TEMPE, Ariz. – Before the Buffalo Bills left the visiting locker room Sunday in San Francisco, running back Tashard Choice stood up and gave an impassioned speech following the team’s second straight embarrassing loss.
He shared some of what that message was Thursday.
“Just our mind-set, it felt like we were lacking our energy,” he said. “The seriousness, the importance of every game, every snap. I wanted them to realize that. We’ve got to continue to feel that, continue to be the aggressor. How we played, I was really disappointed because I know how hard we work during the week. I know what kind of good players we’ve got.”
“Instead of being friends with each other, we need to be more like brothers. Brothers can fight. Brothers tell each other, ‘you gotta pick it up.’ And it’s never against somebody, it’s just to build the team, to make the team better,” he said. “My point to them was we’ve got to play better, we’ve got to come out with more energy and the game of football has to be like you’re just playing it for the first time, where you wanted to make the plays.”
The fifth-year running back called on his teammates to show their desire.
“Everybody’s got to have the ‘want to.’ Want to be the player that’s going to change the game, want to be the player that’s going to make the big tackle,” he said. “If we’ve got 11 guys on the field at all times that have got a lot of that want to, then we’ll be fine because we’ve got the talent.
“We should never get beat like that with the type of players we’ve got, and everybody understood that.”
The entire team, including the coaching staff, was present for Choice’s speech. He asked coach Chan Gailey before addressing the team.
“It was on my mind. It was on my heart and I couldn’t hold it,” he said. “I love football. And more importantly I love my teammates. It had to be said.”
Choice said the reaction among his teammates was simple: “Let’s go. No more talking, let’s do it.”
To a man, the Bills have recognized the importance of Sunday’s game.
“To win a game on the road when everyone’s doubting you, it’s a snowball effect. It can go either way,” Choice said. “It can go downhill and your whole season can slip away. But then if somebody makes that big play like I was talking about, it’s crazy how the effect of that energy can go to the offense, the defense, the special teams. It’s a big game and we’ve got to treat it like it’s the biggest one, because it is.”
Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams was supposed to practice Thursday at Arizona State, but missed his second straight session with an ankle injury.
Gailey didn’t sound concerned about Williams’ status.
“It’s not the same one he had the surgery on,” the coach said, referring to the injury that ended Williams’ 2011 season after five games. “We’re just resting him.”
Reserve offensive lineman Chad Rinehart, expected to start in place of injured right guard Kraig Urbik, was healthy enough to practice Thursday in a limited capacity. Rinehart has been dealing with a calf injury that prevented him from finishing last Sunday’s game and was unable to practice Wednesday.
Gailey said seeing Rinehart on the field Thursday “bodes well. We’ll probably rest him [Friday], but we wanted to see what he had, and it was encouraging.”
Center Eric Wood (foot) and safety Jairus Byrd (chest) each were limited for a second straight day but are expected to play Sunday.
On the Arizona side, cornerback Michael Adams (hamstring), linebacker Quentin Groves (hamstring), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), cornerback Greg Toler (hamstring) and linebacker Reggie Walker (head) all did not practice for a second straight day.
All-Pro defensive tackle Darnell Dockett led a list of four players who were limited in practice for the Cardinals. Dockett is coming back from a hamstring injury. The others were tight end Jim Dray (knee), tight end Todd Heap (knee) and linebacker O’Brien Schofield (knee).
Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who has missed the past two games with a hip injury, practiced fully Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Others practicing fully for Arizona were running back William Powell (head), quarterback John Skelton (ankle) and guard Adam Snyder (elbow).
News Sports Reporter Tim Graham contributed to this report.