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Day Three: Defense keeps wraps on offense

By Mark Gaughan

PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills' defensive line asserted its presence during 11-on-11 work in the first padded practice of training camp Saturday at St. John Fisher College.

“I thought the defense dominated the practice,” coach Chan Gailey said. “We got a lot of work to do on offense to meet their level of play right now. So it’s a little bit different than it has been, and it’s good for our football team.”

Defensive end Mario Williams pressured quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to force an incompletion on the first play of 11-on-11 work from the middle of the field. Receiver Derek Hagan dropped a Fitzpatrick pass on the second play. Then WIlliams got by right tackle Sam Young, filling in for injured Erik Pears, to force an incompletion on the third play. Fitzpatrick rolled out but found no one open on the fourth play. C.J. Spiller got a decent gain on the fifth play. On the sixth play, defensive end Kyle Moore got by Young and Fitzpatrick into a scramble.

Both Rian Lindell and John Potter drilled 49-yard field goals during special teams work.

Then it was back to more mostly good defense. Fitzpatrick hit Donald Jones on an out route, but cornerback Aaron Williams read the play and let an interception go through his hands and into the receiver's. Then Fitz had to scramble again.

Tyler Thigpen was the No. 2 QB Saturday. Rookie cornerback Ron Brooks picked off a Thigpen pass down the right sideline intended for David Clowney. Brooks had it covered all the way and made a leaping catch. On the next play, Thigpen was pressured and forced a throw over the middle that was picked off by safety Nick Saenz.

Back came the starters. Fitzpatrick had to fall on a bad snap. Kyle Williams burst up the midde for a would-be sack. Nickel linebacker Bryan Scott smartly read a draw play and smothered it. Rookie cornerback Stephon Gilmore blanketed Spiller on a deep route and batted the pass away.

Quarterback Vince Young, working with the third team, had a really good scramble up the middle on one play. Wildcat QB Brad Smith beat the blitz with a nice deep pass to receiver Kamar Aiken.

Fitzpatrick did look pretty good in 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 passing drills. He continues to show promise on deep throws. He hit Donald Jones on a perfect deep strike down the left sideline vs. Aaron Williams. He had good downfield strikes to Stevie Johnson (twice), David Nelson and Scott Chandler. ... Safety Da'Norris Searcy did well in 1-on-1 work vs. tight ends and backs. ... In 1-on-1 pass rush work, Mario Williams again was a force. Andy Levitre had good snaps vs. Kyle Williams. ... Chad Rinehart held his own vs. Marcell Dareus. ... Defensive end Mark Anderson worked well with Marcell Dareus. ... Mario Williams and Dareus combined for a sack in 2-on-2 work. ... Rookie tackle Cordy Glenn false started two stright plays but then rebounded and shut down Chris Kelsay two straight snaps.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |