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Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson appears likely to play against the New England Patriots Sunday, barring a setback over the next two days in his recovery from a sprained knee.
"Fred worked and worked well today, and there didn't seem to be any residual effect negatively from [Wednesday]," coach Chan Gailey said.
Jackson, who suffered the injury in the season opener, worked much of the practice.
"He was in there at the very end," Gailey said. "I think if we make it through the next couple days and continue to improve I think he'll have the opportunity to play."
Jackson went directly from the practice field to the trainer's room after practice, but told reporters, "I feel good," as he walked off the field.
Gailey said running back C.J. Spiller took a few reps as he tries to come back from a shoulder injury suffered Sunday.
"He didn't take a lot, but he took a few and he got back into the swing of things," Gailey said. "We didn't do tackling drills out there ... we'll see where it takes us. I don't know where it's going."
Meanwhile, cornerback Leodis McKelvin (groin) returned to practice.
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The Pats' best offensive lineman, guard Logan Mankins, missed his second straight day of practice Thursday with a hip injury. The other key Patriot on the injury report, receiver Julian Edelman, sat out a second straight day with a hand injury.
Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams has a high regard for Mankins.
"He's a big guy, a physical player," Williams said. "He stays after you. He plays hard. A lot of times you see guys that are talented but don't play as hard as he does. He stays after guys. We've gone at it over the years, and it's always fun to play guys that are considered some of the best. I look forward to it every year. ... He plays in a good offense that puts up points, and they win football games, and he's probably their best player up front."
Williams on the game in general: "Obviously, you have great respect for them for what they have done and the team that they are. We want to be at the level of team that they're at. But by no stretch of the imagination does that mean that people are going to quiver when they're coming to town. They have to play the same amount of snaps that we do. With us, if we can continue to play well and go out and make plays Sunday, I think teams are going to notice and say, 'We have to prepare for these guys because they can play.' That starts this Sunday: division opponent, team that's owned our division, been to the Super Bowl, conference champions. We have a big challenge in front of us, but we're not going to get to where they are by being scared when they roll in here and backing off. We have to get after them Sunday."
Meanwhile, Pats cornerback Sterling Moore (knee), starting tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back) and starting defensive tackle Kyle Love (knee) were limited. ... The Pats released veteran tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., who was signed just last week.
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Here's Bills great kicker Steve Christie on the team switching from Brian Moorman to Shawn Powell at punter:
"Different coaches want different things, and I think it came down to giving up a lot of yardage. When I played with Jeff Feagles with the Giants that one year in '04, I saw a punter that could put the ball to the sideline. Every. Time. Consistently. I think that is what an older punter has to do because you're not going to get those big 5.2, 5.3 hang times anymore. So you've got to be able to get that ball outside the numbers and pin that return team in. That may have been the problem with the punting. That may have been the final point."
"What they want is Chris Mohr again," Christie said. "They want another Chris Mohr who is consistently going to give you a (high) net every time. A special teams coach will take that, especially in Buffalo. I think you're going to get really good hang times with [Powell]."
Christie and Mohr were Bills teammates from 1992-2000, and all but their final season was under current Bills special teams coach Bruce DeHaven.
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Bills cornerback Aaron Williams had two fine pass breakups on sideline throws in the Cleveland game. One was deep in Bills territory on a throw for Mohammed Massoquoi. He reached up just in time to deflect it. The other was on a 50-yard streak for Travis Benjamin down the right sideline. Williams batted it away. Both were catchable balls for the receiver.
"I just had to bounce back from last week," Williams said, referring to the Kansas City game. "Even though we had a win I felt my performance wasn't up to par compared to my expectations. I focused more on my technique and just playing through the play. I learned that you get excited when you're in the right position but you want to look back early. When you look back early you lose some of your speed. I waited a little longer, be more patient, and when you turn your head, go for the ball like your life's dependant on it. I felt like the last game I was in a perfect position, but I didn't have that drive, that fire of wanting that ball. I made sure I had that mentality."

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com tgraham@buffnews.com