Bills rookie CB Reggie Corner (Photo Source)
Note: Apologies for the lateness of this entry, folks. The Bills' quick turnaround between pre-season games prevented me from getting to this until yesterday; rest assured that we'll go over the Bills/Steelers game ASAP, with the first half Film Session post coming tomorrow morning.
Yes, the Bills have already played another pre-season game, but that doesn't mean that our Film Session review of the second half of their first pre-season game won't come without valuable tidbits. I've already broken down some of the Bills' win over the Steelers, but for the sake of chronology, we'll cover the second half of their loss to the 'Skins first. Rather than making general observations about each position, I'll point out some things I noticed about individual players (this will be specific to pre-season games only). Enjoy...
Dick Jauron: Whoops. Guess we'll start with Buffalo's head coach first. I found this curious: Dick looked murderous after RB Dwayne Wright's second-half fumble; he clapped his hands encouragingly (while still looking pretty miffed) after RB Xavier Omon's fumble. Just an interesting fact to add to the facts in the competition for the third RB job.
Gibran Hamdan: I wasn't all that impressed. He made some nice throws underneath and looks like a smart enough guy. His accuracy on deep balls isn't great, and he looks jittery from time to time in the pocket. He's light years better than Matt Baker, but I still don't think Gibran is a mortal lock to make the final roster.
Xavier Omon: This kid looks good. He's already as tough as Wright in the run game, but he's more physical picking up the blitz. On two plays in Washington, Omon made thumping good hits to completely erase Redskins blitzers. That was unexpected from Omon coming from Division II. Quite the pleasant surprise.
Demetrius Bell: Bell has got a future. His athleticism is great - he's got quick feet and quicker hands. Not surprisingly, he still struggles a bit technique-wise and with more physical players; I saw him get knocked backwards more than once by a solid punch. He looks a bit tentative at times as well - but don't mistake that for his being passive. He looks like he could be counted on as a reserve this season.
Duke Preston: My stomach lurched a bit on one play, where Preston was blown five yards backwards into his own backfield, but otherwise, I didn't think he looked too bad. Granted, he was playing second and third team linemen from Washington. I think his versatility keeps him on this team for another year.
Matt Murphy: It's a pity Murphy got hurt, because I thought he looked pretty solid at both left and right tackle. He'd have made a fine third tackle in the event that Jason Peters' holdout extends into the regular season. Alas, the 2007 injury bug waited around for Murphy as well.
Derek Fine: Buffalo's rookie tight end is easily the team's most natural receiver at the position. He just looks comfortable running routes and catching the football; I think by mid-season, he's playing a prominent second fiddle to Robert Royal. Derek Schouman appears to be all hype at this point.
Steve Johnson: I liked what I saw out of Buffalo's other rookie receiver as a run blocker; he's a tough shed in the slot. He flashed good hands as well. I don't know if we've seen enough out of him on special teams, however, to say that he's got a shot at the final roster. In fact, I'd say that Felton Huggins has a better shot at the final roster than Johnson at this point, because Huggins is a better deep threat.
Chris Ellis: One one running play, Ellis completely blew up the Redskins' entire blocking scheme with outstanding penetration; he was blatantly held on the play as a result. I'm going to be honest - I thought Ellis was Buffalo's most impressive rookie in Washington. He's still green and needs another pass rush move or two for his repertoire, but I think if things go well this season he could be starting next to Aaron Schobel in '09.
Marcus Buggs: UDFA LB Buggs is small, but packs a nice punch. He was solid in the team's goal line stand in the fourth quarter. He looks good on special teams as well. He may just beat out Blake Costanzo for the final roster spot at LB if the team keeps a seventh.
Reggie Corner: He took some lumps, but he also made some great plays. For a guy nobody knew about exiting the draft, he looks very natural - and very quick - on the field. Another solid find by Buffalo's scouting department.
Leodis McKelvin: I'm not worried about McKelvin's cover skills; those are already solid, and they'll get much better. I focused instead on his tackling - and it's not great. McKelvin is physical and willing to risk his body to make a tough play, but his tackling from a technique standpoint is quite poor. It's this fact that might prevent him from sneaking in nickel reps, at least initially, in the regular season - Buffalo's nickel back must be a good tackler in Perry Fewell's system.
I have some notes on some other players, but they're not necessarily worth posting here. Saw some good things out of Buffalo's youngsters, though, in particular Bell, Omon, Ellis and Corner. Again, we'll have more Film Session stuff to discuss tomorrow morning as we break down the first half of the Bills' victory over Pittsburgh.