PITTSFORD, NY – In the aftermath of trading away Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby, the Bills returned to St. John Fisher College on Sunday to a solid contingent of Bills fans. It marked the final stretch of practices before the team officially closes camp on Tuesday, but there is still work to do.
With new additions CB E.J. Gaines and WR Jordan Matthews suited up for the first time, here’s 5 observations from the 13th practice of training camp:
1) Peterman promotion
It’s a good week to be Nathan Peterman. After going 13-for-25 for 112 yards and leading the Bills only touchdown drive in Thursday’s preseason opener, the rookie earned a promotion on Sunday. Peterman spent the entirety of practice running the second-team offense, while veteran T.J. Yates worked with the threes. He made the most of the opportunity too, making some impressive throws throughout the day including a beautiful touchdown strike to Brandon Tate between two defenders, to finish off his turn at the two-minute offense. Of course there were some errant throws sprinkled in, which are to be expected from a rookie. However overall, it was Peterman’s best day of camp. Now we’ll see if he can hold down the backup quarterback job or if Yates battles to steal it back. Either way, we’ve got ourselves a bit of a QB controversy behind Tyrod Taylor.
2) New look receiving corps
With Sammy Watkins out of the picture, the Bills receiving corps took on a new look, highlighted by the addition of Jordan Matthews. At this point Matthews is still getting acclimated to the offense so he saw minimal reps during 11-on-11 work and wasn’t exclusively with the first-team. At one point late in practice it looked like he ran the wrong route and Peterman missed him badly because of it. That will happen though. With Matthews bouncing around between the first and second teams, playing both inside and outside receiver, it was Andre Holmes, rookie Zay Jones 14-year veteran Anquan Boldin taking the majority of reps with the first team. Of that trio it was Boldin primarily working out of the slot.
3) Tyrod Taylor’s new go-to guy?
Losing Sammy Watkins will surely be an adjustment for Tyrod Taylor. They looked pretty in sync on Thursday night. But Taylor may already have someone in mind as his go-to wide receiver; rookie Zay Jones. The Bills spent the final portion of practice running the two-minute offense with all three teams and Taylor began the session by hitting Jones with three straight passes to start the drive. It ultimately stalled out short of points, but the Taylor-to-Jones connection could become the new norm.
4) Shareece Wright the next man up at corner
Like Matthews, newly acquired cornerback E.J. Gaines has some catching up to do in terms of learning the system. That left him taking all of his reps with the second-team defense on Sunday. Meanwhile, it was Shareece Wright holding down Ronald Darby’s old spot as the right side cornerback with the first team. Wright hasn’t had the greatest of camps, but he’s a guy who knows the system and can play well in zone coverage. It will be interesting to see if Wright holds onto the starting job or if Gaines works his way into the starting lineup opposite of Tre’Davious White, who is an utter lock to start at this point.
5) Concern for Cordy Glenn
After not playing in last Thursday’s preseason game, then practicing Friday, starting left tackle Cordy Glenn sat out Sunday’s session as he continues to nurse foot soreness. Before practice Sean McDermott echoed what he said earlier in camp that he’s “concerned,” adding that the team reamins hopeful Glenn will be ready for the start of the season.
Next: Rise and shine! The Bills hit the practice field at 8:45 a.m. tomorrow.
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