Evans pleased with progress on contract negotiations (Photo Source)
The Buffalo Bills hit the field at St. John Fisher College for two practice sessions today, as they opened 2008 training camp with two solid practices. Here's what happened of note on the first day of camp (as reported by BuffaloBills.com):
Peters Holds Out
The big story, of course, is that Jason Peters is holding out. We'll definitely discuss this a bit more over the weekend (probably tomorrow morning); for now, if you're looking to vent on Peters, check out this story.
Evans Has a Great Day
Lee Evans had a good day, both off the field and on. In his usual candid manner, Evans confirmed that progress has been made between his agent and the Bills on a contract extension. This is great news - Evans has been a true professional, never missing a workout and never complaining about his deal (he's currently working on his rookie deal), and the Bills are rewarding him for his loyalty and professionalism. Hear that, Mr. Peters?
Evans also reportedly ran several outstanding routes today in what was a strong performance by Buffalo's revamped passing attack. Always one for a good quote, Evans spoke about his comfort level with QB Trent Edwards as they enter their first full season starting together:
"It's only day one, but we certainly have a comfort level with each other," said Evans. "I think he trusts me and I trust him and now it's just a matter of getting in that rhythm and staying in that rhythm and staying consistent."
Edwards Looking Good
Keep in mind that this was just a practice session, but the fact that Edwards started both practice sessions with 10 consecutive completions in 7-on-7 work. Buffalo's offense, under coordinator Turk Schonert, will have more of a West Coast feel - we're going to see more passing, and Edwards will need to be accurate. It sounds like he's been precise to this point.
Play of Note: "One of Edwards prettiest passes of the series was when he looked the safety off to the right and then dropped a well-timed ball in between three defenders to Josh Reed on the left side of the field for a 20-yard gain."
Defense Quiet, but Corners Looking Good
Naturally, on a productive day for the offense, the defense didn't have such a good go of it. Of note, however, was the play of two of Buffalo's sub-package corners in Will James and Ashton Youboty. Both made multiple nice pass break-ups (James more so than Youboty); the defensive backfield picked off a few passes, and in general were active on the day.
Play of Note: "A deep ball intended for Evans was tipped on a nice play by Ashton Youboty and Simpson was the final beneficiary."
Depth Chart Notes
Kirk Chambers replaced Peters at starting left tackle. Robert Royal and Derek Schouman both worked with the first team at tight end; they were followed by Courtney Anderson in the rotation. James Hardy worked with the second team offense at wideout, as Josh Reed ran with Evans at the top of the lineup. With Kyle Williams excused, John McCargo and Spencer Johnson split first-team reps next to Marcus Stroud.
McKelvin Still Unsigned
Top draft pick Leodis McKelvin missed both of day one's workouts as he remains unsigned. There was talk that a deal was close enough that a deal might be worked out to get McKelvin on the field for this afternoon's workouts, but that did not materialize. A deal is expected to be completed over the weekend.
Look for the Bills to wrap up talks with Evans and McKelvin before doing anything with the Jason Peters situation.
Day Two: Saturday 7/26
The Bills hit the field again tomorrow for two more practices - one at 8:30 AM, the other at 2:15 PM. We'll talk a bit more about Peters, McKelvin and Evans tomorrow morning, and we'll follow it up with another short recap of tomorrow's events. Again, I'll urge you all - if you go to camp and have anything to say about your visit, let us know. We'd love to hear about Buffalo's progress from a fan's perspective.