To start the day off, Head Coach Doug Marrone had the players spend quite a bit of time working on fundamentals. The team was split into their individual units and worked on drills suited for their position. The individual drills went for about an hour with some special teams mixed in. During the individual drills, the Quarterbacks, Running backs and Wide Receivers went over to the grass field, while the linemen and defense stayed on the field at Growney Stadium. Following the individual drills, the Quarterbacks worked on passing drills with the receivers. I tried to keep up, but the QBs were flying thru the drills and it was very fast paced. I did take a few notes on plays that stood out. Right away, Leodis McKelvin had a nice pass breakup on Robert Woods. Stephen Gilmore displayed good coverage when he was out there covering the receivers several times. Mike Williams drew the most cheers when outleaped Brandon Smith on a 20 yard pass from Thad Lewis. On the negative side, all 4 quarterbacks overthrew their targets several times and looked a bit off. But EJ Manuel was the best of the bunch.
Following the 1-on-1 drills, the team went to work on some 7-on-7 passing drills. EJ Manuel started it off with a 4-yard pass to Scott Chandler. Jeff Tuel then came in and threw a 17-yard pass to TJ Graham. EJ came back in and overthrew Tony Moeaki who seems a bit slow. Tuel returned and threw a pass to Caleb Holley, but Corey Graham drew a pass interference penalty. On the next play, EJ Manuel threw a screen to Bryce Brown for 5-yards. Thad Lewis then came in and threw a screen to CJ Spiller for 6-yards. EJ Manuel returned and threw a 12-yard pass to Chris Hogan. On the next play, Tuel returned and underthrew Marcus Easley. EJ Manuel came back onto the field and threw a nice pass to Sammy Watkins for 30-yards.
After the horn sounded, the linemen came onto the field and the team worked on 11-on-11 drills. Seantrel Henderson left with an injury during the individual drills, so Chris Hairston came in and started at left tackle while Erik Pears started at Right tackle. CJ Spiller started it off with a short gain up the middle. EJ Manuel then overthrew Robert Woods. Spiller then got another chance and squeezed thru the middle for a 4-yard gain. On the next play, EJ Manuel threw a pass to Marquise Goodwin, but it was a bit high and Goodwin couldnít get it. EJ then tried again and threw a 9-yard pass to Goodwin. The backups came in and Anthony Dixon showed some nice burst up the middle for 5-yards. On the next play, Doug Legursky had a terrible snap that flew over Thad Lewisí head. He got the next one off, but Thad Lewis felt pressure from Jacquies Smith and threw it away. Anthony Dixon got another chance with it and then time found a hole and ran up the middle for 10-yards. On the next play, Thad found Chris Hogan who made a nice diving catch for 16-yards. Fred Jackson then tried to run up the middle, but he was stuffed for no gain. On the next play, one of the offensive linemen drew a false start penalty. On the next play, Mario Williams would have sacked EJ Manuel. He followed that up by stuffing Bryce Brown at the line. Jeff Tuel then threw an 18-yard pass to Evan Rodriguez. He then overthrew Caleb Holley. On the next play, Ronnie Wingo ran up the middle for 3-yards. Jeff Tuel then threw a pass to Evan Rodriguez, who dropped it. On the final play of the series, Tuel found Ramses Barden for 12-yards.
Following the 11-on-11 drills, the team took a brief break and went to work on special teams. Brian Moorman and Jake Dombrowski went back and forth punting the ball to Robert Woods, Fred Jackson and Leodis McKelvin. Moorman definitely won this battle as he was consistently getting great hang time and kicked them high and far. The best one was a beautiful 46-yard punt to the 9-yard line that went out of bounds. As for the punt catchers, Woods showed some good moves after he caught them, while McKelvin dropped one the last punts in the drill. The Bills worked on special teams for about 10-15 minutes and then went to work on 7-on-9 drills.
To start the drill off, EJ Manuel threw an 8-yard pass to Scott Chandler. He followed that with a 12-yard pass to Sammy Watkins. On the next play, Manuel underthrew Robert Woods and Aaron Williams intercepted the pass. Jeff Tuel came in and found Lee Smith for 6-yards. He then dumped the ball off to Tony Moeaki for 2-yards. On the final play of the series, Tuel connected with Anthony Dixon for 11-yards. Dennis Dixon entered the field and threw an 8-yard pass to Chris Gragg and followed it by overthrowing Tori Gurley. EJ Manuel then came in and threw a pass to Chris Hogan who gained about 20-yards. On the next play, Manuel felt pressure from Ikponmwosa Igbinosun and dumped it off to Bryce Brown for 12-yards. He then tried to connect with Woods, but he dropped the ball. Thad Lewis came in next and connected with CJ Spiller for 15-yards. He then overthrew TJ Graham but followed that with a 7-yard pass to Lee Smith. Dennis Dixon came onto the field and saw Kevin Elliott, but he dropped it. He then overthrew Ramses Barden. The horn sounded after that pass and then the team went to work on 11-on-11 drills.
