Buffalo's practice Wednesday was a lengthy one with multiple sessions of team work for the first and second team offenses and defenses. The team continues to prepare for their Saturday night preseason game against Pittsburgh (7pm kickoff – WKBW-TV) and with Chan Gailey setting it up like a regular season game week, the players feel it will help them narrow their focus.
"It helps a lot. It really does," said Ryan Fitzpatrick. "There are so many things, every defense in this league is so different in terms of the way that they run their schemes. For us to be able to have a scout team look out there and get to go against some of that. That helps us out a lot. That helps our receivers find the right spots. Even if it's not right the first or second time, being able to get in the film room and correct it. So this is an important week for us because we have put the time in to go out there and play well."
Coming out of the Minnesota game there were a good number of items on Coach Gailey's to-do list. The big plays given up by the defense was one, but there were others like developing more cohesive play for the offensive line.
"We've got to have guys go out there and play together and communicate," said Gailey. "The offensive line is the biggest area that has to have continuity and communication. They've got to have that, if they don't have that you don't give yourself very much of a chance to win.
"But there are several things that we have to work on, timing in our passing game, running the football. We don't have to cancel any practices."
Mario Williams acknowledges that big plays must be kept to a minimum. He'd also like to see the run defense clamp down a bit more as well.
"The only thing is the mistakes that we make are against ourselves," said Williams. "It's just mental mistakes. It's not being blown out it's just for whatever reason we look at it this way and we go in the wrong gap or we start peeking and then we get out of our gap and they cut back. So that's us and I think it could be anxiety, it could multiple things. That's the thing that we've got to correct is ourselves and focus on that and we'll be fine in the run game."
In two preseason games Buffalo has given up an average of 123.5 yards rushing per game.
Areas of focusThe offensive unit was focusing on red zone work against the scout team looks of Pittsburgh. They also worked on some second and long plays.
The defensive unit focused on some third down plays against the scout team.
Special teams worked on punt protections and field goals.
Rogers practicesFor the first time in three weeks CB Justin Rogers was in pads and taking reps on the practice field. The second-year cornerback has been rehabbing a hamstring injury.
"That's why I'm slowly progressing back into practice getting a couple of reps," Rogers told Buffalobills.com. "You can do rehab on your own, but when you're out there as a D-B everything is reaction, and you don't know how your hamstring is going to hold up to reacting to players cutting and things like that. So far I think I've been doing real well with that."
Rogers was limited to taking reps only in the slot to prevent him from having to turn and run to cover deeper routes on the boundary in practice.
Missing all but two practices in training camp, Rogers was forced to exercise his brain a lot more than his body to stay up to speed on all the play installation.
"Even though I wasn't on the field I stayed on top of the playbook and assignments," he said. "You can go out there and your hamstring can be messed up, but your mind can't so you have to know what to do."
"He's such a smart football player," said Gailey. "He's got ability. He doesn't have a lot of size, but he has a ton of ability and great instincts. Justin I think could be a very good football player for us and help us win a lot of football games."
With all going well in practice Wednesday for Rogers, the door is still open for the cornerback to possibly see some action Saturday against Pittsburgh.
"It's however I feel," he said. "I tell them I'm feeling good and the next day they'll give me more and we'll keep progressing like that until it's 100 percent. I'm just coming out day by day practicing and then we'll discuss that when the game comes."
"We're going to look at it," said Gailey of this week's game. "I think it's a combination of how he feels, how he moves, talking to him. We want to be smart about it, but he's got a chance to play this week."