In their lead-up to a scrimmage on Saturday night, the Buffalo Bills rested some key veterans and suffered through a thinned-out depth chart thanks to some small injuries on Friday - but they also conducted their first live-hitting practice segment of the summer to keep things lively. Here's what you need to know from the field at St. John Fisher in today's Recap Recap:
- Taylor talked up: If there has been any separation between the three quarterbacks competing for the starting job, it's been between how Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel have been covered over the last three practices. Good things have been written about all three players, but while the group remains iffy on Manuel thanks to inconsistency, the rhetoric surrounding Taylor has been largely positive of late. Most now seem to agree that if anyone is going to rise to challenge Matt Cassel for the gig, it'll be Taylor - unless Manuel finally finds his consistency.
- Brown, Williams separating: The Bills are banged up at running back. As a result, Bryce Brown and rookie Karlos Williams have seen an increase in practice time. On Friday, Brown fumbled in a goal line drill, was stuffed on several occasions, and was then spotted after practice with an ice wrap on his knee. Williams, meanwhile, continues to draw praise for his decisive running style, positional versatility, overall athleticism, and special teams ability. Can he claim a role on offense this season?
- Gains for Gragg: Charles Clay sat out of a lot of the team portions of practice on Friday to keep him fresh for Saturday night's scrimmage. Of the many reserve tight ends vying for playing time, it was Chris Gragg that saw the most extensive action in place of Clay - and he showed well, overcoming a couple of mistakes to haul in touchdown passes and make some nice catches in traffic. Ryan talked up Gragg's improvement as a blocker after practice, as well.
- Tackle praise: Plenty of good things are being said about the Bills' offensive tackles right now. Cordy Glenn is on the receiving end of most of that, as he's had Jerry Hughes' number so far in one-on-one battles. Seantrel Henderson continues to make the most of his first-team opportunity at right tackle, as well, and reportedly had a good showing against Mario Williams in a blocking drill. He seems to have nudged ahead of Cyrus Kouandjio for the time being.
- Live hitting: For the first time this summer, Buffalo's coaches conducted a segment of practice in which full contact was involved. For 10 plays, players hit other players and tackled to the ground, and it happened to be during a goal line segment. LeSean McCoy squirted into the end zone for a score early, but by most accounts, it was Buffalo's defense that had a definitive upper hand during this session.
- Dings, dings, dings: A lot of players are nursing injuries of various degrees of severity right now. Fred Jackson and Boobie Dixon are laid up for multiple weeks at running back, and McCoy is nursing his sore toe, as well. Five different receivers sat out of practice on Friday, including Sammy Watkins (though he is expected to take part in Saturday night's scrimmage). Leodis McKelvin was already out at cornerback, and Ron Brooks joined him there on Friday, though he is expected to be okay. Aaron Williams and Jerome Felton both spent time with trainers during the live-hitting segment, but likewise, both players should be fine.
Thirsting for more info? You can find it in the recaps linked below.
Mike Rodak, ESPN
Rodak writes exclusively about the quarterbacks in the recap linked above - following the rhetoric that we've already discussed above - but he has a couple of other blurbs over at ESPN.com if you're inclined to seek them out.
Jay Skurski, The Buffalo News
Skurski has his thoughts on the quarterbacks jotted down in a separate post (which includes some interesting Matt Simms observations from Ryan); in the one linked above, he talks through the live-contact goal line drill, and talks up the Bills' three Pro Bowl defensive linemen and how they "put on a show" during one-on-one pass blocking drills.
Joe Buscaglia, WKBW
In today's recap, Buscaglia notes strong play from the team's reserve linebackers during the live-hitting goal line session, notes that second-year cornerback Ross Cockrell has been struggling this summer, and he awards his daily MVP award to Glenn, who appears to be back to his old self.
Matthew Fairburn, Syracuse.com
Worried about the Bills' defensive tackle depth behind Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams? Don't be, says Fairburn, who notes that both Stefan Charles and Corbin Bryant have had strong starts to training camp, and throws some light praise at Alex Carrington, as well. Also interesting: Karlos Williams took some snaps at fullback during goal line work.
Sal Capaccio, WGR 550
Capaccio notes that with a light crowd at running back, Marcus Thigpen has been taking some reps there. He also includes the most detailed look at Gragg's day, and he's been the reporter most likely to comment on the reserve tight end battle to date in camp.
|FRI 7/31||10-12 (AM)||Live, Recap|
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