Inside The Bills

Bunch of players to be back Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2012 – 5:23 pm

The Bills list of non-participating players grew again on Saturday as Stevie Johnson was held out as a precaution for a sore groin and Fred Jackson was held out of team drills. But head coach Chan Gailey indicated that several nicked up players will be back on the practice field Monday.

“We’ve had several groin (strains) this camp,” said Gailey. “So we’ll try to nurse all these guys back and see if we can… we’re supposed to get a bunch of them back Monday.”

Gailey confirmed that both Kellen Heard, who was limited Saturday and Chris Kelsay, will both be back practicing Monday. It’s expected that David Nelson will be back from the strained tendon in his knee as well.

No word on whether Justin Rogers (hamstring) is part of that group as well.

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Depth chart at LT

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2012 – 1:31 pm

The team’s first official depth chart is out and the order at the battleground position of left tackle isn’t surprising.

Second-year lineman Chris Hairston is listed as the starter at left tackle with second-round pick Cordy Glenn as the backup. Typically going into the first preseason game the nod is given to the more experienced player. To his credit though Hairston has been a bit more consistent in the practice setting than Glenn.

The coaches started having Hairston work at both left and right tackle in Friday’s practice. Hairston doesn’t seem to care as long as he’s on the field.

“I’ve got to bring something to this team and whatever I can do that’s what I want to do,” Hairston told “Whatever coach asks of me that’s what I’ve got to get done.”

Hairston made seven starts at left tackle last season and appeared in 13 games.

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Wood’s reps increasing

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2012 – 7:54 pm

Bills starting center Eric Wood is steadily increasing his workload with each passing day. He went from five reps to 12 reps to even more than that in Friday’s practice. The Bills coaching staff just wants to remain cautious and not push things too far.

“I think very well,” said Chan Gailey when asked how Wood is progressing. “Today he took more than he had taken all camp in team reps. So we’ll evaluate how he feels tonight and tomorrow morning to get a better feel how far we can continue to push that.”

On Saturday the Bills are scheduled to have their first “live” goal line plays. It’s not expected that Wood will be a part of those reps in practice coming off of ACL surgery.

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Can’t knock McGee’s effort

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2012 – 7:43 pm

Terrence McGee is laboring in his efforts to return to full strength. He’s at practice early every day loosening up his surgically repaired knee and doing extra strength work. It just looks as if the process is going to take some patience.

“Terrence is getting a little better,” said Chan Gailey. “He’s not … he couldn’t play if we had to play today. But he’s getting a little better. It’s not big leaps, no major breakthroughs on Terrence’s help. It’s little gains that we’re making right now.”

McGee takes team reps in 7-on-7 mainly with almost no 11-on-11 reps. The progress has been incremental, but knowing there’s more than a month before the season opener the Bills seem satisfied with small but steady steps forward.

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A few starters nicked up

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2012 – 5:11 pm

Stevie Johnson, Fred Jackson and George Wilson were three starters that got nicked up in Friday’s afternoon practice. Head coach Chan Gailey provided an update on all three after practice.

Johnson appeared to tweak his groin and was pulled out of team work after that, but Gailey downplayed it.

“He didn’t even strain it,” said Gailey. “His groin got tight and we just backed him out of there for that.”

Fred Jackson was also seen limping back to the huddle after some plays and Wilson got nicked up as well.

“(Fred) got stepped on or his ankle or something, they said something with his foot,” said Gailey. “He finished and George Wilson got stepped on and he finished. There will be a couple of guys in the training room, but they finished (practice).”

We’ll wait and see if any are held out of practice completely on Saturday.

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Friday non-participants

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2012 – 2:29 pm

There’s a new non-participant at practice today.

Bryan Scott, who was limited Thursday with a thigh contusion, is not practicing at all today.

Along with him on the sidelines are Justin Rogers, Josh Nesbitt, Kellen Heard, David Nelson & Chris Kelsay.

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George spoke with Leonhard

Posted by Chris Brown on August 3, 2012 – 12:41 pm

Bills safety George Wilson took the time to speak with free agent visitor Jim Leonhard at Bills camp. Wilson and Leonhard are old friends as Wilson and Leonhard played three years together in Buffalo. Wilson also might not be a safety today had it not been for Leonhard’s tutelage.

“I spoke with Jimmy,” Wilson told “He mentioned to me that they’d be working him out this morning. I have a deep debt to Jimmy. When I first made the transition to safety Jimmy was that one guy who took time out of his own schedule to help me grasp the defense, to learn the playbook from a defensive standpoint. He helped to smooth that transition out for me. It’s always good to run into Jimmy. I’m not sure how the workout went this morning, but I hope he’s doing better recovering from the knee injury.”

Leonhard is coming off surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon last December, the same injury from which Terrence McGee is trying to recover. Leonhard is about three to four weeks behind McGee in his recovery and might not be ready to get out on the field and compete just yet.

Wilson and Leonhard kept in touch as both were player union reps for their respective teams in Buffalo and New York the past few years.

