DiGiorgio getting looks at WLB (Photo Source)
Day eight of 2008 Buffalo Bills training camp is in the books, and with it came the team's first major injury of the season. Rookie linebacker Alvin Bowen, a fifth-round pick out of Iowa State this past April, suffered a severe knee injury in Friday's practice and is likely lost for the season. As a result of Bowen's injury, the Bills were forced to sign veteran free agent Donnie Spragan, who is expected to be a reserve outside linebacker and special teams player this season.
With Angelo Crowell sitting out of practice and Kawika Mitchell limited as part of a rest regimen for select veterans, backup middle linebacker John DiGiorgio worked with the first team at Mitchell's weak side spot. Keith Ellison continued to take first team reps at Crowell's strong side spot.
DiGiorgio's case is interesting. He played weak side in one game last season - a 26-3 loss at Pittsburgh in Week 2 - and held his own in an underrated effort by Buffalo's defense that day. It's becoming clear that he's a much more valuable reserve in Buffalo's linebacking corps than originally anticipated; it will be interesting to see if he gets any reps on the outside during pre-season action.
Losman Lighting Up Second Team Defense
Trent Edwards' play with the first unit offense has been streaky at best, but veteran backup J.P. Losman has been making plays against Buffalo's second-unit defense. He continued that trend yesterday with a few more touchdown tosses.
Early in 7-on-7 Roscoe Parrish pulled in a long ball down the near sideline from J.P. Losman for a 50-yard gain.
Robert Royal scored for the second straight day pulling in a touchdown pass from J.P. Losman on a post pattern.
Question for y'all to ponder: if Edwards struggles early (not a huge stretch) and Losman has a killer pre-season, how long before the QB controversy resurfaces in the media?
An Opening for Youboty?
If one thing was proven last season, there's never a lack of opportunities for young players to make an impression - especially when veterans are dropping like flies. Jabari Greer was the main beneficiary last season at cornerback. And with Will James going down with a groin injury during yesterday's practice, Ashton Youboty's reps increased.
It's still unclear whether or not James will be able to practice Saturday, but the longer he's out, the better the opportunity for Youboty to state his case for remaining in Buffalo for a third season. The third-year veteran is on the roster bubble just two years after being the team's third-round draft pick.
Youngsters Getting Reps
With veterans like Mitchell, Marcus Stroud, Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay getting a reduced work load Friday, several young players saw increased reps with the first team. At defensive end, Copeland Bryan and Chris Ellis both played end with the first team. John McCargo filled in for Stroud next to Kyle Williams with the first team, and Spencer Johnson saw some time there as well.
Rookie tight end Derek Fine has also seen some reps with the first team offense of late as the second tight end. It appears that the Bills are experimenting with Fine in a blocking and short-area receiving role with the ones, and the rookie has held his own to this point. That is very likely bad news for veteran tight ends Courtney Anderson and Tim Massaquoi.
The Bills are in the midst of their Saturday practice at the time of this posting, practicing today from 10:10AM to 12:20PM. They players get Sunday off to recuperate.