The Buffalo Bills held their first night practice of 2015 training camp last night, and while fans on hand didn't see much different in the way of quarterback play and had one of the team's biggest stars sit out of team work, they were evidently wowed by several big plays from other areas on the roster. This is our Recap Recap, in which we distill all of the practice recaps written by Bills beat reporters for common themes and unique takes on a daily basis.
- QB battle to heat up: Rex Ryan told reporters before practice that after the team's off day on Tuesday, they'll begin scripting specific things for their quarterbacks, elevating the importance of their performances starting on Wednesday. He also pointed to an intra-squad scrimmage scheduled for this Saturday as a particularly important day in the quarterback competition, as well.
- QB trends: Nobody is noticing separation yet at quarterback, but most of these recaps have nicer things to say about Tyrod Taylor (who made some nice flash plays and didn't take as many sacks as he had been) and EJ Manuel (who started off the session roughly, but improved dramatically near the end) than they do about perceived front-runner Matt Cassel.
- Shady sits: After three straight days of strong practices, the Bills rewarded running back LeSean McCoy by giving him a night off from full-team work. Fred Jackson took the majority of those first-team reps. McCoy is fine; the Bills are just being extra cautious about his workload until the regular season.
- Boobie leaves early: Anthony Dixon left practice within the first hour with an undisclosed injury. Ryan did not speak with reporters after practice, so we won't have a clear idea of the nature and seriousness of Dixon's injury until Wednesday morning, when the Bills return to the field following their off day.
- Sammy shines: Today is going to be a day where media and fans alike say a lot of great things about Sammy Watkins, because he had an excellent practice on Monday night, made a few big plays, and still looks explosive. His one-on-one work against Stephon Gilmore has been an early highlight in camp this year.
- Clay MIA: Multiple reporters are pointing out that four practices into training camp, Charles Clay has yet to have a meaningful role in full-time passing game work. That's a little strange given the massive contract he signed this spring, and it bears watching for the remainder of the preseason.
- Henderson rising: Cyrus Kouandjio took the majority of the first-team right tackle reps in the first few days of practice, but that changed on Monday night, as Seantrel Henderson saw significant work with the ones for the first time (he'd been sprinkled in on previous days). Kouandjio took first-team reps, too. This battle seems to be as wide-open as the race for the starting quarterback job.
For more specific observations, take a gander at these recaps:
Mike Rodak, ESPN
Rodak continues to focus nearly exclusively on the quarterback play. The theme of his Monday night recap: how unpredictable the competition has been, with quarterbacks ranging from awful to quite good seemingly on a whim.
Vic Carucci, The Buffalo News
Among those reporting from St. John Fisher last night, Carucci was probably the most lukewarm on Taylor, noting that his deep passes tend to flutter. His observations on Manuel and Cassel fall in line with the rest, however.
Matthew Fairburn, Syracuse.com
Juxtaposing Carucci's opinion in Taylor is Fairburn, who writes: "Taylor... looked like the best quarterback of the day. He made the play of the night when he avoided pressure and found Sammy Watkins deep downfield for a touchdown during team drills... Taylor bought time and got the ball to him. Taylor also did a better job of taking what the defense was giving him instead of trying to do too much with his legs. He looks like he's getting into a bit of a groove."
Joe Buscaglia, WKBW
Buscaglia also has some nice things to say about Taylor, and gives Manuel credit for his late-practice surge, but the highlight of his article is always the MVP (Watkins) and LVP (Bryce Brown) awards. Brown was dinged by multiple reporters for fumbling during a drill.
Ty Dunne, The Buffalo News
Dunne takes a step or two beyond the boundaries of the common narratives from Monday night, praising the improved route-running of Marquise Goodwin and noting that Ryan and his defensive coaching staff continue to dial up large amounts of pressure on the offense early in camp.
Chris Brown, BuffaloBills.com
The official site chimes in with some observations on a successful period for the offense during red zone work.
Sal Capaccio, WGR 550
If you're sick of reading, you can take three minutes out of your morning and catch up on all of the pertinent details from Capaccio in this video recap.
The Bills are off on Tuesday.
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