Walker will play LT as long as Peters stays away (Photo Source)
A day after the team's first night practice of 2008 training camp, the Buffalo Bills took the field for another padded practice today - and upon doing so, made a very important switch on their offensive line.
Langston Walker, entering his second season as a Bill, will make the switch from right to left tackle. He'll be charged with the duty of protecting Trent Edwards' blind side until the team finds out what is going on with holdout left tackle Jason Peters.
This move is not considered permanent at the moment, but is meant to give the club options along the line in case Peters' holdout extends into the regular season. Currently, Walker is by far the team's best offensive tackle, so putting him at the most important position makes sense. But he is clearly better suited to playing the right side; depending on what happens with Peters, expect the team to start exploring the market of available tackle options. They might not find anything worth pursuing, but you can bet they'll be looking.
There has still been no movement on the Peters front, although COO Russ Brandon did inform the media today that the team would be making no further public statements about the situation until Peters reported to work.
Quarterback Trent Edwards on the switch:
Quarterback Trent Edwards supported the switch, believing it necessary for the team to consider all of its options.
"I've got all the confidence in the world in our coaches and our players that we're going to make the adjustments needed based on whether or not Jason comes back," Edwards said.
Defense Continues to Shine
I saw very good things out of Buffalo's defense at Tuesday night's practice, and Chris Brown reports that the unit played well again Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Marcus Stroud was again at the forefront, using his slippery, powerful penetrating ability to collapse pockets and make plays in the backfield. The unit also reportedly used its speed to swarm to the ball on several occasions. This is great news to hear, even if their dominance came against a recently re-shuffled offensive line.
Play of Note: "On all but one running play the Bills defensive front did not let the running back get more than a yard beyond the line of scrimmage. Marcus Stroud set the tone when he penetrated and grabbed Marshawn Lynch in the offensive backfield."
Players Still Dinged
Backup quarterback J.P. Losman returned to practice in a limited capacity, as did FS Ko Simpson. Angelo Crowell sat out practice again, as did DE Aaron Schobel, who was excused due to a death in his family. Rookie WR Steve Johnson sat out with a minor knee injury, and Ryan Denney tweaked a foot (he would later return to the field).
It's a little bit disconcerting to see all of these dings this early in camp - especially after the team put 17 players on Injured Reserve last season - but at least they're not serious at this point. All of these players are expected to be back on the field within the next couple of days.
Red Zone Work - that means Hardy
The Bills concentrated on red zone work today, and not surprisingly, getting rookie WR James Hardy involved was a heavy focus. It's nice to hear things like this:
Felton Huggins made an acrobatic grab at the five-yard line on a ball that was a little high from Losman. On the next play Losman delivered a nice looking fade pass to James Hardy in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
One thing that I noticed Tuesday night that I forgot to mention - Buffalo's quarterbacks are not especially adept at throwing fade routes. Perhaps it's because they haven't had many opportunities to do so; regardless, it would be good to see more of this work, as the Edwards to Hardy connection down close is a crucial element to have for the 2008 season. Without it, this offense remains mediocre, and Rian Lindell's stats inflate.
The Bills hit the practice field tomorrow at 7PM for their second night practice this week.