By Mark Gaughan
Cornerback Leodis McKelvin was all around the ball to highlight the defensive efforts Monday during the Bills' seventh organized team activity workout on the grass field behind the Bills Fieldhouse.
McKelvin saw a lot of time in the slot with the first-team nickel defense. He had a pretty pass-breakup at the goal line of a pass for David Nelson from Ryan Fitzpatrick. On the play before he had a breakup in the end zone (although Mark Anderson rushed the passer and would have had a sack). Seven plays later, McKelvin got in a passing lane and broke up a pass over the middle. It was a near interception. Later on, in 7-on-7 work, McKelvin was all over a pass in the flat for Fred Jackson and made the breakup.
The best offensive play of the day was a pretty deep touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to rookie T.J. Graham down the sideline. It was a great throw about 30 yards downfield, and Graham bolted past the secondary.
The first-team offense looked pretty good to open the 90-minute practice. Fitzpatrick hit Jackson, tight end Scott Chandler (for a TD) and David Nelson with sharp throws. C.J. Spiller scored on a good running play. Rookie Nigel Bradham had good coverage on Jackson out in the flat on one play. Chandler showed good hands all afternoon.
The first-team defensive line was Mario Williams at left end, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams at tackle and Chris Kelsay at right end. Williams completely blew up one sweep by bursting into the backfield.
The second-team defensive line was Anderson at left end, Alex Carrington and Spencer Johnson at tackle and Shawne Merriman at right end. Anderson had a good practice, flashing into the backfield repeatedly. Merriman looked pretty good, too.
Safety George Wilson picked off a Fitzpatrick pass in the middle of the end zone. Naaman Roosevelt got a half-step edge on McKelvin going over the middle and made a good catch for a TD. Fitzpatrick's pass was dead on. Fitzpatrick also hit Donald Jones over the middle on a bullet for a TD in red-zone work.
Vince Young took all the snaps at quarterback with the second team, while Tyler Thigpen recovers from a muscle pull in the midsection. Thigpen did some light work early in the session. It's going to take Young some time to get comfortable in a new offensive system and to get on rhythm with new receivers. He had TD strike to Dorin Dickerson in 7-on-7 work. Dickerson has reliable hands.
Second-year cornerback Aaron Williams pulled out of practice with a sore knee about midway through the workout. Coach Chan Gailey said it has been nagging him. Not on the field were Lionel Dotson, Torell Troup, Erik Pears, James Carmon and safety Delano Howell (who is still at college). Watching but not practicing were Terrence McGee, Justin Rogers, Josh Nesbitt, Kirk Morrison, Eric Wood, Kellen Heard and Mike Caussin.
NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith visited the team today and watched practice.