Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Buffalo Bills practice report
By Mike Rodak
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills held their first full-padded practice of training camp on Tuesday, their first morning session since beginning camp Sunday.
Passing along some observations:
Attendance report: Defensive end Mario Williams continued to be absent from practice. Head coach Doug Marrone said he had no updates on Williams, who he said was off campus yesterday having his sore foot evaluated by doctors. Otherwise, offensive lineman Chris Hairston, who remains on the active/physically unable to perform list, continued to rehab on the sideline.
EJ Manuel was impressive running the offense on Tuesday.
Pough leaves practice; Rogers, Blatnick limited: Rookie linebacker Keith Pough left practice with an unknown injury. The undrafted rookie talked to a team doctor on the sideline before walking off the field. Meanwhile, cornerback Justin Rogers, who practiced with the first team to begin training camp, stayed on the sideline during team drills, as did outside linebacker Jamie Blatnick. The condition of either player isn't known. Defensive lineman Kyle Williams (Achilles) and tight end Scott Chandler (ACL) also were held out of full-team work.
Manuel impressive: Although veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb continues to take snaps with the first-team offense, rookie EJ Manuel had the better performance on Tuesday. In 7-on-7s, Manuel connected with rookie receiver Da'Rick Rogers on a deep ball over cornerback Leodis McKelvin. At 6-foot-5, Manuel has a height advantage over Kolb in the pocket, which helped on Tuesday, as the Bills opened their 11-on-11s with a heavy dose of screen passes. Meanwhile, Kolb was intercepted during an 11-on-11 drill by Stephon Gilmore, although there was a flag thrown on the play.
First fight of camp: With the pads coming on, it didn't take long for players to scuffle after a play. Rookie receiver Robert Woods got into it with cornerback Crezdon Butler after a catch, with Butler taking Woods to the ground and getting in swings before other players intervened. Later in practice, running back Tashard Choice and safety Aaron Williams had to be separated as they jawed at each other walking back to the sideline. Safety Jordan Dangerfield also laid a solid hit on running back Drew Smith after a screen pass, sending Smith tumbling to the ground out of bounds.
1-on-1 drills take center stage: Always a highlight of camp, 1-on-1 pass-rushing drills between an offensive and defensive lineman made their debut on Tuesday. Guard Colin Brown, who looks to have a solid hold on the open left guard spot through the early stages of camp, performed well in this drill. Also standing out on offense were Ryan Turnley, Zebrie Sanders, Zack Chibane. On the defensive end, defensive tackle Torell Troup struggled against Doug Legursky twice, and his second attempt came after he was twice flagged for being offside. Outside linebacker Kourtnei Brown had some wins defensively against Hutch Eckerson and Thomas Welch. Newcomer Tony Hills was flagged for a false start in the drill, as well as in an earlier 11-on-11 drill.
Kickers get their chance: For the first time training camp, the kicking competition came into focus. Veteran Rian Lindell and rookie Dustin Hopkins looked about even in field goals, with each missing two from the 40-yard range in the first period, while both were perfect in the second period. As expected, Hopkins showed the stronger leg on kickoffs, but this battle will continue throughout camp.
Good day at the office for: RB Fred Jackson. The 32-year old set the tone early in practice, breaking an outside run and showing no ill effects from the knee injury that limited him last season. He was fired up coming back to the huddle, which helped pick up the tempo for the first padded practice of camp.
Bad day at the office for: Kolb. Through the first three sessions of training camp, Kolb hasn't shown the veteran edge that one might expect. He hasn't made critical mistakes in practice, but also hasn't looked sharp or accurate in his throws, overthrowing an open T.J. Graham during early 11-on-11 work.
What's next: The Bills will be back on the practice field on Wednesday morning, from 8 to 11:10, before a day off on Thursday.