After wrapping up a fourth straight day of training camp practice, Buffalo Bills players will have the day to themselves on Thursday, while coaches will continue preparations for another four-day stretch of practices that will conclude with a live intrasquad scrimmage on Monday evening. Here are the more significant developments from the Wednesday morning practice:
Mario's back, with company on the sidelines
Mario Williams returned to the team on Wednesday with a prognosis on his injured left foot: rest and treatment. He was on the field in full pads, but worked with trainers on the sidelines rather than competing in individual or team drills. Bills head coach Doug Marrone told reporters after practice that Williams is considered day to day.
Scott Chandler joined Williams on the sidelines, but don't worry: Marrone informed reporters that he was there as part of a scheduled rest day. Chandler did some light workouts, as well. Justin Rogers, who missed yesterday's practice as well, was spotted riding a stationary bike.
Late in the day's practice, wide receiver Kevin Elliott appeared to injure his arm or shoulder after laying out for a pass (which he still caught). Stephon Gilmore landed on top of Elliott, and the second-year receiver was ultimately carted off the field.
McKelvin's back with the ones
After working almost exclusively with the second-team defense through the first three practices of camp, expected starter Leodis McKelvin returned to the first-team defense on Wednesday. He is the fourth cornerback to see first-team reps alongside Gilmore in as many days - Rogers, Ron Brooks and T.J. Heath are the others - but with McKelvin appearing back up to speed, don't be surprised if that second cornerback spot remains unchanged for a little while.
More first-team work for Manuel
Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel put together another solid day of work, generating buzz amongst the reporters and observers that took the practice in. Kevin Kolb was eventually worked back into the first-team rotation later in practice, which is exactly what happened on Monday, as well.
Marrone told reporters after practice that with Manuel looking crisp, feeling more comfortable and performing well, the team will begin showing him more exotic defenses when the players return from their day off.
Marrone: #Bills defense will start to show more exotic looks to QB EJ Manuel. "He's quick and decisive ... We're seeing good signs"— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) July 31, 2013
Needless to say, if you're looking for any good reason to make it out to camp this year, No. 3 is probably atop the list by a country mile.
Left guard competition re-opened?
After three straight days in which Colin Brown saw first-team work at left guard, Doug Legursky saw an increased workload in his spot, and Marrone gave indications post-practice that the competition is wide open at that spot.
"We might look to throw someone else in the mix there," Marrone said Wednesday. "We're not seeing the separation we wanted."
Legursky appears to be that competition, but it's possible that another player - such as the recently-signed Antoine Caldwell - could eventually work his way into the battle. Don't sleep on a guy like Sam Young, currently needed for practice reps at tackle, either. We'll see who sneaks into the competition perhaps as soon as Friday morning.
Da'Rick Rogers gets first-team work
Marrone was quick to praise undrafted rookie free agent Da'Rick Rogers, who saw first-team work (along with fellow rookie Robert Woods) on Wednesday. Rogers has generated some buzz in the last couple of days, with camp observers re-affirming his physical talent and strong camp practices to date.
For months, slots 2-4 on the Bills' receiver depth chart have been given (in any order) to Woods, T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin. Perhaps we'll start to see Rogers break that trio up and sneak himself into a playing time role.
We'll have more on this morning's practice as we see it.