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Practice report: Temperatures rising as Bills hit "dog days" of August

PITTSFORD – The Buffalo Bills were a bit testy with each other while practicing on a hot afternoon and for a second straight day after Friday’s exhibition game.

Early in Sunday’s workout at St. John Fisher College, the running backs and defensive backs were doing individual drills on separate sides of the field. Suddenly the two groups came together for some jawing and shoving. No punches were thrown.

Running back Fred Jackson said the players are getting irritable about the “dog days” of training camp. The team is off today but it has a tough week ahead, with sessions against the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the exhibition game Saturday.

“We’ve been here I don’t even know how long, three weeks?” Jackson said. “You can expect that on a hot day. We haven’t had a break for a little while, so you can expect that out here. It’s part of training camp, though. We go back in the locker room and it’s left out on the field.”

Apparently someone said something mildly offensive to cause the brief scrum Sunday.

“That’s all it was,” Jackson said. “That’s’ something we do all the time, mess with those guys, and that’s just what that was out there on the field, just get ready, get riled up to go have a work day today.”

The Bills had a light practice Saturday, the day after the game, but had a full practice Sunday. There wasn’t a ton of hitting, but the team did run four plays of full-tackling, goal-line drills.

“It’s just part of it,” Jackson said. “I think it’s going to be a good learning tool for us, something we can fall back on during the season when things are tough. We can fall back on what we did to get through this stretch of things we have coming up.”

Other highlights from the workout, conducted before another good crowd of well more than 1,000:

--Receiver Mike Williams was a standout again. In red-zone work, he made a one-handed grab over cornerback Corey Graham along the sideline of the end zone and got both feet in bounds. EJ Manuel made the throw. Graham playfully threw the ball at Williams’ back as the receiver walked away. Williams also had a 20-yard TD over the middle.

“He’s been consistent tracking the ball, whether it’s the fade or the deep ball or the post,” said Manuel. “I think a great example of that was in the game, the corner played off him a little bit, I just stuck it on him and he went up and made a great catch. Having that as a security blanket at receiver is awesome for us.”

--Sammy Watkins made another dazzling one-handed catch, off an underneath throw by Manuel that was behind the receiver.

--Overall, Manuel had a pretty good day. He dropped a 25-yard thrown over Watkins' shoulder down the right sideline on the second play of 11-on-11 work. When the Bills went to the red zone, Manuel hit Watkins on a perfect strike in the right corner of the end zone, right in stride. On the next play, a slant for Robert Woods, his placement wasn't in stride, but Woods still made a catch low to the ground. Later in 11 on 11 work, Manuel stepped up nicely to hit a crossing Williams.

--Jeff Tuel was the No. 2 QB, with Thad Lewis at No. 3 and Dennis Dixon No. 4. Lewis was picked off by Jajuan Harley on an overthrown slant in the red zone.

--The Bills had four plays of live tackling from the 2. Anthony Dixon scored one TD. Lewis threw what might have been a TD to Chris Gragg, but the QB might have been sacked on the play. It was hard to tell if he would have gotten the pass off.

--Jerry Hughes beat Seantrel Henderson for a would-be sack of Manuel. Alan Branch had a touch-sack of Tuel four plays later. Russ Cockrell had an INT of a Dixon overthrow. Duke Williams blitzed and came untouched for a sack of Manuel.

--Rookie Cyrus Kouandjio stepped into the starting lineup, with Chris Williams out due to a sore back. Besides Williams, not practicing were Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, Jonathan Meeks, Ty Powell and Tony Moeaki. Marquise Goodwin was limited.

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The Bills signed cornerback Sam Miller and waived cornerback Michael Carter.

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