Buffalo Bills practice came and went and, to be honest, it’s going to be difficult to talk about anyone else besides Jairus Byrd.
Wow, what a day for him. Two interceptions off Ryan Fitzpatrick in 11-on-11 drills, neither of which were totally Fitzpatrick’s fault. They were just incredible, heads-up plays from Byrd, completely reminiscent of the takeaways he had during his rookie campaign that everyone called “flukey” despite the fact that they kept happening.
On the first one he stole a catch from CJ Spiller, who, to me, looked like he ran the wrong route. Which would explain why it looked like Fitz just totally missed and the ball went right into Byrd’s hands. I’m making this sound like an easy grab, but it was Byrd who made it happen, not anyone else. He then returned the pass for a TD, but that probably wouldn’t have happened if they were tackling today.
The second one was even more impressive. I couldn’t even tell you who Fitz was throwing to, but Byrd flew out of nowhere and made a diving catch for the pick to audience applause. A very impressive display of athleticism from him. This was during the two minute drill.
I have to say, if anyone was going into this season worried about the secondary (specifically in terms of safeties), don’t be. Byrd and Wilson are holding the fort down beautifully, and Searcy is another guy who is making plays on the ball. But Byrd really is the star. He’s had an excellent camp and today’s practice was icing on the icing of the cake.
Having said that, Byrd’s great day nearly directly coincides with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s off day. I do think that his two picks to Byrd were more Byrd than Fitz, however, he also threw two more interceptions to George Wilson, who caught it on a bobble, and Leodis McKelvin. Maybe the Wilson pick wasn’t “totally” Fitz’s fault either, but Wilson and Byrd made those plays because of where Fitz put the ball. I’ll give him one, maybe two, but after that, he needs to start being aware of his defenders and making quick, smart decisions. That was simply something he didn’t do today.
Fitz’s day wasn’t a complete waste, he made some nice throws to Donald Jones, Stevie Johnson and Scott Chandler all for touchdowns.
The biggest tell of the day for the offense was the two minute drill yet again. Every time they line up for it, I think back to when they ran it the third or fourth day of camp and just looked absolutely atrocious.
Today, Fitzpatrick and Young each ran a sets. Young’s didn’t go well at all, and he was unable to complete a first down. He threw just one complete pass that wasn’t enough to cross the ten-yard marker. Fitz’s first was the Byrd pick and he was given a second chance of which he drove down the field to kick a field goal.
Young looked better during 11-on-11’s, as well as Thigpen who made a couple of nice throws, including one to Dorin Dickerson for a touchdown.
I’m not sure if anyone writing anything on training camp has mentioned the back up kickers and punters, or even if it’s warranted mentioning, but, I have something to add on them. I went to camp today with a friend of mine and both of us were in awe about how strong the legs are of both John Potter (K) and Shawn Powell (P). Powell was hitting what looked like 70-yard punts and Potter was sinking 55-foot field goals with ease. I can’t ever envision a scenario where the Bills cut Lindell or Moorman, but I think the play of Potter and Powell have to at least cause the front office to think about it a little, especially given the decline of Moorman over the last few years. We all saw how valuable Lindell was after he got hurt last season, so replacing him with a rookie is practically out of the question. But, I think the Bills would be wise to keep these two on the roster in some fashion, whether it be making the team (unlikely) or practice squad.
Tomorrow should definitely be an interesting day at camp, seeing as it is the last day before the first preseason game! I also won’t have to interview anyone for a story tomorrow, so I’ll be live-tweeting the entire thing. Give me a follow @chrishooker9 for all the updates!