Buffalo Bills Training Camp Practice 1: Recap

ORCHARD PARK, NY - May 18: Sammy Watkins
ORCHARD PARK, NY - May 18: Sammy Watkins /

The Buffalo Bills finally opened up their 2017 training camp at St. John Fisher College, their 18th year training at the college in Pittsford, NY.

I was in attendance and here are some of my takeaways from practice:

McDermott brings. . . a party???

Right from walking onto campus, it felt much more like a party than ever in years past.  Food trucks, custom haircuts, and loud music greeted eager fans ready to watch the Bills.  Once practice began, the party vibes continued with live DJ’s controlling the music all evening.  It was remixes and mash ups galore tonight at St. John Fisher.  I have been going to camp at Fisher for 18 years, and I have never felt the party atmosphere as much as I did tonight.

Well-oiled machine

The only times that the music was not playing during practice was when the players were huddled around McDermott; something that they did at the beginning of practice, the middle, and at the end.  Tonight’s practice was seamless.  It looked like this was year 3 of this coaching staffs regime.  The players knew what was coming. Next, the transitions between drills were quick, and every position group had an organized drill to do at all times.  True to everything that we have heard about McDermott up to this point, he had his players prepared and ready for camp, no questions asked.

Rough night for QB’s

It was just the first practice, but I suspect that all three QB’s will tell you that they could have performed better tonight.  A decent amount of throws from Tyrod Taylor were off the mark, as he had trouble finding his rhythm.  Nathan Peterman was also pretty erratic with the football and was late on a few throws throughout the night, one of which was read perfectly and tipped by Joe Powell, tipped, only to be intercepted by Charles James.

Here were the QB stats for the 11 on 11 portions of the practice:

Taylor- 3/6 34 yds
Yates- 3/5 38 yds
Peterman- 2/7 19 yds, INT, Fumble

Healthy Sammy

What a difference a healthy Sammy Watkins makes.  Sammy was full-go for the first time this offseason after recovering from foot surgery this past January.  The quick and elusive cuts that we have seen from Sammy were on display again tonight.  Aside from Taylor, Sammy Watkins is the one player that the Bills cannot afford to lose to injury…again.

Position Battles

There are many practices, and four preseason games, to come before the Bills open up the regular season against the Jets.  But for now, here is how the reps looked for some of the key positions:

  • Jordan Mills took the first set of starting reps at RT, but later alternated with Vlad Ducasse
  • John Miller took the first set of starting reps at RG, but later alternated with Dion Dawkins
  • Shaq Lawson took all starting reps at DE
  • Ramon Humber started at LB over Reggie Ragland, who was with the second team
  • Andre Holmes took all the WR2 reps, Zay Jones was with the second team all night

Practice MVP:  Sean McDermott.  He had his team ready to go, took clear command of the practice.  The structured approach was evident on day 1 of Training Camp.

Practice LVP:  Nathan Peterman. Yes, it was his first training camp practice as a pro, but Peterman probably wants this practice back.  A fumbled snap and an interception will not sit well with him.  Not the best start, especially after yesterdays vote of confidence in trading Cardale Jones.

As one fan said sitting next to me, “Looks like a lot of blue and white out there, I think they need to cut a few players.”  I agree, but first, let us enjoy the ups and downs of training camp and worry about the cuts in a few weeks.

Up next, the Bills hit the field Friday for a 2:15 practice back at St. John Fisher College.

Next: Buffalo Bills position battle: Right tackle

What do you think of the way practice went?  Leave your comments below!