Thursday, June 19, 2014
Williams, Graham expected healthy by camp
By Mike Rodak
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills wrapped up their three-day minicamp Thursday, officially beginning their month-long break before training camp.
With tight end Scott Chandler the only player not on the practice field -- he was excused from minicamp for a family matter -- the Bills were near full health as they head into their summer vacation.
Coach Doug Marrone said Thursday that he isn't aware of any players that should miss the start of training camp because of injury, which means that several players who were limited in organized team activities and minicamp should be ready when the Bills start practice on July 20.
Among those players who were limited in recent weeks was wide receiver Mike Williams. He told reporters Thursday that he was still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered last season that required surgery.
"We started off where they threw me out there and I was just going every rep and then the leg starting getting to me and then they started holding me back more and more," Williams said. "But then I started getting my legs back and giving me more reps."
T.J. Graham, who didn't participate in any team drills during OTAs or minicamp, is also expected back by training camp. That will bring the Bills' wide receiver position back to full health and create strong competition this summer.
The Bills mixed and matched personnel at receiver throughout spring practices, with Williams, Marquise Goodwin, and Chris Hogan all seeing reps with starting quarterback EJ Manuel at one point or another. All three receivers also received snaps with backups Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel.
When Williams is healthy by training camp, he remains the favorite to earn reps alongside Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and the first-team offense.
However, we wrote last week that Williams' roster spot wasn't a "sure bet" given the landscape of the position. Williams is a talented player who could easily secure a role with a strong training camp, but it's too early to dismiss two other players on the depth chart: Hogan and Graham.
Hogan didn't look out of place with the top offensive unit this spring, and Graham couldn't practice on offense but got his work in as a returner in recent weeks. Both players, along with Goodwin, could push Williams for playing time at wide receiver.
It will be one of the top competitions to watch when the Bills start training camp.