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.