Bills inspired by the Turk

The big news Tuesday, a week before the Buffalo Bills had to make cuts, was the nine early cuts they did make.

Buffalo released two players, defensive end Erik Flowers and wide receiver Jeremy McDaniel, who are in their third season and have made a total of 11 NFL starts. Also feeling The Turk's blade were seven rookies and first-year players: quarterback David Priestley, guard Tom Schau, defensive tackles Demetrious Maxie and DeVonte Peterson, cornerback Daryon Brutley, strong safety Milton Proctor and kicker Marc Samuel.

"Doing it now gives some players an opportunity to get a look someplace else," said team president Tom Donahoe. "The longer you hold them, the harder it is for them to get a job. Other teams are going through the same things we are. They're struggling with numbers. We figured these are some players who wouldn't play this week."

The Bills' active roster now is at 72 players. They will have to reach the first mandated roster limit of 65 (plus exemptions for players who were in the NFL Europe League this spring) by Tuesday, Aug. 27 ...

The cuts were a reminder to the players who remained that even a first-round draft pick such as Flowers might not be safe.

With players in full pads, the level of hitting was the hardest of the training camp, except for the joint practices with the Browns. On running plays, the defense forced fumbles by Travis Henry and Shawn Bryson, and defenders Billy Jenkins and Bryce Fisher recovered the fumbles.

Defensive backs also were literally on the ball. Coy Wire, Antoine Winfield and Chris Watson all knocked away passes that would have been completions. Their success gave middle linebacker London Fletcher fodder for his trash-talking competition with injured offensive tackle Jonas Jennings ...

Two offensive players did show up better than they had earlier in camp. Alex Van Pelt's passes were more sharp than on Monday, and tight end Sheldon Jackson continued his receiving renaissance. His best catch was in a red-zone drill, when Van Pelt lofted a pass over linebacker DaShon Polk and into Jackson's hands ...

Missing from the morning practice were injured players Jennings and Leif Larsen, and fullback Larry Centers, who was given the day off to rest. The newest Bill, Chidi Ahanotu, was excused to get his family settled in western New York. Tight end Dave Moore sat out because of a hip pointer, and guard Corey Hulsey walked off the field with a minor left knee sprain.

The afternoon practice was an hour-long special-teams walkthrough closed to the public. Forty-five players participated. Missing were the quarterbacks, most of the offensive linemen and the most senior offensive players.

Dan O'Leary and Jay Riemersma worked on long snapping for punts, with Charlie Rogers, Nate Clements and Andre Rone back to field them. Kickoff coverage and blocking drills took up most of the hour.


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