an interesting choice as John DiGiorgio lined up with the first unit on the weak side. Keith Ellison continued to fill in for Angelo Crowell (knee) on the strong side.
DiGiorgio was lining up there with the ones prior to Alvin Bowen's serious knee injury, so being put on the outside was a conscious decision by the coaching as they obviously consider him an option there. He's certainly fast and athletic enough to play on the outside in addition to holding down his reserve middle linebacker duties.
Seeing a lot of action at left defensive end with the first unit in place of Kelsay was third-round pick Chris Ellis who held his own. Ellis had a fumble recovery on the day. On the opposite side was Copeland Bryan as he filled in for the absent Aaron Schobel (excused).
John McCargo stepped in for Stroud with the first unit next to Kyle Williams.
Offensively, Derek Fine continues to get a handful of reps here and there with the first team offense. He's made a play or two here or there in the passing game. Fine isn't flashy just steady and it appears that's earned him some playing time with the starters on occasion the past two days.
James Hardy and Steve Johnson are both working their way back to being full go. The two rookie receivers did participate in individual work at practice, but have not been cleared for team work in practice to this point.
"It was a little bit tight," said Jauron of Hardy's hamstring. "But he said it felt a lot better than (Thursday). And Steve (Johnson) did a little more than that so we're hoping that he'll tolerate (the work) well and then (Saturday) he'll be full go. James will do a little more (Saturday), and just move away from these things."
Taking advantage of their absence in team work have been Felton Huggins and Scott Mayle. At times in the spring both practice squad wideouts had some drops here and there, but thus far in camp both Mayle and Huggins have been more consistent on their receptions. Huggins had a touchdown catch from Gibran Hamdan during red zone work Friday.
Simpson backAfter missing two days due to a scare with his surgically repaired left ankle Ko Simpson was back with the first unit as if nothing had happened.
The MRI revealed a bone bruise on his ankle. The doctors told Simpson it had nothing to do with his previous injury.
"It was great for the MRI to come back negative," said Simpson. "It puts your mind at ease and to just come out here and move forward."
Simpson admitted he was afraid the tingling feeling and pain he felt in his foot was due to a complication with his surgically repaired ankle suffered in the opener last season.
"I was kind of nervous," admitted Simpson. "It's just getting back out there when something like this happens. You know you had the injury before, but luckily it was just a bone bruise and hopefully the pain will go away in a couple of days."
Early in 7-on-7 Roscoe Parrish pulled in a long ball down the near sideline from J.P. Losman for a 50-yard gain.
Terrence McGee got some big air when he leaped high to break up a pass in the end zone intended for Josh Reed.
Robert Royal scored for the second straight day pulling in a touchdown pass from J.P. Losman on a post pattern. And the aforementioned Felton Huggins had a touchdown reception in red zone work as well.
Lee Evans again made more than his share of plays including a nice touchdown reception thanks to some solid protection from the offensive line as Edwards had a ton of time to throw.
Speaking of the offensive line they did a nice job of opening holes in the run game as they had more consistency. Fred Jackson knifed through a big hole on the left side and had a couple of other solid runs with big lanes.
Derek Schouman also made a nice diving catch to convert a third down play during two-minute drill work.
Defensively, Jabari Greer had a pass breakup working against Lee Evans, Reggie Corner had a pass breakup that could have been an interception.
Kyle Williams recorded a sack as he looped around on a stunt to make the play. Kennard Cox had a pass breakup in the end zone. Teraz McCray had a good pressure up the middle.
Will James suffered a groin injury early in practice and had to come out.
"William tweaked something on the long ball play, so we took the being conservative approach there, too," said Jauron. "I believe Bud (Carpenter) said it was a groin."
No word on whether James will be fit to practice on Saturday.
Angelo Crowell continues to sit though his ailing knee doesn't appear as stiff as it was a few days ago.
Can jam before Kan jam
Back when Drew Bledsoe was quarterbacking the Bills he and the backup signal callers participated in a drill in which they stand between the hashes and try to drop fade passes into a double-size garbage can sitting in the corner of the end zone.
Bills quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt was a part of that drill back then and has revived it. Right away a friendly competition between the quarterbacks began.
The target is actually one inverted garbage can with another fused to the top of it sitting upright. So the top of the can is about seven feet high.
Trent Edwards, J.P. Losman and Gibran Hamdan started at the five-yard line, then moved to the 10 and finally the 15. Footballs that glance off the rim of the garbage can are one point while dropping the ball into the can is worth two.
When all was said and done, Losman had the most passes into the can with two, by my count, while Edwards and Hamdan had one apiece. Edwards had a handful of rim shots as did Losman including a seemingly impossible ball that went in and out.