PITTSFORD — Third-year receiver Chris Hogan had a productive day catching the ball, and place-kicker Dustin Hopkins was perfect on field-goal attempts during Thursday’s Buffalo Bills practice at St. John Fisher College.
Hogan, undrafted in 2011 out of Monmouth University, had five catches during the 11-on-11 portions of practice. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound receiver has excellent hands and is making an underdog bid for a roster spot amid tough competition at receiver.
Hogan was dubbed 7-Eleven – because he’s always open – by Reggie Bush last summer during Miami’s training camp, which was the subject of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series.
During Thursday’s practice, Hogan got good separation on a back-shoulder throw from Jeff Tuel. He caught two quick passes in the flat. Then he got open over the middle and caught a 20-yard pass from EJ Manuel to beat a big blitz.
Safety Da’Norris Searcy came free, but Manuel got the throw off on time and was excited about the play, running downfield to congratulate Hogan.
Manuel connected with Hogan again over the middle late in the practice.
Hopkins, the Bills’ sixth-round draft choice from Florida State, made kicks from 30, 33, 38, 44, 45 and 50 yards during the first special-teams period, then hit from 32, 35, 43, 47 and 48 in the second. Bills veteran Rian Lindell went 11 of 14, by unofficial count. He made from 26, 29, 35, 37, 41, 47 and 51 and missed from 43 and 51 during the first round. He made from 28, 31, 40 and 46 but missed from 39 when the special-teams unit was required to hurry up to get off the kick.
Manuel and Jeff Tuel split snaps. They each got 26 plays in team work.
Colin Brown was back in the starting spot at left guard. Cordy Glenn was back at his starting left tackle spot after one day of working at guard.
The second-team offensive line was, left to right, Thomas Welch, Doug Legursky, David Snow, Antoine Caldwell and Sam Young.
Coach Doug Marrone on the competition between Brown and Legursky at left guard:
“I think we’re going to stick with those two players that we have there now. I think that gives us the best chances, and I see both players competing a very high level, and both players are getting better each day. Now, it’s just making sure they can go out there and perform in these preseason games because they are doing a good job in practice.”
With Leodis McKelvin resting, Ron Brooks started at cornerback. Nickell Robey was the top slot corner. Stephon Gilmore and Brad Smith started practice but rested much of it.
Third OL, left to right: Zebrie Sanders, Zack Chibane, Ryan Turnley, Caldwell and Tony Hills.
Second front seven: Marcus Dowtin, Alan Branch, Torell Troup, Jay Ross, Jamie Blatnick, Arthur Moats and Bryan Scott.
University at Buffalo Athletic Director Danny White and basketball coach Bobby Hurley watched practice Thursday. The crowd was sparse, only about 250, for the session that originally was scheduled to be closed to the public.