The Buffalo Bills returned to the field on Sunday afternoon to one of the muggiest weather days once camp started in July. Some of the players were a bit feisty as well, leading to some raised voices and some heightened interactions.
However, everything was kept under control and all safe and secure while the rest of the team worked through one of their final practices before heading off to Pittsburgh. Who stood out? Here are some notes from the day:
Mike Williams: EJs new best friend?
- When in doubt, throw it up to Mike Williams. That seems to be part of EJ Manuel’s reasoning over the past couple of weeks. Williams has really stepped up his game over the past two weeks and is proving to be quite the dependable target for Manuel when they need some yards in a tough spot. Once again, Sunday showed off the wide receiver’s red zone abilities. He uses his basketball background to rise up and meet the ball at it’s highest point, and also has the penchant for getting both feet down. He did that in the end zone, where Manuel got him the ball in the tightest of spaces for him to get his feet down. He did, and it was a touchdown. The role for Williams could be even bigger than originally thought when they acquired him.
Goal line RB
- Fred Jackson has been one of the mainstays in the Buffalo Bills organization, a fan favorite and a leader in the locker room. Among those characteristics and his hard-nosed running style, for whatever reason, he has historically struggled to punch the ball into the end zone from the goal line. He can do it, but not nearly at as high of a rate that would be indicative of his talent level. With that in mind, the Bills could have quite the goal line specialist on their hands in Anthony Dixon. He shows a general disregard on those plays and gets into the end zone at a higher rate than what Jackson has done in 2014. The Bills are in the business of getting seven points rather than just three, and if they have to bring in someone else to do it, they probably should give it a high amount of consideration.
- Fred Jackson was not the happiest of campers on Sunday afternoon. He got into the faces of some of the defensive backs, and while that shouldn’t be considered to be all that serious, he let his feelings known after practice. Jackson essentially said that the two practices following a game weren’t ideal, but then said they’re professionals and will do what’s necessary. That isn’t all for Jackson, he voiced his general disapproval of heading to Latrobe, Pennsylvania for the upcoming joint practices with the Pittsburgh Steelers after having been asked if he was excited for them:
“No not at all, it’s just going to be two days of games. It’s going to be a game on Wednesday and a game on Thursday then on Friday we get a day off and then a game on Saturday, but it is what it is, we’ve got to do that and get through it and take every possible advantage of it and get better.”
It’s clear one didn’t want to get on Jackson’s bad side on Sunday. Click here for more on the feisty practice.
Bradham continuing to improve
- Heading into training camp the weakside linebacker position was one that many people thought would have been more of a battle than it has been. That’s not to say rookie Preston Brown or anyone else has done poorly enough to gift the job to another, but third-year player Nigel Bradham has just taken the chance and run with it. Bradham has displayed good quickness and recognition during camp and the preseason games, showing off with solid reps against the run and against a screen on Sunday’s practice. Even though he’s suspended for the first game, there hasn’t been any lingering doubt as to who will get that job when the season opens up.
Don’t read into 23 with the 2s
- The past two days of practice free safety Aaron Williams has been getting time on the field with the second-team, paving the way for Duke Williams and Da’Norris Searcy to take all the first-team reps. This could seem peculiar at the start, but don’t read anything into it. It’s simply a case of the coaching staff wanting other players to familiarize themselves in working with one another ahead of the regular season. If Aaron Williams happens to get injured, they want the transition for the combination of Duke Williams and Searcy to be seamless from a communication perspective. Head coach Doug Marrone added that they have been quite happy with the work that Aaron Williams has done to this point.
Day 15 MVP: WR Sammy Watkins
- Another day, and another pretty outlandish one-handed catch for Sammy Watkins. He even shocked quarterback EJ Manuel with his one grab in team drills. The throw was both behind and high of Watkins, he reached back with his left arm and had it stick to his glove like glue, one-handed. The play drew a big “ooh” and “aah” from the crowd and for good reason. It was likely better than the catch he made earlier in camp that went viral.
Day 15 LVP: QB Thad Lewis
- As camp has progressed it just seems like Thad Lewis is on the wrong page with his receivers more often than anyone else. There are always mixups in communication during a camp, but it’s happening with him and resulting in turnovers during team drills at a much higher rate than with any of the other quarterbacks. Perhaps it’s the result of him working with second and third-team players, but it’s become an alarming regularity.
Up Next: The Bills have Monday off and then resume practice Tuesday morning at 8. Practice will once again be open to the general public.