Revel in it, Bills fans - we have a wealth of real football news today. Rather than express my glee (which is substantial), let's just get right down to examining the events of today's two practices:
Losman Talks About His Back
First off - the Losman injury. We discussed it briefly this morning; here's what J.P. himself had to say:
In short, this injury doesn't sound too serious. He's on the PUP list for the time being, but I expect him to be practicing at the beginning of next week, if not over the weekend.
Nall Rusty in Losman's Place
I don't mean to sound harsh, but Craig Nall was subpar while replacing Losman with the first unit today. Some quotes on his day:
- "Nall had his ups and downs in the morning practice. While he was accurate with routes over the middle and in the flats, the deep outs were where he had some inconsistency. He threw a pass high and behind Roscoe Parrish along the sideline on one play and behind Sam Aiken on another out pattern. He also overthrew Lee Evans on a deep pass play although Ko Simpson likely would've made a play on the ball anyway."
- "Keith Ellison recorded his second interception in as many practices. Again Craig Nall was the victim as Ellison jumped a route that looked to be a very similar play to the one that Ellison took the other way in the morning session."
- "Lee Evans did make a nice catch on a deep ball from Craig Nall, though he had to hold up a bit to wait for the ball."
Gotta admit, having Losman on the sidelines when it counts will make me nervous. I just don't think that Nall has the same sort of accuracy that Losman does (fancy saying that a year ago). We'll keep an eye on Nall as Losman continues to miss time. See also: Chris Ostrander on Nall
Position Battle Watch
Over the past couple of weeks I've been running down some of the position battles that are sure to wage on as training camp heats up. Since it's the first day, I thought I'd quickly mention the depth chart at the positions I've covered so we can more easily track the battles as they roll on:
Backup QB: Nall got to run through first with the one unit in most instances, but rookie Trent Edwards received a significant amount of reps as well (the two split reps about 50-50). Nall's experience makes him the #2, but Edwards is getting a significant amount of looks, so this still bears watching.
H-Back: Veteran Ryan Neufeld was first in the rotation here, although it was reported that Brad Cieslak saw reps as well. I didn't notice much about Derek Schouman. I stand by my previous assumption that this is Neufeld's job to lose; his running with the first unit affirms that.
#2 WR: Peerless Price ran with the first unit next to Lee Evans as usual, but Josh Reed appeared with this group a few times as well. Sam Aiken and Roscoe Parrish were the primary second-unit wideouts. With Reed's skills best suited for the slot, it's sounding like Reed will be the #3 behind Price, with the occasional appearance as a #2 in run situations (as he's a superior blocker to Peerless). I'll be keeping an eye on Parrish to see how much time he gets in multi-WR packages.
Right Guard: Duke Preston started in the morning practice, only to be replaced by Jason Whittle in the afternoon. My guess is that this may be the first battle to decide itself, as the coaching staff will likely want to get a starting five on the O-Line settled as soon as possible. Brad Butler ran with the second unit at right guard.
DT: As I guessed earlier this week, Kyle Williams was starting next to Larry Tripplett. That will likely continue - unless the fully-healed John McCargo (who ran the 3-technique position as Tripplett's top backup today) can surpass him during camp. This quote excited me about Big John:
Dock Ellis has to be excited right now - McCargo sounds like he's making a bit of a difference already. I can't wait to see how he performs against the likes of Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush in the team's first pre-season game.
I'll admit that while I was confident that Poz would earn this job, I didn't expect him to get first-unit reps this early in camp. It's clear now that the coaching staff is planning on slowly incorporating him into the starting role, and unless he falters in a big way, Johnny D is only keeping the seat warm. That, to me, is great news.
Right CB: Just like spring workouts, Jason Webster worked with the starting defense. Kiwaukee Thomas was entrenched at one spot with the second unit (likely meaning that he'll resume his nickel role), and Ashton Youboty rotated reps with Jabari Greer at the left spot with the two unit. Sounds like our depth chart was accurate - Webster, Thomas, Youboty, Greer, in that order. Youboty has a lot of work to do if he's going to make an impact this season.
Coming Tomorrow: The Bills have two more practices tomorrow - one again in the morning and one in the afternoon. We'll be providing more thoughts and opinions on the day's practice notes as well as having a little fun in our usual Friday edition of Around the AFC East. It's going to be a very busy day here at Rumblings tomorrow, so be sure to check back often!