It's here, folks - the Buffalo Bills are set to take the field for their first practice of 2009 training camp in one hours' time. This is an open thread for the day's events. Our very own MattRichWarren will be attending both practices today (tweeting us updates from the stands), and we'll be (remotely, unfortunately in most cases) keeping up with the prevailing story lines of the day.
Updates will appear after the jump throughout the morning. From what we've been able to gather, the Bills will be practicing without at least their top four rookies (Aaron Maybin, Eric Wood, Jairus Byrd, Andy Levitre), and Shawn Nelson may join that group, as he has not yet actually signed the deal he agreed to yesterday.
7:15 AM: First update of the day, and it's a short one. As mentioned, Matt's on Twitter, so if you're looking for updates directly from the source, follow him there. Make sure to give Matt some love for the live-from-camp updates! We also will be able to provide you exclusive photos (again taken from the stands) thanks to the generosity of Atlanta Bills Backer (and fan of Rumblings) David Selby.
The players had a 7:00 meeting this morning, then they hit the field at 8:30 for the first of two practices.
8:49 AM: Matt's first update indicates that WR James Hardy is on the field as the Bills begin practice. The same can't be said for LB John DiGiorgio, who we're hearing may be mulling season-ending surgery on his knee.
9:33 AM: MRW reports that James Hardy did not run or stretch at the beginning of the practice; looks like his rehab continues (as expected). Rookie TE Shawn Nelson is not practicing this morning, either, despite reports that a deal is in place. He may have just had a travel issue considering how late in the day the deal was agreed upon. [Chris Brown]
9:42 AM: In seven-on-seven work, T.O. makes his first "great" catch of the season.
11:09 AM: With Andy Levitre and Eric Wood still unsigned, Kirk Chambers and Seth McKinney filled in at left and right guard, respectively.
This morning's practice was padless, and has now concluded. Next practice is this afternoon, with two more coming tomorrow (which will bring two-a-days to an end in Buffalo).
4:27 PM: Apologies, folks, for the lack of updates this afternoon. Found myself unexpectedly away from the computer. Matt has been dutifully tweeting up a storm, however, so we'll do a big summary in one afternoon update:
+ TE Shawn Nelson officially signed his contract today and hit the practice field this afternoon after missing only one practice.
+ Matt describes QB Trent Edwards as being "off" and slightly out of sync, consistently throwing poor balls to any receiver not named Owens (who he hit with a 50-yard bomb in 7-on-7 work). CB Leodis McKelvin picked off an Edwards pass, which he promptly returned for a touchdown. S Donte Whitner also intercepted an Edwards pass intended for Owens.
+ Buffalo's backup quarterbacks aren't faring much better. Matt describes Gibran Hamdan as just "bad." Ryan Fitzpatrick has been better, but MLB Paul Posluszny did have a pick-six on him in the afternoon workout.
+ The competition at tight end appears to be wide open, with both Derek Schouman and Derek Fine splitting first-team reps.
+ DT Marcus Stroud left practice "dinged", according to Matt, with what appears to be a gimpy hamstring. DE Ryan Denney was also briefly injured, but returned to action quickly.