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Defense shows no mercy in second minicamp practice

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills' defense ended the second minicamp practice of the week in all-out piranha mode Wednesday.

It was a feeding frenzy of sacks as the Bills' first-string offense under quarterback Kevin Kolb tried to move downfield in a two-minute drill in need of a touchdown.

Kolb managed to elude a rush and improvise a quick-thinking throw over the middle to Fred Jackson for a gain of about 25 yards on a third-down play.

After that, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine dialed up four straight blitzes and ended the series with four straight sacks.

"I'm glad Coach Pettine's on our team, that's for sure, and all those guys they have out there," said offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. "Any time you have a defense like we're facing, every single day it's going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. I mean, they're bringing everybody from every place and you have to do your best to try to get a foundation and make things happen.

"There's some things that do good and other things that you're just putting your hand on top of your head and just trying to get to the next play."

Newly acquired edge-rusher Jerry Hughes, who gave tackle Cordy Glenn troubles much of the day, broke free off the left side of the offensive line on what looked like a heavy blitz for the first sack. Then rookie cornerback Nickell Robey got a sack blitzing off the edge on second down. Hughes again got around Glenn for a sack on third down (although it wasn't clear if it was an overload and someone else was supposed to block Hughes). WIth the offense in backpedal mode, Pettine sent an all-out blitz on fourth and long and safety Duke Williams tagged quarterback Kevin Kolb down.

The defense generally looked better than the offense overall. The Bills used Williams, the fourth-round draft pick out of Nevada, as the starting free safety.

Aaron Williams, who has been manning the starting free safety spot all spring, got a lot of work at cornerback, in part because two corners went down with injuries.

Ron Brooks had what looked like a muscle issue. Crezdon Butler appeared to tweak his knee. Williams came up with his second interception in two days, picking off a pass from EJ Manuel down the right sideline while in tight coverage against speedy Marquise Goodwin.

Stephon Gilmore had a leaping pickoff of an underthrown deep ball from Kolb to T.J. Graham. Alex Carrington had a good pass rush on the play. Gilmore also had a near interception on a slant.

Robey, who continues to impress, got a good break on a hitch pass from Kolb to Chris Hogan and made the interception along the sideline. Other would-be sacks came from Jarron Gilbert and Nigel Bradham. Kiko Alonso continues to take all the snaps with the starters and shows non-stop pursuit in coverage.

Goodwin had one of the nice plays for the offense, making a nifty move on a quick pass at the line to fake out Brooks. Manuel had a good series midway through practice that included a pass of about 25 yards down the right sideline to Robert Woods. It was an accurate throw and Woods showed his quick hands in plucking it out of the air.

Snap counts for the quarterbacks were about the same as Tuesday, with Kolb getting 46, Manuel 36 and Jeff Tuel 12, unofficially.

Colin Brown got most of the snaps again with the starters at left guard. Doug Legursky worked in a bit with the first unit later in the session.

The Bills hold their last spring practice Thursday. It's closed to the public.

tagged

Colin Brown | Cordy Glenn | Crezdon Butler | EJ Manuel | Jeff Tuel | Jerry Hughes | Kevin Kolb | Marquise Goodwin | Mike Pettine | Nathaniel Hackett | Robert Woods | Ron Brooks | Stephon Gilmore
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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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