The Bills donned pads for the first time since training camp opened last Thursday, and there was finally some hitting that went on as a result. The team focused on offensive and defensive line play for a good portion of today's practice; here are some of the more interesting notes:
Langston Walker Looking Sharp
From the sounds of it, Langston Walker has looked pretty good working with a rotation of players at right guard:
"We have to function together and there are certain things that we slowly have to learn about each other," said Walker of Whittle and Preston. "They're both great players."
The fact that these positive reviews are coming in pass blocking work - where Walker is a far bigger question mark as opposed to run blocking - is encouraging. Apparently he was only beat once today on an inside move by starting left end Chris Kelsay. If Walker can continue to perform adequately in pass protection, it will really give our O-Line more balance than it's had in a long time.
Peters/Dockery Performing Well
As balanced as Walker could make the line, our bread and butter will still be to the left side, where our two best linemen reside:
Peters and Dockery successfully flattened out and separated the defensive line creating running lanes to choose from for Fred Jackson.
"It felt good," said Dockery of their work in the run game. "We gave the running backs some holes to run through. It wasn't perfect, but as long as you come off that ball and fly, hopefully you hit somebody. We've got some great backs so as long as we get in the way we can let them do their thing."
Dockery's best block came in 11-on-11 when he stoned John DiGiorgio who was trying to fill the gap.
Sounds like these two have already got a bit of chemistry together. It helps that they're both great players, but the fact that they're gelling already speaks volumes to the coaching staff and the players' potential.
Eric Powell Making Noise
He's sort of the forgotten man amongst our defensive ends, but Eric Powell did in fact make this team last year; perhaps the drafting of C.J. Ah You has sparked his play, because he showed up today:
Eric Powell shot down the line of scrimmage to make a 'would-be' tackle on Lynch as he tried to hit the hole. He also walked back Cieslak on a bull rush effort.
I have a sneaky feeling that the Bills will once again keep five defensive ends on the roster - the team likes to play ends like Ryan Denney and Anthony Hargrove inside at tackle on pass downs, so having extra depth at the end position is a necessity. From the sounds of it, Powell and Ah You will battle it out for this possible last end spot; it should be an interesting battle to keep track of.
Night Practice Tomorrow
The Bills practice tomorrow night at 7PM for two hours; night practices require tickets and this one is sold out. We'll be back tomorrow night with a bit more training camp coverage; stay tuned prior to then, however, for a quick analytical update on Buffalo's defensive backs based on a few camp practices.