--Competition is keen at wide receiver in Bills training camp and even seemingly established veterans don't like the idea of sitting out practices. David Nelson, who strained a knee early in camp, hasn't been a happy camper. But a few smiles returned Saturday when he was able to return to full speed practicing after being out a week.
Nelson said the coaching and training staff emphasized not returning too quickly.
"But at the same time you want to compete," said last year's second-leading receiver with 61 catches. "So, this being the first day back, I have the anxiety because I have only practiced two days in camp. I still have those camp jitters going through my stomach. It was hard. It was definitely good to get out here and be able to have three more days to really go out with pads on. We have to be smart with this. The advice I got was it could not get any worse. It is not going to get any worse by pushing through it so that was all the green light I needed. When they told me that, I came out and did all I could."
Nelson will suit up when the Bills play their second preseason game at Minnesota on Friday.
--The battle for Buffalo's backup quarterback spot will ratchet up when the team travels to Minnesota for its second preseason game Friday, Aug. 17. Incumbent Tyler Thigpen and free-agent veteran Vince Young have had poor camps thus far and someone needs to seize the opportunity in the next two weeks. Young got a little bit more accomplished than Thigpen in Buffalo's 7-6 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins last week, completing five of 12 passes for 50 yards with no turnovers. He also wound up leading the team in rushing with five carries for 37 yards and engineered a 57-yard drive to a field goal. He converted two third downs with his legs, once with a 21-yard scramble to erase a third-and-20 hole. The 6-5, 232-pound Young has always been a capable runner. "I can definitely get better," Young said. "It's the first game ... everybody had the jitterbugs. There are definitely some things we can learn from to get ourselves better for the next game."
BATTLE OF THE WEEK
Backup cornerback. First-round pick Stephon Gilmore and second-year pro Aaron Williams started against the Redskins, but it's a wide-open battle behind them that's due to get more heated with veteran Terrence McGee (knee) closer to returning. Leodis McKelvin and rookie Ron Brooks were the second pairing against Washington. Prince Miller, Isaiah Green and Cris Hill followed. The additions of Gilmore and Brooks have upgraded Buffalo's size, speed and physicality at the position, something the Bills sorely needed.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Middle linebacker Scott McKillop. The free agent from Pitt led the Bills in tackles with six against the Redskins. The 6-2, 243-pounder earned an invitation to Bills camp on a recommendation from defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, the former Pitt head coach who knew one thing about McKillop - he would work hard to earn a job. With penciled-in starter Kelvin Sheppard missing time with an undisclosed injury, McKillop is making the most of his opportunity.
Left tackle Cordy Glenn is making his move in his battle with Chris Hairston to nail down the starting left tackle job. Hairston had to play right tackle for a spell with veteran Erik Pears (hernia) out. Glenn started against Washington and remains with the first unit. He faces another big test Friday when the Bills travel to Minnesota ... Wide receiver T.J. Graham had a strong week, catching a team-leading five passes for 37 yards against Washington, then coming back a day later in practice and making a couple of eye-opening catches. Said Gailey: "He's done some really good things. He's come a long way in my opinion since the first week of OTAs." ... Cornerback Ron Brooks, a fourth-round pick out of LSU, had an interception and three pass breakups against the Redskins. ... Kicker John Potter, a seventh-round pick from Western Michigan, lived up to his reputation as a kickoff specialist against the Redskins. Potter boomed three kickoffs through the back of the end zone for touchbacks, giving the coaching staff plenty to consider about keeping him just for that skill.
--MLB Scott McKillop is making a pitch to earn a roster spot, perhaps even start. The former University of Pittsburgh star who is coming off a knee injury has been running with the first unit with Kelvin Sheppard sidelined with an undisclosed medical issue. McKillop led Buffalo in tackles in its preseason loss to the Redskins.
--RB Chris Douglas, who was placed on injured reserve Aug. 2, was released after reaching an injury settlement. Numbers are not an issue at running back and the team is beginning to focus on its core group.
--QB Tyler Thigpen started as the No. 2 quarterback against the Redskins and completed 3 of 8 passes with one interception. He'll likely be the third QB off the bench Friday at Minnesota.
--WR T.J. Graham, a rookie out of North Carolina State, had a team-high five catches for 37 yards in a preseason loss to the Redskins. The third-round pick also returned a kickoff. The Bills are intrigued by Graham's speed and want to find ways to get the ball in his hands.
--PK John Potter boomed three kickoffs through the end zone against the Redskins. The Bills drafted the Western Michigan product in the seventh round with an idea that he could be a kickoff specialist and so far, so good.
--WR David Nelson, who missed a long week of camp with a knee strain, is back practicing. Playing time at Minnesota on Friday will depend on his conditioning level.
--RT Erik Pears, who has been slow coming back from a hernia-groin injury, is seeing his repetitions increase in team drills. The Bills hope he can be 100 percent by the regular season and taking a very cautious approach with a key piece of their line.
--C Erik Wood, coming back from ACL surgery, continues to have his repetitions in practice increase. Coach Chan Gailey ruled him out of Friday's preseason game at Minnesota, but the target date is Aug. 25 hosting Pittsburgh.
--DT Torell Troup's back issues are putting his future in doubt. He can only take a few team snaps at a time and remains very limited in everything he does. "Frustrating for everybody," coach Chan Gailey said.
--CB Terrence McGee, coming back from patella tendon surgery, took some live reps against receivers in practice Saturday. It's not likely he'd play at Minnesota Friday but he's getting closer to seeing game action.
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