On the fourth day of training camp for the Buffalo Bills, fights were the catalyst for an intense practice session. There were punches, there was some jawing, and there was good football overall at St. John Fisher. Tomorrow’s off day is coming at the right time, it would appear.
Here are some of the stories that piqued our interest in today’s practice session.
First camp fight turns up the heat
A bit of a kerfuffle erupted during 11-on-11 work, with Jordan Mills and
Gary Jerry Hughes the central point of the scuffle. Mills had his helmet removed, and there were definitely some punches thrown, with Shaq Lawson one of the players purported to have thrown hands in the fracas. After the players settled, Sal Capaccio, Thad Brown, and Nate Geary all marveled at how quickly the team refocused and ran the next play. They said it was as if the fight never even happened. There were a few more shoving matches and minor scuffles throughout the session, as the second padded practice of camp really had the blood flowing for the Bills today.
Jones, O’Leary out; Thomas banged up
Zay Jones continues to work his way back from offseason knee surgery. He ran sprints early in the practice session, and has been spotted working hard on the sidelines individually. It seems as if he isn’t too far away from being activated from the non-football injury list. Meanwhile, tight end Nick O’Leary missed practice today. He left the field during yesterday’s session with a foot injury; he returned to practice briefly before hobbling off again. Today, he was spotted in a walking boot.
Towards the end of practice, Logan Thomas was checked by trainers. If he and O’Leary miss time, Khari Lee, Jason Croom, and Keith Towbridge would each have a tremendous amount of opportunities to show the coaching staff that they belong.
Kyle given vet day off
The day after a padded practice is the perfect time for a veteran’s day off, and that’s exactly what head coach Sean McDermott gave 13-year veteran Kyle Williams today. While he was not in pads, Williams did individual work on the sidelines. In his place, Adolphus Washington saw time with starting unit. Harrison Phillips also saw time at 3-tech. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he didn’t want to overload Phillips early in camp, but they gave him some different responsibilities today.
Experiments in offensive personnel
The Bills continued a theme of experimentation on offense as it relates to personnel groupings. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is instantly showing himself to be much more creative than the man he replaced, Rick Dennison (although, to be fair, it doesn’t take much to be more creative than Uncle Rico was). At one point, the Bills had Kelvin Benjamin (6’5”), Logan Thomas (6’6”), and Andre Holmes (6’4”) all lined up on the same side of the field, with Charles Clay in the backfield. Clearly, Daboll likes the size Buffalo has at receiver, and he is looking for ways to maximize those matchups as best he can.
A.J. McCarron spent most of the day with the starting unit, and he looked the part of a starting NFL quarterback. He was poised and accurate, and the ball came out on time most often. He ended his day with a check-down pass to LeSean McCoy, who promptly turned it into a 40-yard touchdown. Nathan Peterman spent the day with the second team. He badly underthrew Robert Foster early in the session, hitting him in the feet on what could have been a long touchdown. Peterman rebounded nicely to show good anticipation and touch. Josh Allen saw some time with the first unit, but only in 7-on-7 work. Otherwise, he was relegated to third-team duties. He hit Robert Foster on a beautiful 50-yard bomb, and he also looked good when executing play-action passes (this one shows him reading the field and picking up yardage with his legs...but look at the fake!). However, when he did play with the starters, it was not pretty—he had a pass batted at the line by Lorenzo Alexander, and he misfired on a few other throws before rebounding with some completions. He ended his day with an 0-for-3 drive in hurry-up mode.
Ryan Groy was back with the first team. At one point, he laid out rookie Tremaine Edmunds when the 6’5,” 250-pounder came up the middle on a blitz...Jason Croom made a nice grab on a 50/50 ball from Nathan Peterman...Check out the motion and read on this quick-toss from Peterman...Shaq Lawson is the backup to Trent Murphy, per Leslie Frazier...Colton Schmidt unleashed a monster punt early in the session...