PITTSFORD, NY – Anquan Boldin’s first day in a Bills uniform was also Buffalo’s last to prepare for Thursday’s preseason meeting with the Vikings. That is where the evaluation process will really ramp up, as players have to line up across from an actual opponent.
With the first preseason game in their sights, here’s five observations from the Bills 11th day of training camp:
1) Day one of Anquan Boldin
The newest Bills receiver started the day getting his No. 81 jersery from Andre Holmes, then was immediately thrust into the action with the first-team offense throughout practice. On his very first rep in seven-on-seven drills, Boldin caught a pass from his former teammate Tyrod Taylor on a quick slant. He had a few more passes come his way during that portion of practice as well and despite not catching a single pass in 11-on-11 work, he remained in constant rotation with the Bills top offensive unit. Even on day one it’s become obvious that Boldin is going to have a notable role on this team.
2) Preparing not to beat themselves
One of the biggest criticisms of the 2016 Buffalo Bills was that far too often they’d beat themselves with internal miscues, such as not getting subs on the field in time. On Tuesday, Sean McDermott took steps towards preventing that by using the entire “situation” portion of practice just running through subs for the first, second and third teams. It certainly wasn’t the most thrilling part of practice, but it was a necessary one.
3) Nate Peterman captains the second team
Not to start a quarterback controversy, but during the first round of 11-on-11 work, it was rookie quarterback Nate Peterman taking the field with the Bills second offensive unit. He only took two reps and both were handoffs to Joe Banyard and Cedric O’Neal, respectively. Still, it was the Pittsburgh product’s first opportunity to work with the second team during camp. On the day he completed six of his eight passes in 11-on-11s, and one of those two incompletions was a drop.
4) Reggie Ragland with the threes, Gerald Hodges moves over
Yesterday, during a run reading drill, Reggie Ragland was seen working in with the ones at middle linebacker. On Tuesday though, he was primarily holding down the middle linebacker spot with the threes. In his place on the second unit, the Bills shifted Gerald Hodges from his usual spot as the weakside linebacker to middle linebacker. This was probably more of an experiment than a demotion for Ragland, but it will be interesting to monitor.
5) Solid day for Tyrod Taylor
Taylor picked up where he left off on Monday, when he urged reporters to write about his nearly perfect touchdown drive at the conclusion of practice. During 11-on-11 work Taylor was 8-of-9, and did a solid job going through his reads to find an open target. He was sacked once on the day. Over the last few practices it seems like Taylor has developed a pretty consistent connection with tight end Charles Clay, which is a welcomed sight.
Next: The Bills play their first preseason game under the lights on New Era Field on Thursday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Follow me on Twitter: @Spencito_