By Mark Gaughan
Rookie receiver T.J. Graham caught a deep pass down the right sideline from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at the start of practice Friday to highlight 7-on-7 work for the Buffalo Bills.
"The only reason i threw it to him today is because it's his birthday," Fitzpatrick said. "He didn't tell any of us that. Somebody told me walking out to practice. So I figured I'd give him one little softball that he could catch out there today, get the fans cheering. He's obviously a speedster. He's really improved from the first day he stepped on the field in OTAs."
Receiver David Nelson remains a favored target of Fitzpatrick. Nelson had numerous good catches on the second day of training camp at St. John Fisher. The best may have been a bullet over the deep middle in 7-on-7 work that Fitzpatrick put into tight coverage. Fitzpatrick was sharp in 7 on 7 drills. He hit tight end Scott Chandler on a great thrown down the middle. He even hit fullback Corey McIntyre deep on a sideline route out of the backfield, to the cheers of a couple hundred watchers.
The Bills rotated starters at several positions, as advertised. Rookie Cordy Glenn started at left tackle, a day after Chris Hairston started there. Vince Young was the No. 2 QB and Tyler Thigpen was No. 3, reversing roles from Friday. Chris Kelsay started at right defensive end in place of Mark Anderson. WIth Terrence McGee sitting out team drills, Aaron WIlliams started again at one corner spot, opposite Stephon Gilmore.
Neither Thigpen or Young have stood out yet in passing drills. It's clear it's going to take Young some time to get comfortable in Chan Gailey's offense.
Interceptions early on were made by safety Da'Norris Searcy while covering tight end Lee Smith and by linebacker Chris White while covering tight end Kevin Brock. Cornerback Prince Miller jumped a flat pass for a running back from Thigpen and made the interception. ... C.J. Spiller showed great burst off right tackle on a run in 11-on-11 work. ... Stevie Johnson had two drops in a three-play stretch on short throws from Fitzpatrick. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus stuffed Spiller on a shotgun handoff. Mario Williams fouled up a Spiller run up the middle a few minutes later.
Nick Barnett, Kelvin Sheppard and Kirk Morrison were the starting linebackers against regular personnel. Arthur Moats got some snaps again with the starters in some passing situations. Sam Young spelled Erik Pears at times at right tackle. Otherwise the second team offensive line often was: Hairston, Michael Jasper, Colin Brown, Keith Williams and Zebrie Sanders. Leodis McKelvin sat out the second half of practice after feeling ill.