“We had that special time together during those rep meetings and we would always talk about the old times when we played together and I would always express the gratitude that I have for him for what he did for me,” said Wilson. “At the end of the day I just try to go out there and make my coaches proud and make my teammates proud and show Jimmy that I’m doing the best that I can to apply the lessons and the knowledge that he helped me to acquire back in 2007.”

In his conversation with Leonhard, Wilson asked him if he ever thought he’d be back in Buffalo.

“Jimmy said, ‘Not until last week,’” said Wilson. “But Jimmy is a great guy off the field and a ball hawk on the field and over his career he’s proven that he’s a playmaker.”

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Bills on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 9:13 pm

Here’s the radio rundown for Friday morning.

The Howard Simon Show – WGR 550
Scott Chandler – 7:45 AM
Marcell Dareus – 8:00 AM

The Break Room – 96.5 WCMF
Arthur Moats – 7:45 AM
Dave Wannstedt – between 9-9:30

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Leonhard visit to stretch to Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 9:00 pm

Free agent safety Jim Leonhard began a free agent visit with the Bills on Thursday. That visit won’t be an in and out stop. has learned that Leonhard’s free agent visit will stretch into Friday. It’s hard to know just what the Bills plans are at this point, knowing Buddy Nix made specific mention of the waiver wire as well with regard to other possible safety talent that could be out there.

Whether this is exploratory to see just how far along Leonhard is in his rehabilitation or something more remains to be seen.

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RB Brown happy for opportunity

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 8:45 pm

Newly signed RB Zach Brown was glad to get the call he was waiting for from the Bills or any other NFL club for that matter. But if any team had given him an idea they were interested it was Buffalo.

Brown got a three-day tryout opportunity with the Bills during rookie minicamp and was hoping there would be some kind of follow up opportunity.

“I did a real good job there,” said Brown of his tryout weekend with Buffalo. “I got good feedback. I just felt like I did a real good job so anything could happen.”

Brown is now in Bills camp, but is at a deep position of running back.

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New RB limited

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 11:34 am

Newly signed RB Zach Brown will be on the practice field this afternoon, but he won’t be able to do everything.

As part of the new CBA, by rule players that have not been with a club at the start of training camp cannot practice in pads for three days. That means that this afternoon and for Friday’s practice Brown will only be able to do individual positions drills and any other non-contact work. On Saturday he’ll be able to put the pads on.

It’s somewhat of a safety measure designed to get a player that hasn’t been in the practice setting up to speed to reduce the risk of injury.

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Shep says he’ll be fine

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 11:29 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey said Wednesday night that the reason MLB Kelvin Sheppard was sidelined was due to a medical situation, but would be back in a couple of days. We caught up with Sheppard after Wednesday’s closed walk through.

Sheppard did not sound the least bit concerned about whatever the medical situation is as he chose to keep the nature of it to himself.

“I’m here breathing smiling and communicating so I think I’m pretty fine,” he said. “A couple of days off and I’ll be back on the field.”

Sheppard assured that he will have no limitations with his play on the field as a result of the “medical situation.”

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Moorman vs. Powell

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 9:00 am

The punter competition has kind of gone under the radar in Bills training camp. So we thought we’d shed a little light on it thus far.

Twice in the last four days rookie punter Shawn Powell and veteran Brian Moorman have squared off during punt team drills with each of them rotating in and out on punts. Below I have listed their unofficial punt hang times off my watch from both July 29th and the Aug. 1st practices.

7/29 practice
Brian Moorman – 4.8, 4.7, 4.6, 4.9, 4.8, 4.7, 4.7
Shawn Powell – 4.8, 4.8, 4.2, 3.8, 3.5, 4.9, 4.6

8/1 practice
Moorman – 4.5, 4.5, 5.0, 4.7, 4.8, 4.5, 4.2 (distance punt of 55 yards)
Powell – 4.5, 4.5, 3.4, 4.5, 4.2, 4.6, 4.8

Adding all the hang times together and averaging them out Moorman has been the more consistent punter with an average hang time of 4.67 seconds. Powell’s average is 4.36.


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Zachary Brown numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2012 – 7:44 am

With rookie RB Zach Brown signing with the Bills, here are a few of his numbers from his pro day.

At Pitt’s pro day, Brown ran a 4.73 40-time with a 1.69 10-yard split, had a 30 1/2 inch vertical leap, 9’4″ broad jump and a time of 7.23 seconds on the three cone drill.

Here also are his career stats from college.

Year Team G Rush Yds Yd/Rush TDs Rec Yds Yd/Rec TDs
2007 Wisc  12 119 568 4.8 5 4 23 5.8 0
2008 Wisc  12 55 305 5.5 3 8 47 5.9 0
2009 Wisc  12 66 279 4.2 3 8 35 4.4 0
2011 Pitt  9 82 336 4.1 5 25 184 7.4 0
Career   45 322 1488 4.6 16 45 289 6.4 0

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The plan for Brad Smith

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2012 – 11:28 pm

To this point in training camp it’s been nothing but quarterback work for Brad Smith. In the spring workouts Smith was a quarterback for about half of the OTA practices, then in the last week switched over to wide receiver. Head coach Chan Gailey indicated that a similar plan will unfold for Smith here at training camp.

