By Mark Gaughan
PITTSFORD -- Vince Young looked sharp with his passes throughout Monday's practice at St. John Fisher College.
"I think today was his best day since he's been here," said Bills coach Chan Gailey. "We’re trying to do everything with him. We're not holding anything back. ... He's got a better grasp of it than he did at any time during OTAs or minicamp, and I think he's feeling a lot more comfortable."
Young was good in red-zone work, which took up much of the 11-on-11 sessions of practice. He hit David Clowney with a quick pass for a TD on a second-and-goal play from the 7. Ron Brooks was in coverage. Young hit a deep cross to Ruvell Martin for a 30-yard gain, then connected with T.J. Graham on a sharp slant pattern for 15 yards. Then he threw an on-rhythm strike over the middle to Martin for a 10-yard TD.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a pretty good day, too, in the red zone. He hit Stevie Johnson on a slant for a first down, then hit Johnson over the middle for a TD on a third-and-goal play from the 5. On Fitzpatrick's next series, he hit Donald Jones for a diving catch in the end zone (there was an offside penalty, and it wasn't clear whether it was on the offense or defense). Then Fitzpatrick hit tight end Lee Smith on back-to-back short scoring throws.
Tyler Thigpen got in the act, as well, in the red zone. He found Clowney on the left side of the end zone for one score and hit Marcus Easley, who reached over cornerback Cris Hill, on the left side for another score. On the final possession, Fitzpatrick took the offense 60 yards in a minute, starting with a 25-yard catch-and-run by C.J. Spiller. With 14 seconds left and the offense inside the 5, there was a bad snap that went wide of the QB, and Fitzpatrick had to fall on it for a 12-yard loss. The offense got lined up in time to snap the ball with one second left. Fitzpatrick used it to hit tight end Scott Chandler over the middle for a TD.
The defense had some big plays, too. Tashard Choice got blown up in the backfield on back-to-back plays -- the first by safety Da'Norris Searcy, the second by linebacker Kirk Morrison. Morrison came in on a blitz and knocked the ball out of Choice's hands. It was recovered by Nigel Bradham. Earlier in 11-on-11 work, Bradham stopped Spiller in the hole, read a rollout and forced a throw-away. ... Spiller had some good runs. ... Arthur Moats worked mostly with the first linebacking unit. The second LBs were Bradham, Scott McKillop and Morrison. ... The second DBs were Terrence McGee and Ron Brooks, with Searcy and Delano Howell. The third DBs were Prince Miller and Isaiah Green, with Nick Sukay and Nick Saenz. ... The second O-Line was Sam Young, Chad Rinehart, Colin Brown, Mark Asper and Chris Hairston.
Said Gailey: "There were some good licks passed out there today. It was good on both sides. There was some good things from both sides of the ball. We had too many offsides penalties defensively. We were crowding the ball a little bit too much. But other than that it was a good sharp day in a lot of ways."