PITTSFORD – The Buffalo Bills have a fearsome front four.
The Bills’ offense faced the full fury of it in Saturday night’s practice, getting dominated by the Bills’ pass rushers.
The Bills worked a lot on third-down situations, and it was not pretty. The defense had eight would-be sacks in a 17-play stretch, counting two snaps called off by penalty.
On the second play of the third-down portion of practice, Jerry Hughes got a sack as the pocket collapsed on quarterback EJ Manuel. Then Pro Bowler Mario Williams beat right tackle Erik Pears on the next two plays for sacks.
Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz threw some creative blitzes at the offense. Back-up QB Jeff Tuel was sacked three times in a six-play stretch. Defensive backs Russ Cockrell and Jonathan Meeks got two and Manny Lawson got one.
Then Manuel came on again and got stopped for would-be sacks by Iggy Igbinosun and Stefan Charles.
“We understand if we can block our front four, then we’ll be able to block about anybody,” said center Eric Wood. “For my money I think they’re the best in the league. But that’s no excuse. We gotta do a better job. I think in regular down and distance we’re doing a good job of understanding situations. But when we do all third downs and all third and long, we’re not executing as well right now.”
Another capacity crowd of more than 4,000 at St. John Fisher College saw a few good offensive plays in the regular-down, 11-on-11 session. Mike Williams made a nice sideline catch down the field on a throw from Manuel. But it was all defense on third downs.
“We’re putting a lot in and we have some individual breakdowns right now where we might have 10 guys doing the right thing and one guy not,” Wood said. “Hopefully that’s where this extra week will be beneficial, where next week we won’t be doing that as much.”
A hamstring injury to veteran backup tight end Tony Moeaki prompted the Bills to sign a tight end to the roster. Moeaki, the former Kansas City Chief, injured a hamstring in Friday night’s practice and will be out for the near term, coach Doug Marrone said. In addition, second-year tight end Chris Gragg still is recovering from heat-related stress that put him in the hospital for two days this week.
Signed by the Bills was Dominique Jones, a 6-foot-3, 270-pounder. Jones entered the league as an undrafted rookie in 2012 and has spent time the last two seasons with Indianapolis and Kansas City. He has appeared in 12 games and started three.
“We’re waiting for Chris to come back, which hopefully will be sometime next week, we’re not sure,” Marrone said. “And with Tony, he’ll be out not for the whole camp, but he’s going to be out for a significant amount of time. When I say significant it’s very difficult. When you’re out three, four days in camp, that’s a lot of reps on everybody. So hopefully we’ll be able to get him back quickly.”
Meanwhile, running back Fred Jackson sat out Saturday night with a sore lower leg. It’s not significant. Safety Kenny Ladler (hamstring) sat out.
Tickets for the night sessions Aug. 1, 5 and 9 are available at the following Buffalo-area locations. Sunoco stations at: 6730 Packard Road, Niagara Falls; 5665 Seneca St., West Seneca; and 8000 Main St. Williamsville; and Tops Markets locations at: 2351 Maple Road, Amherst; 2140 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island.
Tickets still are available for the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony Aug. 2 in Canton, Ohio, and for the Bills-Giants game in Canton on Aug. 3. See profootballhof.com.