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Joe B: 5 Bills practice notes from September 9

Posted: 7:56 PM, Sep 09, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-09 23:56:51Z

For the first time of the 2015 regular season, the Buffalo Bills took part in a Media Day to prepare themselves for the upcoming game.

We learned a bit more about who may be ready, and some other items regarding the Bills for their impending matchup with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Here are some notes from practice:

1) LeSean McCoy is “ready to roll”
- The question hovering over the heads of the Bills leading up to the contest with the Colts is whether their prize acquisition of the offseason would be ready to play. Running back LeSean McCoy has been, at the very least, working to the side with trainers for a couple of weeks now. Slowly, to not upset the hamstring injury, McCoy has been working himself into practice more and more — and now,  at least according to Rex Ryan before practice, is a full participant at practice. Better yet, Ryan believes his star running back will be ready to play against the Colts on Sunday. That raises a very important question for the Bills and McCoy: how much of a workload on a recovering hamstring is too much? It’s a very tricky injury that can incur a setback quite quickly. When asked if McCoy would be on a pitch count, Ryan joked through the question and said this:

 

 

2) Darby will sink or swim
- Going against the most prolific passing attack during the 2014 season, the Bills already were bound to face a stiff test in the first week of the season. Now with a rookie cornerback in the starting lineup — and one that has struggled in the preseason, no less — the Colts are likely going to target the young Ronald Darby quite a bit. Whether the Bills choose to put Darby on T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, or they just assign him to a side of the field, Andrew Luck will be looking his way. Rex Ryan said that they’re not going to roll their coverages to Darby every single play, which means he’ll be on his own, in single coverage, for at least a few snaps. Darby’s debut just so happens to be one of the biggest tests of the year for the secondary.

 

The #Bills are hoping *this* does not happen to rookie cornerback Ronald Darby on Sunday versus Andrew Luck, Andre Johnson, and the Indianapolis Colts

 

3) Lawson is fine
- The Bills were without linebacker Manny Lawson during Tuesday’s practice, which was alarming only because the team is already thin at the position. On Wednesday, Lawson was back to work in a full capacity, and Rex Ryan believes he’s fine for Sunday’s game against Indianapolis. Lawson is immediately backed up by the intriguing second-year player Randell Johnson, but the Bills will look to the consistency of the veteran — at least for the start of the year. With all the nickel coverages offenses force defenses to use, the strongside linebacker role won’t be one that gets an overwhelming amount of time on the field. However, in base defense, they’ll look to Lawson to be a force against the run and to contain the edge.

4) No Harvin, Goodwin
- Within an hour of Rex Ryan telling reporters that basically everyone besides Marquise Goodwin was ready to go, Percy Harvin was seen on the field, but not suited up:

 

 

Harvin has been battling a hip injury through the summer, and finally seemed to have a breakthrough in the last week or two. Judging it by how confident Rex Ryan seemed on Wednesday in the health of his team, it would be fair to assume that Harvin missing practice was nothing more than a rest day for the veteran. Still, his status will need to be monitored through the week to see if this is a bigger issue than originally expected. Marquise Goodwin, who has two cracked ribs, isn't expected to play on Sunday.

5) Cassel Money update
- As we found out on Tuesday, Matt Cassel is back on the Bills roster and has already been named the backup to starter Tyrod Taylor. The Bills were presumed to make the move to get out from under Cassel’s $4.75 million cap hit in 2015, and now the numbers are known:

 

 

It’s a smart deal for both sides. The Bills cut Cassel’s salary in half and have him signed to manageable backup money, Cassel has the opportunity to earn more if he ever gets promoted and hits incentive, and, the quarterback is in as good of a situation as there is in the league for potential quarterback volatility. The Bills are obviously hopeful they have a home run in Taylor, but just in case, they needed a backup plan, and Cassel signed to less than 50-percent of what he once was seems like a pretty affable move to the front office in Orchard Park.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

 

 

 

 
 

 

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