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Goal-line drill highlights Day Nine

The Buffalo Bills had a spirited goal-line, live tackling session during Saturday's training camp practice.

"The defense won, 5-3," coach Chan Gailey said, referring to the eight total plays run. "That's the assessment. You either win or you lose down there. I thought it was a good session. I thought our guys wanted to hit."

With Fred Jackson held out due to a sore ankle, Tashard Choice ran the first play up the middle from the 2 yard line and got just over the goal line. On the second play, linebacker Nick Barnett burst into the backfield to stop C.J. Spiller for a loss. ON the third, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was forced to run out of bounds on a rollout because no one was open. On the fourth, Spiller burst up a good hole up the middle for a TD.

Tyler Thigpen took over the second unit for the next four snaps. He threw incomplete for Fendi Onobun on the first play. Fullback Corey McIntyre plunged over from the 2 for a TD on the second play. On the third, linebacker Danny Batten stuffed Zach Brown in the hole for no gain. On the fourth, McIntyre was swarmed at the line of scrimmage by the defense.

It was the fifth straight day of practice in pads, before a full-house crowd of about 2,300. The temperature on the field was about 90.

"I thought it was a gut check," Gailey said. "It's not hot by a lotta people's standards but by these standards it's hot. So I thought our guys sucked it up and went out and practiced hard. Hopefully it'll pay dividends for us in the long run."

The biggest cheer from the crowd came on a punt of about 75 yards by Brian Moorman. Rookie Shawn Powell had a good day punting; Moorman had an exceptional day.

Fitzpatrick was mostly sharp again, hitting tight end Scott Chandler and receiver Donald Jones regularly. Second QB Tyler Thigpen threw pretty well. He hit Naaman Roosevelt for TDs on back-to-back plays, both from the 15-yard line. One was a crossing pattern, one was in the left side of the end zone. ... Mario Williams had a leaping rejection of a Fitzpatrick pass at the line. Kelvin Sheppard then scooped up a fumble by Choice and returned it for a score. ... WIth Jackson out, the running back rotation went Spiller, Choice, Brown and then Johnny White. White has seen very few snaps in 11-on-11 work.

The Bills are off Sunday. They return to practice at 3 p.m. Monday.

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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.

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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 |