It was a great night for football fans as perfect weather greeted the Bills faithful at St. John Fisher Tuesday night, but by the end of practice there were three veterans watching the action as well.
Right from the start Angelo Crowell and J.P. Losman were spectators. Crowell was dealing with a sore left knee, and Losman had a jammed thumb on his throwing hand.
"He hit his thumb on a helmet in practice yesterday and it swelled up and it was still swollen (Tuesday)," said Jauron. "They came out early and he tried to throw and it just wasn't working. (Head athletic trainer) Bud (Carpenter) doesn't believe it's serious, but it may keep him out for another day, but it may not. He may be back tomorrow."
Filling in for Losman in the number two quarterback role was Gibran Hamdan with Matt Baker moving up to the number three role.
Crowell's knee kept him from participating much like last summer when he had some swelling in the joint.
"It's almost the same thing he had a year ago," said Jauron. "We're going to try to get it early so it doesn't linger. We do think he'll be back pretty quickly too."
Crowell was replaced in the lineup by Keith Ellison who stepped in with the starters, while rookie free agent Marcus Buggs moved up to the second unit for Ellison.
Perhaps the most disappointing sight was seeing Ko Simpson tending to his surgically repaired left ankle. During drill work he experienced a sensation in his ankle similar to pins and needles after jamming his ankle in the ground.
"They were waiting for it to clear up and I guess it just didn't clear up enough," said Jauron. "Bud doesn't think it's anything, but we'll have to wait and see."
George Wilson stepped in for Simpson on the first team defense at free safety, with Dustin Fox replacing Wilson on the second unit.
Offense lacking rhythm
The offense had some trouble getting into sync and the defense took advantage.
Jabari Greer who made hits and was in one a few pass breakups stood out defensively among a handful of others.
"I believe we had a nice night," said Greer of the defensive effort. "They made some plays on us, but I think the most important thing is to learn from the mistakes that we had and come out here with confidence tomorrow."
The offense just couldn't string plays together as the timing wasn't just right in the passing game and there were some drops as well. Quarterback Trent Edwards attributed some of their struggles to the installation of new material.
"We just put in new plays a couple of hours before practice and we haven't run the plays before and (we were) just a little lackadaisical," he said. "That's going to happen. So now it's about seeing our mistakes on film and changing them and moving on to the next day. We've just got to pick things up and turn things around a little bit the next time out."
While Edwards did get a bit frustrated by the lack of consistency, Jauron is confident his young signal caller will have the answers.
"He puts in a lot of time and when it's not timed up he figures out why and spends a good deal of time talking with the receivers," said Jauron. "You'd like it to go perfectly all the time, but it's not going to and they'll work through it."
The offense did manage to score a pair of touchdowns during extensive red zone work. Steve Johnson pulled in a nice pass from Baker along the near sideline. And Lee Evans caught a TD reception from Edwards as James Hardy effectively drew the defense to the middle of the field leaving Evans unusually open.
Early in practice the gunners were going against the jammers in a punt coverage drill. Gunners that saw a good deal or work were Steve Johnson, Scott Mayle, Kennard Cox and Jon Corto. Cox and Johnson fared well for rookies.
Trying to jam them up were the following pairings, George Wilson and Will James, Dustin Fox and Reggie Corner, John Wendling and Ashton Youboty and Ko Simpson and Jabari Greer.
Wendling had the most impressive jam when he drove Mayle to the ground. Rookie free agent linebacker Marcus Buggs also looked good coming from an inside position to cover punts as he got down the field in a hurry.
The two primary punt returners during the drill were Roscoe Parrish and Leodis McKelvin. Both looked pretty comfortable fielding punts.
Marcus Stroud let everyone on the field know he was there. During one-on-one pass blocking drills Stroud got the best of Brad Butler dropping him on his seat. To Butler's credit he came back on the next snap against Stroud and held his own against the three-time Pro Bowl DT.
Spencer Johnson had a good rep against Melvin Fowler inside. Ryan Denney had a nice swim move as he was able to get past Patrick Estes.
Making progress at the tackle position is former tight end Matt Murphy. He generally held his own in one-on-one pass drill work as he appears to have the feet to effectively play the position.
As for hits during scrimmage work, Greer put a good shot on Marshawn Lynch though the running back kept driving forward. Dustin Fox delivered some good hits on Dwayne Wright and Xavier Omon as they reached the secondary on a few plays. Marcus Buggs also got a good crack on Omon after he came through the hole.
Buffalo has an afternoon pads practice Wednesday at 1pm.