The Buffalo Bills held the first much-needed practice following Thursday’s preseason game against the Redskins last night to another packed night crowd.
Before I dive into the happenings at camp, I want to say a quick thing about the preseason game.
A lot of people said that the Bills offense didn’t look good on Thursday against the Skins, and while that may be true, I’d like to use a different spin than “didn’t play well.” I thought the Bills offense was experimenting.
When Chan Gailey doesn’t call one run play for the first team, that to me means it’s clear they aren’t really trying to win the game. They used this as a chance to try out some new schemes and formations against an opposing defense. I believe that anyone who thinks Thursday’s offense is a reflection of what is to come this season is overreacting. The Bills offense, as we’ve seen in camp, is not perfect. But, it looks better than it did on Thursday, for sure.
To make up for the lack of run game Thursday — and possibly, as a way to up the ante from Tuesday’s “walkthrough” — the Bills’ offenses were much more on the ground than in camps past.
Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller took a bunch of carries in 11-on-11 to start that part of practice off. I don’t believe I’ve talked much about the two of them so far, but, to keep things brief, it’s exactly like you’d expect. Jackson is the 1-back, Spiller is like the 1.5-back. Spiller gets first and second team reps, sometimes he’s lined up as WR, sometimes he’s a RB while Jackson is a receiver. The Bills are clearly doing everything they can to get Spiller involved in the offense, but it’s kind of strange seeing a guy who has as much talent as Spiller to not really have a true “role” other than them needing to put him on the field. It will definitely be interesting to see how Spiller cuts in to Jackson’s carries.
The running backs underneath Jackson and Spiller are also catching my eye, most notably Tashard Choice. Choice has made some sort of play every practice I’ve been to that makes you notice him, which is pretty good for the third string running back. He has showing off a lot of quickness and has an ability to just run through and by defenders. I don’t know if this guy is going to see the field that often, or what his role will be, but I am definitely liking what I am seeing out of Tashard Choice. He is having a solid camp.
The same thing goes for Johnny White. Again, going against the third and fourth string defenses makes it hard to truly see what they can bring. But, White is another one who has made me take notice. He didn’t have any real notable runs today, but White is a guy who normally breaks out for a nice play once or twice a practice. I’d be surprised to see any of those four backs get cut.
At left tackle it was Cordy Glenn taking the first team duties, and I will say, he is definitely looking better. The Bills had referees out during team drills, and while they were calling false starts, I didn’t see any of them called on Glenn. Glenn had a penalty called on him on Thursday, so hopefully this is something is looking to work out.
Hairston took second team left tackle duties and the battle continues now that Erik Pears is back. The real story will come at today’s practice when we see who Gailey starts at left. My guess: it’ll be Glenn again. I think Gailey is going to stick with him, but that is nothing more than just me guessing.
I kept a closer eye on the offensive line last night, especially given last practice. I will pay close attention again today, too, but what I can say is that the big thing is going to be getting the penalties under control. The referees were calling false starts in the beginning of 11-on-11, but they went away as practice went on. Zebrie Sanders is a guy I’ve been asked to look at, and today, he looked good. He wasn’t one of the linemen getting called for false starts and he blocked his man during team stuff very efficiently. I hope this kind of play can continue.
The offensive line featured some team drill work from Eric Wood and it’s great to see him taking more series reps. He is the anchor of the line and we definitely need him healthy.
Feel free to send some Tweets my way during today’s practice @chrishooker9! Also keep an eye out for my first 53-man roster prediction on Monday.
There are only three Bills camp practices left.