“Like we did in OTAs we took about the first six or eight practices and worked him strictly at quarterback,” said Gailey. “Then we’ll start to work him at receiver and start the Wildcat package later on. We’ll have all that going for him at a later date. But being the third quarterback he needs to know how to do the base offense, the two minute stuff and all that. So he has a lot of work to get ready at quarterback before he starts that other stuff.”

Gailey wants to ensure that should the unthinkable happen and both the starting and backup QBs go down in a game that Smith is capable of finishing a game for the team. Knowing Smith is getting a limited number of reps at quarterback in the team setting it’s probably going to be a little while before he puts a white jersey on and lines up at wideout.

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Wood ready to do more

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2012 – 4:58 pm

After seeing his first action during team drills in practice Tuesday, Eric Wood is hoping there’s more on his plate tonight at practice.

“Possibly. I’ll just wait and see,” Wood told “They haven’t told me exactly what I’ll be doing tonight, but I expect some team reps and whatever situational stuff we’ll be doing.”

Wood woke up today (Wednesday) after getting his most extensive work in practice since camp opened and felt his surgically repaired knee held up well.

“It felt fine,” he said. “It felt like it has the past couple of weeks. A little sore, just from doing a lot. I feel good and I’m encouraged and ready to move forward with it.”

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Finally play calling continuity

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2012 – 11:12 am

Buffalo’s offense just like any other in the NFL is always going to have some new wrinkles added to it from one season to the next. But up until Chan Gailey and offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins arrived, there’s been a lot more change than any offense would like. This season marks the first time since the 2000 campaign that the Bills enter the third straight year with the same offensive coordinator. Here’s the history.

1998 Joe Pendry
1999 Joe Pendry
2000 Joe Pendry
2001 Mike Sheppard
2002 Kevin Gilbride
2003 Kevin Gilbride
2004 Tom Clements
2005 Mike Mularkey
2006 Steve Fairchild
2007 Steve Fairchild
2008 Turk Schonert
2009 Alex Van Pelt
2010 Chan Gailey/Curtis Modkins
2011 Chan Gailey/Curtis Modkins
2012 Chan Gailey/Curtis Modkins

“Chan and I are in a good place right now in terms of my understanding of what he wants to get done and his understanding of my strengths,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “But this offense, the beauty of it is it is constantly evolving with new pieces we are adding and new players and different things that we want to get done. We are always finding new and different ways to make plays better or to change plays. Football is never a game that you can master. You just continue to get better, to react to different defenses and that is the fun of the game for me.”

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Bicknell move to WRs coach huge

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2012 – 10:12 am

While most are aware of the value in hiring David Lee as the team’s quarterbacks coach, the under the radar move that could be instrumental in helping to lift the Bills passing game to new heights is the shift in duties for assistance Bob Bicknell.

A former coordinator in NFL Europe and a former O-line and tight ends coach, Bicknell is now in charge of the wide receivers. The benefit of Bicknell’s coaching is his ability to teach the offense as a whole to the receiving corps instead of just their assignments. He’s also been able to offer Ryan Fitzpatrick some alternatives on plays that could present better solutions to getting those plays more effectively executed.

“I’m pretty set in my ways in terms of how I want them to run routes and Bob offers a different view of that,” Fitzpatrick told “So we’ve changed a few things that he wanted to tweak and try out and some things that worked well in OTAs, that maybe I didn’t see the same way. There’s a positive communication between he and the receiver unit that makes it a lot better for the guys. They respect him and listen to what he’s saying and they’re attentive in meetings.”

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Mario’s take on LTs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2012 – 10:08 am

Bills DE Mario Williams hasn’t faced either one of Buffalo’s left tackles competing for the starting job, but he’s seen enough practice tape and watched enough of the one-on-one drills to have an opinion.

“They are doing a great job,” he said. “I will say Chris Hairston has very good feet for a big guy. They are both outstanding guys. Good pass blockers, good run blockers. As long as they are into the scheme, understand the calls and know what to do amongst the system everything will be alright. I think they are looking pretty good.”

Glenn and Hairston continue to rotate in and out with the first team every other practice.

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Walk-thrus reinforce WR duties

Posted by Chris Brown on August 1, 2012 – 8:32 am

Walk-throughs might seem like a waste of time to some, but Buffalo’s receiving corps is finding valuable communication time with their starting quarterbacks and the assistant coaches believe it will lead to uniform execution from the top to the bottom of the receiving corps. And that’s important for a Bills team that has lost its share of receivers to injury during the last couple of seasons.

“It’s happened every year I’ve been in this league,” Receivers coach Bob Bicknell told “A lot of people are going to end up playing and a lot of things are going to happen in this league. And you want that (backup) guy to be able to come in and have the same reps as a David Nelson did on stuff. Well he’s not going to have that so you have to give him the best chance to succeed. I think those guys have done a good job of trying to accomplish that in our walk through periods with Fitz.”

To see just what kind of dividends the break off walk throughs between Fitz and his receivers are paying read our feature story on the home page of today.

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