After stumbling through their first two preseason games, the Bills are preparing this week as if they had a regular season game on Saturday. There has been lots of installation and scout team work at practice the past two days in anticipation of Saturday’s preseason game against Pittsburgh.
“We needed to do this for us, for everybody, for the whole team,” coach Chan Gailey said. “We’ve got a lot of new people that had not been through something like this, we’ve got a new coaching staff on defense so we needed to get this done. But it should help our process as far as understanding exactly what we’re trying to get done during the course of a game week.”
It sounds simple, but the Bills are hoping for more big plays from the first-team offense and fewer big plays against the first-team defense. Buffalo’s starters on offense have struggled to put forth a consistent effort in preseason action thus far.
It took until the third drive of Buffalo’s second preseason game before the Bills found the end zone -- and even that drive stumbled with two penalties and a fumble before Donald Jones’ 31-yard TD. The Bills’ new-look defense wasn’t much better, allowing chunks of yardage to the Vikings through the air and on the ground.
“You want to see improvement, that’s what I keep saying,” Gailey said. “That’s not flashy, not newsworthy, but that’s what you’re hunting is improvement. Statistics can go a lot of different ways in preseason games, but you want to see improvement. You want to see the little things that sometimes only coaches know about and coaches see, you want to see those things improve.”
Injury update: CB Justin Rogers (hamstring) has a chance of playing on Saturday. Rogers has missed most of training camp due to the injury but practiced Wednesday. C Eric Wood (knee) will see his reps double to around 20 against the Steelers, according to Gailey. DE Mark Anderson remains out with a groin injury but should return in time for Buffalo’s preseason finale against Detroit. LG Andy Levitre left practice briefly Wednesday with a left elbow injury but did return. After practice, Levitre said he’d be fine. Anderson, RT Erik Pears and TE Mike Caussin did not participate at Wednesday’s practice.
Extra points: QB/WR Brad Smith has worked exclusively as a WR this week. The plan is still for him to serve as the team’s No. 3 QB. ... The offensive line had a rough day overall and OL coach Joe D’Alessandris made sure his players knew about it. D’Alessandris was extremely vocal at practice. ... DE Chris Kelsay and OT James Carmon had a brief scuffle following a play in team work. Kelsay forced a fumble a short time afterwards.
For more updates on the Bills follow correspondent Mark Ludwiczak on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLBUF and @MarkLud12.