On a day marred by the unfortunate announcement about rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland, the Buffalo Bills conducted their 10th practice of training camp at St. John Fisher College. It was the muggiest day of the year, and tempers were flaring a bit as the practice progressed.
So what transpired during the final morning practice of the week? Seven observations from Day 10 of practice:
1) Defense dominates two-minute drill
- With all the adversity the defense has gone through this offseason, and even the last few days, their performance in the two-minute drill against the Bills offense was not just dominant, but they barely even let the offense sniff some successful plays. All three quarterbacks — Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel, and Cardale Jones — had their chance to guide a drive down the field starting at their own 40-yard line and with 1:18 left on the clock. The result? The quarterbacks collectively went 6-of-15 for only 41 yards (Taylor 0-for-4, Manuel 3-of-5 for 21 yards, Jones 3-of-6 for 20 yards), and the closest they got to the end zone was the defense’s 39-yard line. Making matters more dominant for the defense, they also came away with two sacks of the quarterback which totaled 16 yards lost, and the offense even brought a delay of game penalty upon themselves. In all, the three drives brought a total net gain of 20 yards. To say the defense won the drill is an understatement.
2) Drops on drops on drops
- Furthering the defensively dominant practice was the offense also shooting themselves in the foot with things in their control. The offensive pass-catchers dropped a total of eight drops to my count in either team drills or in one-on-one’s versus defenders. Dez Lewis, Chris Gragg, Jimmay Mundine, Greg Little, Robert Woods, LeSean McCoy, Mike Gillislee, and Leonard Hankerson all took a turn dropping a pass in a completely frustrating practice for the offense up until the last few plays. There have been drops during all the practices, but today was the worst of the 10 days by far. That was, until, Tyrod Taylor saved the day at the tail end of the practice with the team’s red zone drill.
3) Tyrod salvages offensive day with 4 straight TDs
- The offense just couldn’t get much going, but at the very least, Tyrod Taylor put a much needed exclamation point on an at times trying day. Following four straight passes to running backs — two of which were dropped — Taylor took things into his own hands. On the first play of four, Taylor scanned the end zone and got out of the pocket in time to scamper into the end zone. On the next, the called defense completely gave up the middle of the field and Taylor read it. He quickly tucked the ball and ran straight into the end zone, without a defender anywhere close to him. On his third play, Taylor rolled right and threw an impressive ball to Dez Lewis on an out route from four yards away, to which the second-year wideout beat Stephon Gilmore and completed the catch for a touchdown. And on the last play, much like the first two, Taylor got on the move, pump faked a pass to Sammy Watkins in the end zone that froze Gilmore, and he easily found the end zone near the right pylon for his third rushing touchdown. It wasn’t a great day offensively, but at least Taylor ended it in the way that could give the offense something to work with.
4) McCoy gets irritated
- For the second time in as many days, LeSean McCoy chucked a football at one of his teammates. Only on Wednesday, he wasn’t kidding around like he was with Sammy Watkins on the previous day. The Bills called a screen play to McCoy during 11-on-11 team drills, a play that inside linebacker Zach Brown pretty easily sniffed out. Brown met McCoy in the backfield, and after the catch was made, initiated a slight amount of contact and McCoy was knocked to the ground. McCoy took exception and fired the ball right at the abdomen of Brown and the two had to be separated, as the running back was not happy whatsoever. The Bills, who have been trying to protect McCoy from injury this training camp, downplayed the incident after the practice.
5) Seymour plays lights out
- Following the team’s offseason practices at One Bills Drive, the organization came away incredibly impressed with sixth-round pick and rookie cornerback Kevon Seymour. While Stephon Gilmore didn’t participate in any of the practices, Seymour took all the reps with the first-team defense and did quite well in the non-contact practices. While Seymour hasn’t had any down days at St. John Fisher College so far, he hasn’t had any standout days, either. That is, until Wednesday’s practice happened. Seymour was in the hip pocket of each receiver he went up against. No matter if it was in 1-on-1 drills with wide receivers, or during team drills, Seymour was in the hip pocket of his assignment all throughout. The rookie came away with several pass breakups, and the only time he was beaten was when he was a bit too over-zealous in press coverage on a 1-on-1 and got caught flat-footed. It was a truly outstanding day for Seymour.
6) Meeks gets first-team run
- The Bills gave veteran safety Corey Graham the day off for rest, and that opened up some opportunities with the first-team defense in a safety spot next to Aaron Williams. While Robert Blanton got most of the time next to Williams, fourth-year player Jonathan Meeks worked in with the first unit as well. Meeks has had a strong camp, and almost came away with his third interception in 10 days at training camp on a ball that was overthrown in the two-minute drill. He’s clearly making a mark with the coaching staff with how well he’s played this summer. However, he did serve up a pretty bad beat late in the practice. Sammy Watkins caught a pass over the middle of the field, gave a stutter step, and changed directions right in front of Meeks, who was seemingly frozen to his spot. Watkins went for the touchdown on the play. Even with the gaffe, Meeks is going a long way at possibly securing a roster spot for himself in 2016.
7) Goodwin shines through again
- Marquise Goodwin has routinely had solid practices during the first 10 days of training camp, and the Bills are clearly taking notice. Goodwin roasted cornerback Jonathan Dowling on back-to-back deep ball attempts. It really wasn’t even a fair fight.
Jonathan Dowling didn't even stand a chance against Marquise Goodwin... times two #Bills pic.twitter.com/quhi1rGg98
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) August 10, 2016
Later in the practice Goodwin won a tough, contested catch on a well-thrown ball to the sideline just past the first down marker. Ronald Darby was draped all over him, and Goodwin roped in the catch. The wideout did have to excuse himself for about five minutes in practice just to catch his breath and use his inhaler, but Goodwin once again rose up above the rest of the auditioning wide receiver group during Wednesday’s practice.
Day 10 MVP: CB Kevon Seymour
- Seymour had himself a day, and it really didn’t matter which wideout he went up against, he won the majority of his matchups at camp. He’s pushing to be the first cornerback off the bench in the event of an injury to Gilmore or Darby.
Day 10 LVP: CB/S Jonathan Dowling
- I’m not sure which of the two positions Jonathan Dowling actually is, and I think the Bills are a bit conflicted about it as well. Dowling is a long, athletic defender that couldn’t stick at safety, but he doesn’t have the hips and movement ability to play cornerback properly, either. Marquise Goodwin exposed his stiff hips during 1-on-1s, all adding to Dowling’s down day.
Not Practicing: G Richie Incognito (ribs), TE Jim Dray (ankle), LB Reggie Ragland (knee), OT Cordy Glenn (ankle), DL Jerel Worthy (medical), S Corey Graham (rest day), WR Marcus Easley (PUP), EDGE Shaq Lawson (PUP), RB Karlos Williams (Non-Football Illness), OT Seantrel Henderson (Non-Football Illness), EDGE Manny Lawson (Non-Football Injury), WR Kolby Listenbee (Non-Football Injury)
Up Next: The Bills will practice on Thursday, August 11 from 6 pm to 8 pm. Practice is open to the public, but a ticket is needed for entry.
Miss a day of practice? Catch up with my daily observations:
|Live video, the latest news and no surveys - download the WKBW app|
News, forecast and Bills newsletters delivered to your e-mail inbox