PITTSFORD, NY – The intensity picked up for Day 4 of Bills Camp with the players in full pads for the second consecutive day. Evaluations continue as some players are starting to really establish themselves as standouts, while others lag behind and haven’t quite found their rhythm.
In today’s 5 observations, you’ll find some from both sides of the spectrum…
1) Charles Clay out, but active
TE Charles Clay was noticeably not in full pads at the start of practice, most likely as a precautionary move by the team. The Bills have been strategic over the last few seasons about giving Clay days off to keep his shaky right knee in check. Even in street clothes, the seven-year veteran was pretty active, lightly running through various plays along the sideline with tight end coach Rob Boras. It’s good Clay staying active despite being out, something that wasn’t as evident on his off days last year. In terms of other absences, Marcell Dareus (hamstring) sat out for a second straight day, a move defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier called “precautionary,” WR Brandon Tate (calf) joined Clay in street clothes, while Ronald Darby was in full pads, but limited. Darby didn’t take a single rep during team drills. Also, DT Ian Seau left Saturday’s practice in a walking boot.
2) Bad day for Tyrod
The Bills starting quarterback had by far his worst day of camp. He finished about 10-of-19 on the day passing wise in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills and wasn’t very accurate delivering the ball. On a few occasions he missed his target entirely and on one play Adolphus Washington got in his face and batted a pass down. On the bright side, Taylor was the one quarterback not to throw an interception on Sunday. He also started developing a nice rhythm with rookie Zay Jones in the final 11-on-11 session. On back-to-back plays he hit Jones on a corner route for a big gain, then went right back to him on a slant route for a few more yards.
3) Jonathan Williams off to a strong start
As it stands now, the only true open competition at running back is for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, because Jonathan Williams seems firmly cemented as LeSean McCoy’s primary backup. Williams has been the first back to spell Shady throughout all of camp, taken plenty of reps with the first team and on top of it all, looks great. His mix of power, speed and a few finesse moves have been on full display. Each of the last two seasons the Bills have received terrific production from their second running backs. Names like Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee are still fresh in everyone’s mind, but get to know Jonathan Williams.
4) The dropsies for Andre Holmes and Rod Streater
I praised Holmes yesterday for using his length to make a terrific catch with a corner draped all over him, but truthfully his first four days of camp have been rough, overall. That continued today with another drop during 11-on-11 work. Rod Streater joined him with a drop of his own, as well. It’s hard to imagine Holmes doesn’t make the team, but hey, in Sean McDermott’s world no one’s roster spot is guaranteed. As for Streater, if he could hang onto the ball he could probably make this team. He’s by far the best route runner on the roster.
5) Pads were popping
Each day the players spend in full pads the more comfortable they become using them, and that was evident on Sunday where the popping of pads echoed around the practice field. One of the biggest blows came from FB Mike Tolbert, who looks like an absolute nightmare to tackle. On one play in 11-on-11s he got the ball on the outside going to the left, burst into the secondary and bulldozed the much smaller Kevon Seymour with his shoulder. It was loud. Later on, there was a play where nickel corner Leonard Johnson flew up and laid a nice hit on LeSean McCoy. There will be plenty more where that came from throughout the remaining days of camp.
Next Practice: The Bills are off on Monday, before resuming practice on Tuesday, bright and earlier at 8:45 a.m.
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