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Bills have short practice week in preparation for second exhibition

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Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (88) outraced cornerback T.J. Heath down the middle of the field for a 55-yard touchdown after catching a pass from Jeff Tuel during practice at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford on Monday. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

By Mark Gaughan


The Bills practiced for about two hours Monday before a crowd of about 800 at St. John Fisher College.

The Bills never held a practice the day after a game under their previous two coaches. It might not even have happened since before Marv Levy was coach. However, the Bills have a short week of practice, with just four days between the exhibition opener in Indianapolis and Friday’s preseason game against Minnesota.

There was extensive rotation of players during the practice.

Said coach Doug Marrone on the schedule: “We’re in a critical point. Maybe critical is not the right word. But we’re in a window, really in the evaluation process, to get the players ready. I think that it’s a short week. … You might’ve looked it as a practice, but we tagged off every drill, wanted to get them running around. And normally after a game, you come back, they do a heavy lifting, heavy running to flush their body out. And the players did a good job of that. Again, we may be practicing and it might be called a practice, but we’re being smart about it with the players.”

The highlight of practice was a 55-yard touchdown bomb from Jeff Tuel to Marquise Goodwin, who outraced cornerback T.J. Heath down the middle of the field. There was generally good pass coverage in the workout. Aaron Williams anticipated a crossing pass for Scott Chandler and made a breakup. Bryan Scott was all over a dump-off to Chris Gragg. Crezdon Butler stayed with Robert Woods on a deep post.

There were no changes in the starting lineup except at cornerback. WIth Leodis McKelvin still out, Butler got a chance to work outside, opposite Stephon Gilmore. McKelvin did return some punts, so it looks like he's getting closer to returning. Colin Brown remained at left guard.

In red zone work, receiver Chris Hogan dropped a slant pass from EJ Manuel. Tuel hit Tashard Choice on a swing pass for a touchdown. C.J. Spiller scored on a run around end.

The Bills came out of the Indianapolis game in good health. Tight end Dorin Dickerson did not practice Monday due to a sore ankle. Receiver T.J. Graham and linebacker Kourtnei Brown both developed sore groins during Monday’s practice. Marrone said cornerback Justin Rogers, out since camp started with a sore hamstring, was getting closer to returning. Receiver Kevin Elliott and linebacker Keith Pough were back. Still out were guard Keith Williams, defensive tackle Aaron Tipoti and tight end Mike Caussin.

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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 |