Before the Buffalo Bills adjourned for the week at St. John Fisher College to head back for their first preseason game, they had one more practice to go through — one that they thought was just going to be a less intense practice. After all, the first preseason game is only two days away, and the humidity was noticeable in Pittsford.
That’s the way it started, too. That is, until we saw the biggest collision of training camp to this point, and it involved a player that almost had to retire last year due to an injury.
1) The Aaron Williams - Dez Lewis crash
- The way that it all went down, a crash is the best way to describe what happened with safety Aaron Williams and wide receiver Dez Lewis. Both players were running in the same direction without looking where they were going directly in front of them, going full speed, and inevitably collided in a manner that made the loudest sound of pads and helmets hitting together that we’ve heard this summer. Both players were immediately on the turf and the medical staff ran onto the field to tend to both, while a hush came over both the players and the crowd. Teammates started kneeling around both players, and many were fearing the worst for Aaron Williams. Of course, the safety missed most of the season with a neck injury that even challenged him ever playing again. Williams was cleared this year, and this was his first huge collision since the return. Lewis was the first to stand up, and was escorted to the locker room while favoring his right arm. Williams also was slowly brought up from the ground, and refused help walking to the locker room.
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) August 11, 2016
After the practice, the Bills informed everyone that it’s not believed to be an issue with Williams’ neck, which was a sigh of relief for all his teammates. He was brought into the locker room to be checked out for a suspected concussion. It could have been much, much worse, and I think it would be fair to expect that we likely won’t be seeing Williams play on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts.
2) Enemkpali scuffles on a significant day
- As the Bills entered one of the final drills of the day — an 11-on-11 team drill — edge rusher IK Enemkpali and left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio were battling for several plays in a row. Tempers were flaring on a hot night, with Enemkpali getting the better of Kouandjio to get into the backfield on three straight passing plays. On the fourth passing play, things got a bit more physical between the two, and then on the fifth, Enemkpali took exception to Kouandjio being overly physical and the two started with some extracurricular contact. Enemkpali even at one point took a swing at Kouandjio, before the duo wrestled one another to the ground and were promptly separated. The reason why it’s such a significant day? Exactly one year ago to the day, Enemkpali punched New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, broke his jaw, and was released by the team before being claimed on waivers by the Bills. Enemkpali declined requests to speak with the media, and headed to the locker room with a heated expression. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a training camp scuffle and those things happen. However, the day that it did was just a tad ironic. The outside linebacker had a heck of a practice before that all happened, though.
3) Starters resting
- On the final day of practice before the game with the Colts, the Bills gave rest to multiple established starters instead of putting them through the paces of practice. Eric Wood, Sammy Watkins, Charles Clay, and Lorenzo Alexander all had to opportunity to watch from the sidelines. They were also joined on the non-practicing list by Richie Incognito, Cordy Glenn, and Greg Salas — three players suffering from injuries. Even as the practice progressed, LeSean McCoy didn’t see as many reps, and the same went for top cornerback Stephon Gilmore, too. The Bills were hoping to avoid injury on Thursday, but the unfortunate event of the Williams collision happened.
4) Corey White
- With Gilmore getting some time to the side to rest during the latter stages of practice, cornerback Corey White was seeing some time with the first-team defense. Primarily, it’s been rookie Kevon Seymour getting first-team looks but White was given the opportunity and came up with a big play. The Bills tried a deep ball to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin with White trailing in coverage. Although he gave up the initial race deep to the faster Goodwin, White showed great recovery speed and met Goodwin at the spot of the ball trajectory. White rose off, and almost intercepted the pass as he broke it up to force the incompletion. He’s had a quietly strong training camp and is getting closer to securing his spot on the 53-man roster — if it’s not an outright certainty as it is.
5) Ragland spotted
- Reggie Ragland has been back on the campus of St. John Fisher College since the announcement of his injury, and for the first time, he was spotted out by the practice field.
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) August 11, 2016
Ragland was given a cart to get around in, and also sported a big brace on his left knee, the one that is destined to be surgically repaired for a torn ACL. Ragland stayed out for the team drill portion of practice, and then headed for the locker room before the interview portion of the evening began.
6) Hughes dominates Jordan Mills
- The right tackle position is a pretty big concern for the Buffalo Bills as it is, and edge rusher Jerry Hughes put an exclamation point on that problem for how much he dominated practice near the end of the evening. Hughes was constantly in the backfield, getting to Tyrod Taylor for two sacks in two straight passing plays in the red zone. The move to the left side — and the offense’s right side — will stand to benefit Hughes greatly, especially if he’s going against a slower, less athletic tackle like Jordan Mills. The problem for the Bills at right tackle, though, is that they don’t have anyone on the roster to challenge Mills for the starting role. Kouandjio has shown flashes, but has been too inconsistent when he’s lined up at right tackle. He’s looked better in his time at left tackle than he has on the right side, which doesn’t help the team’s problem on the right side of the line.
7) Carpenter continues hot streak
- If you needed anymore evidence that the kicking competition was all but over, Dan Carpenter continued his hot streak at practice during the field goal portion of the practice. Carpenter successfully kicked 5-of-6 attempts through the uprights, with his only missing coming from 51 yards away. In practices, Carpenter has now hit 30 of his last 32 tries, and is putting away the concerns that the front office and coaching staff might have had about him heading into 2016. Jordan Gay also received some reps, and went 2-of-3 on the evening. Make no mistake, unless he implodes in the preseason, this is Carpenter’s job — and Gay’s only hope of making the team would be as the kickoff specialist for the third straight season.
Day 11 MVP: OLB Jerry Hughes
- Hughes was the best player on the field, consistently in the backfield at the expense of the Day 11 LVP.
Day 11 LVP: OT Jordan Mills
- Mills couldn’t contain Hughes during team drills on Thursday night, and will need to show much better in the team’s preseason game on Saturday.
Not Practicing: G Richie Incognito (ribs), TE Jim Dray (ankle), LB Reggie Ragland (knee), OT Cordy Glenn (ankle), WR Greg Salas (hamstring), WR Sammy Watkins (rest), C Eric Wood (rest), TE Charles Clay (rest), LB Lorenzo Alexander (rest) 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 have Friday off, and are next in action for the first preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, August 13 at Ralph Wilson Stadium at 7 pm. The next training camp practice is Monday, August 15 at St. John Fisher College from 10 am to 12 pm. The practice is open to the public, and a ticket is not needed for entry.
Miss a day of practice? Catch up with my daily observations:
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