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Gailey, Fitzpatrick on close of camp

By Mark Gaughan

PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills closed training camp at St. John Fisher College after a light practice today. They still have 17 days and three preseason games before they must make the final decisions on their 53-man roster.

NFL teams will cut from roughly 90 players to 75 on Aug. 27. Then they make the more difficult cuts, from 75 to 53, on Aug. 31, the day after the Bills' exhbition finale in Detroit.

About half the teams in the league hold training camp at their regular, in-season facility.

Gailey on having camp in suburban Rochester: "It brings your team together where you can focus strictly on football. They're away from everything else. That's the advantage of it. I've done it both ways. I've seen some advantages the other way, too. It really works well for us. If it was spread out all over the place it might not be ideal. But this is one great camp setup, the best I've been in."

Gailey said the starters will play about 20 plays Friday night in Minnesota. Vince Young will be the No. 2 QB behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, with Tyler Thigpen going third. The plan is for Young and Thigpen to get roughly equal snaps.

"Tyler got 19; Vince got 30," said Gailey, referring to the exhibition opener against Washington. "We’d like to stay at 20 and 20 if we can. With Fitz getting 20, you’d think the game's 60-something plays. Tyler may end up with a few more this week."

The Bills rested Fitzpatrick's arm -- and gave the backups more work -- by limiting him to 11-on-11 work the previous two full practices.

Said Gailey: "Ryan had taken a bunch of throws. We wanted to get him some rest. And we wanted the other guys to make a lot of throws in the further evaluation of those two guys. So it was really a twofold thing."

Said Fitzpatrick: "For me that team work is really important in terms of getting out there with a live rush. I wanted to make sure I focused on that and gave the other guys some time in seven-on-seven to get down some of the timing and throws. ... You throw every day [at camp]. As soon as preseason games start, then you start getting those off days and it becomes more and more fresh. My arm feels good and once you hit the season you’re not throwing every day so it’s never an issue."

Fitzpatrick on the second exhibition: "It’s not make or break. I think we have that mindset that we're going to come out and be more clean in terms of the pre-snap penalties and in terms of our execution, making sure we've got the right assignments, we're blocking the right guys, we're throwing to the right guy, we're running the right route, all that, and then coming out healthy. We want to be able to get some momentum going as we go into the season here. So again, we're not going to play a lot of plays, but come out and be crisp."

Gailey said he hopes starting right tackle Erik Pears, who sat out versus Washington with a sore groin, will be able to play some against Minnesota. Pears was rested Wednesday. Defensive tackle Kellen Heard, who left Tuesday night's session with a sore ankle, was back practicing. Third-string tackle James Carmon (wrist) might play.

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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 |