The first weekend of training camp is over and the team is now in pads — which means no more funny business. Let’s take a look at the Buffalo Bills training camp notes from Day 3 on Monday.
The Buffalo Bills signed Reggie Bush yesterday, which made headlines everywhere after speculation began a couple weeks ago. It was a solid move and will continue to be talked about during the Bills’ training camp this month as we figure out what his role will be on the team.
However, that news shouldn’t overcast the rest of the news surrounding the Bills this training camp. They have a lot to figure out before pre-season begins and although only three practices have gone by, they don’t have a lot of time to waste.
We covered the first two days of training camp and highlighted some of the more important notes from both of those days. Let’s take a look at how Monday’s practice went.
In their first padded practice of the 2016 season, the Bills’ defense was the main story on Monday. Whether it was a rookie stepping up or a proven player impressing the coaches even more, we finally got a glimpse of some excitement following the defense after a less-than-stellar first two days on the field.
First off, let’s start with the rookies. The Bills are expecting to have three rookies on defense that will play a vital role in their scheme: Reggie Ragland, Adolphus Washington and Shaq Lawson. Obviously, Shaq Lawson is injured and will be missing some time this season, but the other two have been making good progress so far, especially on Monday.
Ragland showed his ability to stop the run, stopping Jonathan Williams and LeSean McCoy at the line of scrimmage in back-to-back plays. Washington has also been a consistent player so far this training camp, which is good news considering the Bills were without Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus once again.
Another rookie that’s been making some noise is our final draft pick, Kevon Seymour. He has been very consistent through the first three days. He has been doing a great job of following receivers step by step, although he hasn’t had any of those “big” plays.
That leads us to Stephon Gilmore, who has been the Bills’ top player so far this training camp. It was made obvious during the offseason that he wanted a bigger paycheck, but the Bills decided to make him work for it. That’s exactly what we are seeing from Gilmore. He had a great first two days, but continued it on Monday with another interception while covering Greg Little.
Rex Ryan had the following to say about Gilmore after the first three days:
"“He is an extremely talented young man. I think he’s decided to take his game to a higher level and do whatever he can. Whatever he did in the offseason it’s been terrific. I’ve seen him. He’s been a tremendous player, but I see his game and it’s vastly improved. He’s been the most impressive guy out here.”"
Another player making headlines is Aaron Williams, who missed pretty much all of last season with a neck injury. He has been taking it slow as he returns to full health, but won’t be completely sure of his health until he makes that first “big hit.” He made progress when the team added pads for Monday’s practice and beyond. He was a little unsure of how his neck would hold up with all of the extra weight on. After practice, he noted:
"“I’m just focused on day by day and see how my neck feels each day. It was helmets the first few days and now in pads it’s putting more strain on my neck and shoulders. So I just wanted to see how it felt to be back and have those pads back on.”"
Other notable defenders making noise were Jerel Worthy and Zach Brown, who each had two sacks on Tyrod Taylor. It gave the Bills hope that they might actually have some depth on defense, which will come in handy in the event of an injury to a starter — knock on wood.
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On the offensive side of the ball, we finally saw Tyrod give us what we saw back in June. Although he was still a little iffy in the open field, he excelled when the practice was brought inside the red zone near the end of practice. In fact, he ended up scoring three touchdowns — two to Robert Woods and one to LeSean McCoy (who is starting to get back to his one-on-one explosiveness). Taylor got close to a fourth touchdown in the red-zone, but Charles Clay wasn’t ready to catch the ball when thrown to.
As for the rest of the receivers, Greg Little and Dez Lewis had quite days after both having an impressive weekend. However, Marquise Goodwin continues to prove his worth after a good weekend and even lined up with Robert Woods as the top receivers on Monday. Keep in mind, the team is still without Sammy Watkins, but it gives us a sneak peek into what our potential lineup will be behind Watkins and Woods.
Lastly, I want to touch base on the kicking battle. As I mentioned after the first two practices, Marshall Morgan had beaten Dan Carpenter so far. However, Carpenter took the belt on Day 3 of training camp. Both kickers only missed one field goal, with Carpenter missing a 37-yard field goal and Morgan missing a 43-yard field goal.
The Bills will continue practice on Tuesday at 6 pm at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. It will be the team’s first night practice this training camp.
After the first 3 practices, who do you think deserves that No. 3 wide-receiver spot? Leave comments below!