PITTSFORD, NY – After an off day on Monday the Bills got back to work on Tuesday for the fifth practice of training camp. While some of the weekend’s injury casualties returned to the field, other key players sat out, opening the door for some role players to earn some first team reps.
There was plenty to see from the Bills first day back on the practice field. Here are 5 observations…
1) Dareus returns other vets rest
After leaving Saturday’s practice with a hamstring injury then sitting out Sunday’s session entirely, DT Marcell Dareus was a full participant on Tuesday. He said after practice that the injury was the result of “getting back to football,” and that he probably didn’t hydrate as much as he should have. Also back as a full participant was Ronald Darby, who tweaked his ankle over the weekend. That good news came with some bad though, as Sean McDermott revealed ahead of practice that RB LeSean McCoy had come down with a stomach bug on Monday night and would not be practicing. We’ll see if the effects of the illness carry over into the next few days of practice, but in truth, missing a few days isn’t the worst thing in the world for the 29-year-old. Other non-participants included Lorenzo Alexander and Eric Wood – each was given a veteran day off – and Colt Anderson, who remains on the Active/PUP list.
2) Screens on screens on screens
Saturday was the first day we saw the Bills really start incorporating screens into the offense, and on Tuesday they took it one step further, dedicating the entire offensive installment segment of practice to their screen game. Using more screens is clearly a point of emphasis for OC Rick Dennison and a welcomed one at that. Buffalo hasn’t used screen plays nearly enough over each of the last two seasons.
3) Tanner Vallejo, next man up
With Lorenzo Alexander being granted a veteran day off, it was sixth-round pick Tanner Vallejo holding down the SAM linebacker position with the ones. Clearly, the coaching staff has been impressed with Vallejo. For the Boise State product to be considered a second-string linebacker, just one injury away from taking the field, says a lot. He’s certainly made a name for himself thus far.
4) Yarbough establishing himself
Another youngster making a name for himself is DE Eddie Yarbough. Yarbough has consistently taken reps with the second team throughout the first five practice, serving as Shaq Lawson’s primary backup on the left side. He’s had a solid start to camp to say the least. He’ll be a player to watch throughout the preseason to see how he performs with an actual opponent across from him.
5) Rough day for the offense
Despite getting off to a hot with each offensive unit scoring a touchdown during the team situation portion of practice, it was an overall disappointing day for the offense. He completed only two passes during 11-on-11 work, one of which went for a touchdown on a bubble-screen to Jonathan Williams, was nearly intercepted by Ronald Darby and sacked at least three times as well. He also struggled to complete a routine throw to Mike Tolbert out in the right flat and soared a few passes too high as well. Now part of that can be attributed to the fact that the O-line was getting thoroughly beaten today – hence the sacks. Just one of those days the offense as a whole would like to forget, although there were some memorable catches made by Nick O’Leary, Rod Streater and even Jeremy Butler.
Next Practice: It’s another 8:45 a.m. session for the Bills tomorrow
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