Reed (right) continues to sit out with back issue (Photo Source)
The Buffalo Bills are four days away from opening their 2008 pre-season schedule with a visit to Washington, and the team continued its training camp preparations last night despite nearly being driven off the field due to inclement weather.
Rain delayed practice twice, but the Bills were able to complete their full session as they head into Wednesday's 1PM practice.
Not participating in Tuesday night's practice were SS Donte Whitner (ankle), WR Josh Reed (back) and DE Copeland Bryan (hamstring). Whitner and Reed are expected to be back on the field by the end of the week and should see some (albeit very little) playing time on Saturday. Rookie WR James Hardy (hamstring) and veteran CB Will James (groin) were scheduled to return to the practice field last night, but due to the slick weather conditions participated only in individual drills. They should be full go today.
An interesting debate that can arise out of a situation like last night is whether or not it's a good thing to have to fight through a practice in those types of weather conditions. Clearly, the Bills are a young football team, and a large percentage of their most important players have not had to deal with harsh weather conditions on a regular basis before. That'll happen often in Buffalo. At the same time, this is just practice - and the team is, in fact, attempting to answer a lot of questions and install a new offense prior to the start of the important games. There are definitely two strong (opposing) arguments to make.
I'd be very interested to hear what everyone here believes about this topic.
S. Johnson at DE?
As the Bills' defense practiced in nickel packages last night, there was one surprise player playing outside at defensive end:
Spencer Johnson got some reps at defensive end in the nickel package.
This is curious. Perhaps I'm not seeing the positive spin on this, but this doesn't make a ton of sense to me. Do I think Spencer Johnson can play end? Certainly - he's probably the quickest, most explosive athlete the Bills have at defensive tackle. But to play him outside on passing downs? To me, that sacrifices some of what little pass rush the Bills already have. Johnson would be a force to be reckoned with on run downs, but I'd rather see them sub in a guy like Chris Ellis for passing downs.
Clearly, it's far too early to get worked up about this - or to believe it's a permanent wrinkle that Perry Fewell is installing - but it's definitely something to think about.
Youboty Still Making Plays
It seems that every practice, CB Ashton Youboty - seemingly buried on the depth chart - makes one or two good plays. Maybe it's because he's working on throws made by Gibran Hamdan most of the time, but it also speaks volumes about his work ethic. He's working his tail off to prove he still belongs on this team; maybe the light is about to go on for this kid.
Ashton Youboty made a nice over the shoulder interception on a deep pass down the sideline from J.P. Losman. Youboty also had a pass breakup late in practice.
Rookie Reggie Corner continues to take first-team nickel back reps with James sidelined, and as krytime discusses, he's been one of the more surprising players on the field for the Bills through the first week-plus of camp. He leads the team with three interceptions to date. Leodis McKelvin worked outside with the second unit and also saw some reps in the nickel package with the second unit, as they continue to experiment with ways to get their top draft pick onto the field.
The Bills practice at 1PM today. They follow it up with another night practice Thursday, a closed practice Friday, and then they hit the field in Washington for the first live game action of the 2008 season.