The Buffalo Bills held their first public practice at St. John Fisher College today. While none of the writers from Buffalo Rumblings were in attendance, several local media members took in the public session and reported on the goings-on from Pittsford.
The biggest news from the day were the depth charts, and it was mildly surprising to see Eric Wood start at center (with Kraig Urbik at right guard) and Geoff Hangartner no longer with the starting five. We've seen this move coming for quite some time, but Hangartner has always been the starting center when healthy.
On the defensive side of the ball, first-round draft pick Marcell Dareus stepped in for the departed Marcus Stroud with the starting line, and Reggie Torbor took over Paul Posluszny's spot at inside linebacker. George Wilson started practice as the strong safety opposite Jairus Byrd.
In injury news, linebacker Shawne Merriman lasted an entire practice - a somewhat dubious first as a Buffalo Bill -and tweeted following the session that his Achilles felt "damn good." Marcus Easley, coming off his own season-ending injury from a year ago, tweaked his knee, leaving head coach Chan Gailey to discuss the severity with the media following practice.
"I think he'll be fine," said Gailey. "(Trainer) Bud (Carpenter) thought it was nothing more than just a normal, coming off an injury, getting back into full-speed ... type of deal."
Cornerback Aaron Williams, the team's second round pick in April's draft, impressed on day one when he picked off a pass from backup quarterback Levi Brown in seven-on-seven work. Williams was also hailed for his solid jamming at the line and his strength.
"It feels good to get back out there again," starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "We’ve spent so much time in meetings the other day leading up to this practice. We have some film to look at and it will be good to work on some things."