Fred Jackson started the drill off with a run up the middle for 5-yards. On the next play, EJ Manuel would have been sacked by Jerry Hughes who beat Chris Hairston. CJ Spiller then ran around a block from Hairston and gained 15-yards. On the final play of the series, Manuel underthrew Mike Williams. Thad Lewis came in and was almost intercepted by Ron Brooks. Bryce Brown then ran up the middle for 2-yards. On the next play, Lewis threw a pass to Brown for 13-yards. Lewis then kept the ball and ran for about 3-yards. EJ Manuel came back and dumped the ball off to CJ Spiller for 4-yards. Spiller then carried the ball up the middle for 5-yards. On the next play, Manuel threw a 14-yard pass to Sammy Watkins. Anthony Dixon followed that up with a run up the middle for 4-yards. Manuel then threw a pass to Dixon for 6-yards. Dixon then got the ball one more time and ran up the middle for 4-yards. Dennis Dixon came onto the field and overthrew Chris Hogan. Ronnie Wingo then ran up the middle for 3-yards. Dixon then overthrew TJ Graham. On the final play of the series, Wingo ran up the middle for 5-yards.
The horn sounded and then the team went to work on some more special teams drills. This time field goals were the focus. Dan Carpenter was the only kicker to take snaps and was a perfect 7 out of 7. There was also a couple different fakes. One fake was a familiar one for Bills fans. Brian Moorman had a fake field goal rollout to the left and gained about 5-yards before going out of bounds. Moorman also had a rollout to the right and tried to throw a pass to Chris Gragg, but Duke Williams broke it up. On the final play of the drill, the team did a fire drill to get the field goal unit out there with 30-seconds remaining. Dan Carpenter nailed the 47-yard field goal with no time left on the clock.
After the special teams work, the team went back to 11-on-11 for one last time. Fred Jackson started it off with an nice 12-yard run around the left tackle. EJ Manuel then felt major pressure from Jerry Hughes and kept the ball for 10-yards before sliding. Fred Jackson then got the ball again and exploded up the middle for 8-yards. EJ Manuel then connected with Lee Smith for 15-yards. On the next play, Manuel threw a pass to Bryce Brown for 16-yards with most of that run after the catch. Jeff Tuel entered the field and immediately felt pressure from Manny Lawson and chose to run with the ball. He then threw a pass to Chris Gragg for a short gain. Bryce Brown then ran up the middle for 9-yards and showed nice speed. EJ Manuel came back in and felt a lot of pressure, but he got the ball out towards Robert Woods, however Ross Cockrell broke the play up. CJ Spiller then got the ball, but was stuffed at the line. On the next play, Manuel would have been sacked by Jerry Hughes. Anthony Dixon then ran up the middle for 7-yards until Cockrell met him. On the next play, Hughes came flying in to pressure EJ Manuel who ended up throwing it away. Thad Lewis came in and overthrew Chris Summers. Ronnie Wingo then ran up the middle for 6-yards. On the next play, Thad Lewis connected with Tony Moeaki for 11-yards. Wingo then ran up the middle for 3-yards. On the final play of the series, Thad Lewis hit Ramses Barden, but he dropped it. EJ Manuel then threw a 12-yard pass to Sammy Watkins. CJ Spiller got the ball next and ran up the middle for 9-yards and followed it up with a 4-yard run. On the final play of the series, EJ Manuel had his pass batted down at the line. Thad Lewis then came in and had a couple connections with Chris Hogan and Chris Gragg. But the play of the day was a beautiful 70-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel to TJ Graham. After that play, the horn sounded and the practice was over. Fans lined up at the fence for autographs and Day 1 at Buffalo Bills training camp was complete.
1. EJ Manuel had a decent day, but overall the quarterback play was pretty mediocre. They got better as the day went on, but no one really impressed. However, it is only the first day. So this really means absolutely nothing. Jeff Tuel was probably the second best quarterback.
2. Jerry Hughes was easily the player of the day! He was in the backfield many times and made life miserable for Chris Hairston. I was impressed with how quickly he got to EJ Manuel and the other quarterbacks. Mario Williams also looked good out there and had several pressures and would have had a couple sacks too.
3. Keep an eye on Anthony Dixon. I know he was talked about being a special teams player, but he looked really good. I was impressed with how fast he was. He showed excellent burst up the middle and did a nice job with the run after catch. He also showed pretty good hands when thrown to.
4. Sammy Watkins is already a fan favorite. He received cheers from the fans every single time he caught a pass It actually reminded me of Terrell Owens when he first came to camp. Iím sure there will be a lot of Watkins jerseys in the Ralph this year.
5. Two players left the field with injuries, offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Hopefully they are both okay. The team canít afford to lose either of them.
6. Props to EJ Manuel, Scott Chandler, Sammy Watkins, Brian Moorman, the offensive linemen and many rookies for stopping at the fence to sign autographs for the fans after practice.
Overall, it was a good day at Buffalo Bills training camp. The place was packed with thousands of fans and they all seemed to enjoy themselves. It was a nice sunny day and there was a breeze to keep everyone cool. Couldnít ask for much more than that. The day started out slow with all the individual drills, but once the players got started on team drills, the time went by quickly.
Here's my Training Camp photo gallery for Day 1.... http://s159.photobuc...t?sort=9&page=1