The Buffalo Bills and their fans were almost out of luck last night as the weather forecast predicted an 85% chance of thunderstorms happening after 7:00.
Lucky for us, the clouds rolled over and only light sprinkles reached St. John Fisher and the Bills were able to hold their final training camp practice of the season.
For me, the most notable thing was being proven horribly wrong — or at least that’s what it looks like now — in my prediction of cutting Brad Smith. Going into camp, Smith has shown little to make me feel like he deserves not only a spot on this roster, but to be paid the amount his contract states he is owed. He’s a third string QB and sixth string WR at best.
But, it looks like Gailey wants him to stick around. I can’t think of any other reason why he tested him exclusively in Wildcat formation for a main portion of practice.
I’ve never been a big fan of the Wildcat. Come game time, it’s never something I thought was as “unpredictable” as advertised. 95% of the Bills’ Wildcat plays resulted in a two-yard run for Smith and didn’t do a whole lot to advance the offense upfield.
Last night, however, Smith ran the offense pretty well and had some nice runs. He worked with the first and second team offense, running different plays with each group. Some worked, some didn’t, but having Smith under center for those kinds of formations definitely made me think the Bills are planning on having him for the future. Whether this means that Vince Young or Tyler Thigpen are out of a job remains to be seen. My bet now is that the Bills keep all four.
While Smith did have some nice runs, big stops were made by George Wilson and Nigel Bradham for losses.
Speaking of Nigel Bradham, he’s had a pretty solid camp the last few days. In addition to coming up with a big stop during Wildcat drills, he also forced a fumble on Monday during 11-on-11. I predicted Bradham to make the team due to his draft pick and his ceiling, but given his more aggressive play as of late, he may be a guy who can provide some tackles throughout the season.
More on quarterbacks: Both Thigpen and Young played pretty well today, especially during 7-on-7, which Fitzpatrick sat out for the second day in a row. Young particularly looked good, hitting Marcus Easley, Fendi Onobun and Ruvell Martin for touchdowns. The wide receivers, who I think have all contributed during camp and made the position a little deeper than most think, have found their reps shifting more towards the side of Ruvell Martin. If I had to choose, I would still take Easley as the number six guy, mostly based on potential, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills go in another direction. Easley sat out first and second team drills Monday, but participated in more last night.
The left tackle battle remains as is with Cordy Glenn taking one-team duties and Christ Hairston taking two-team and one-team right tackle in place of Pears. It’s almost to the point where I wonder if Hairston will be the teams starting right tackle. Pears simply hasn’t played enough this camp to gel with the line and it will be interesting to see what Gailey decides to do with this situation.
So, Friday night, the Bills will take on the Vikings, and I’d like to close out my final camp report with some things to look for in the second preseason game:
Fred Jackson/CJ Spiller. The Bills dynamic running back duo got zero carries last week, which told me they were experimenting with new offensive schemes. This week, however, I expect to see much more of them. If the Bills continue with their experimenting ways, it will be interesting to see how Gailey decides to divide up their reps. Will we see Jackson at RB and Spiller at WR? We will see both Jackson and Spiller at RB? Or Jackson at WR? Gailey has used both in just about every combination imaginable and Friday should be telling in what his plans are.
Defensive line. The Bills ridiculous d-line took the day off last week and I’m curious to see how they handle injured Adrian Peterson as well as quarterback Christian Ponder. I still don’t think we are going to see the full monster until the Jets game, but guys like Mario and Kyle Williams have the potential to pull off some amazing things and I’m hoping we can get a little preview of that Friday.
Stephon Gilmore/Ron Brooks. I absolutely love Brooks and Friday will be a good test to see if his recent play is something he can keep up. The guy has been a stud all camp and he could be an absolute steal for the Bills if this is the kind of player he is. As far as Gilmore goes, I’m hoping for him to show off the things he’s done in camp on a bigger stage, which I didn’t really feel like he did last week. But, being it was his first NFL game, I’m sure the butterflies were there. He can’t hold back any longer.
Thanks everyone for reading these reports the last few weeks, and to all those who chimed in and talked with me on Twitter. It’s been an awesome camp and I am absolutely pumped to get the real season started.
I’ll be pretty active on Twitter throughout the entire season, so feel free to hit me up during games and weekly activity for all things Buffalo Bills! Again, my handle is @chrishooker9.
Thanks again, Buffalo Bills Draft. Let’s get this season started.
Editor’s Note: We want to thank Chris for all that he has done for BBD over the past few weeks and for some fantastic reporting!