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Practicing Football Is Not Much Fun in the Heat

Just ask Bills wide receiver Roscoe Parrish. The smallest player on Buffalo's roster was pulled out of workouts yesterday after showing heat exhaustion signs in a scorcher at St. John Fisher. Parrish hopefully won't be missing any time, but the heat may cause a few more problems this week - it's only supposed to get hotter today. This quote in particular, from safety Jim Leonhard, gives us a bit of a clue as to how hard it is to practice in these conditions:

"You've got to fight through it every play," said safety Jim Leonhard of the hot weather Wednesday. "Heat like this is something you're not going to be used to it. It's a constant fight every play. It's hard to stay focused when you're that tired."

Injuries Still Cropping Up
Besides Parrish's issues, there are still a variety of players missing workouts. MLB John DiGiorgio missed another practice, opening the door a bit further for Paul Posluszny (who has battled through a rolled ankle with little issue). CB Jason Webster, DE Anthony Hargrove and RB Josh Scobey missed practice as well; OL Brad Butler was also pulled out of yesterday's practice due to a bad hamstring. We'll keep an eye on the injury status as this hot week continues.

Defense Playing Well
The Bills defense continues to make plays (mostly off of Trent Edwards and Craig Nall, but plays are plays); the biggest playmaker of them all continues to be WLB Keith Ellison:

The defensive play of the day went to Keith Ellison who leaped high in the air to tip a Trent Edwards pass to himself for his fourth interception in camp.

"The ball kind of fell in my hands, but the guys on defense really came out hard today," said Ellison. "I feel a lot more confident than last year. I'm just excited to see what we can do this year on defense."

"Keith is giving everyone a run," said Leonhard. "I don't know if he's paying the quarterbacks or what, but they're throwing him a lot. He's making some great plays and we need more guys to step up and turn in plays like that."

The big question is obviously whether or not Ellison can continue to make plays. It's one thing to bait Craig Nall into a bad throw; it's quite another to bait Tom Brady into a mistake. Hopefully this playmaking streak of his continues, but I'm going to need to see it in meaningful games first to believe it. It is encouraging, however, that he's playing so well thus far.

Pass Protection an Emphasis
If you give up 47 sacks one year, you'd better try to lower that number the following year. The Bills are doing just that - by spending money on talented linemen and practicing their butts off in this department:

Aaron Schobel got around Derrick Dockery on and end-tackle stunt. The main reason was Larry Tripplett effectively tied up Dockery and Jason Peters by himself.

Dockery stood up Tripplett a couple of snaps later and Peters successfully steered Schobel wide.

The signs in the pass protection department have been encouraging - our linemen have looked pretty competent in holding off a pretty deep crew of pass rushers. But our defenders have been equally impressive in causing problems for our linemen, creating a lot of competition between the two groups. The team has the looks of being competent along both fronts this season, and squaring off against each other in practice every day will only help develop the two groups.

Coming Tonight: the Bills will hold their second evening practice of camp amid the late-afternoon haze of a 95-ish degree August day. It'll be interesting to see how the heat effects the players tonight...