Bills Camp Recap
The Bills have been in camp for over 2 weeks and played their first preseason against on Sunday against the New York football Giants. The big off the field story that has been clouding this team is the potential new owner of the team. The three big names are Terry Pegula, Donald Trump, and Jon Bon Jovi and his Toronto. Bon Jovi to appease the Bills fans wrote a letter to the fans promising to keep the team in Buffalo and not move them away. That didn’t work out too well. Now onto the actual football stuff where the Bills had their latest practice on Tuesday night. Here we highlight the key story lines in Bills camp.
1) Offensive Line in Shambles
Cordy Glenn has been out with an undisclosed injury (hopefully back by Week 1) which means 7th round pick Seantrel Henderson is holding the fort who has been playing pretty well and showing why he was a #1 recruit coming out of high school. The right side of the line is where things are in a zone of danger. For the Right Guard position is a three way battle between Kraig Ubrik, Chris Hairston and 5th round pick Cyril Richardson. Hairston and Ubrik have been getting the most work. Ubrik has the edge as he was the starter last year but they look to be giving Hairston and Richardson every change to win that job.
At Right tackle is a battle between Erik Pears and Cyrus Kuoandjio, 2nd round pick out of Bama. Cyrus has struggled greatly in pass protection and is playing with the 2nd teams and while he is improving, he might not be starting week 1 like some hoped. The interesting scenario will be if Glenn comes back week 1, they move Henderson to RT where he had experience at while in college.
2) Replacing Kiko and other defensive notes
With The Legend of Kiko out for the season the Bills have been looking to replace who was (outside of Kyle Williams) the best player on the defense. At the Weakside linebacker position the #1 replacement has been Nigel Bradham who is the most athletic player at linebacker. Right now the starting group for the Bills at linebacker is Keith Rivers at Strongside linebacker, Brandon Spikes the designated run stuffing linebacker and Bradham WLB. On nickel packages is where it gets interesting as Preston Brown who is very similar to Spikes is playing in coverage along with Bradham.
In the secondary there is a battle brewing for the other safety position opposite Aaron Williams. Right now the battle is between Da’Norris Searcy and Duke Williams. Searcy has had the early edge due to his experience last year but in the first preseason game, Duke had the better game and this looks to be a battle that will play out all preseason long.
Other Thoughts and Notes
In 1st team work in practice on Tuesday, Chris Hogan was the 1st team slot receiver with Woods only coming in when Sammy Watkins needed a breather. This has been happening a lot recently with Hogan even playing with the 1st team in the HOF game while Woods was with the backup and 3rd stringers. This could mean 1 of two things. Either Hogan is proving his 7-11 nickname right and really as good as people are saying, or Marrone is working out other guys with the 1st team so QB EJ Manuel can develop a rhythm with them instead of throwing to Woods. But this is something to take note of in the coming weeks.
The starting WRs look to be Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams and the duo of Hogan/Woods being put in at slot.
The front four of the Bills looks to be a top 5 unit in the NFL, they have dominated in practice and have looked the part. In Tuesday’s practice they had a sack lunch.
The offensive line is a concern early on as they struggle lots of time in pass protection.
The RB corp of the Bills has three high caliber players in Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller and Bryce Brown. The biggest problem is how to get them all carries which is a good problem to have.
Mike Williams has been impressive in camp and is that big, physical receiver the Bills have been missing. Not only will be a valuable redzone target, he can also make some plays after the catch as evident by his 11 yard screen catch in the HOF game.