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4 things to take from Wednesday’s practice

Posted Jul 30, 2014

Buffalo’s Wednesday afternoon practice stretched out far longer than planned due to the weather.

Here now are the four things we took from practice:

Spirited run game battles

At the outset of practices when individual position drills reached a conclusion the offensive and defensive linemen went to one end of the field and worked on the run game. There were three groups of offensive and defensive linemen stretched across the field along with linebackers and backs and tight ends. Though each lineup pitted just a couple of linemen and a tight end against a couple of linemen and a pair of linebackers the intensity of the drill was palpable.

Marcell Dareus earned some praise for penetrating up the field to steer a ball carrier right into a linebacker’s path for a minimal gain. Eric Wood repositioned a defensive linemen driving him off the line of scrimmage on another.

Brandon Spikes filled a hole and stoned a ball carrier and Preston Brown and Frank Summers had a big meeting in the hole with Summers helmet popping straight in the air. Though the collective battles could probably be called a draw between the offense and defense, the degree of physical play had to be encouraging to coach Marrone.

Stormy weather

There was a 50 percent chance of rain in the area of St. John Fisher college Wednesday, so when the drizzle began at the outset of practice it came as no surprise. The team was perfectly ready to get through their practice session in the rain. What drove them from the field was the lightning that was fast approaching.

An announcement was made over the public address system asking the fans in attendance to make their way to the loading areas for the buses to the satellite parking lots with practice postponed indefinitely just after 3 p.m.

Thunder and lightning moved through the area over the next hour before the team was back on the field at 4 p.m.

“Obviously, lightning caused us to get off the field, which could happen during the year,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “Our goal is to get as much work in as we can, and that’s what I told team. I was happy with the way they came out after that break. We got everything in, from the standpoint of the plays we wanted to run. I think that was important and I told the team we’re a team that needs to work. The one thing about if we would’ve called it or hadn’t been able to get it in, that’s work you can’t make up.”

The rain continued on and off for the remainder of the practice, which did not wrap up until the five o’clock hour.

Surveying options

Bills head coach Doug Marrone has had no problem rotating different players in and out of the right guard position between Eric Wood and Erik Pears. On Wednesday he added another player to the mix. Rookie fifth-round pick Cyril Richardson got some snaps between the two veterans on Wednesday.

To this point in camp Richardson had been working with the third unit at left guard, but Marrone stated that the Baylor product is in the mix of the battle at right guard.

“Richardson has earned a spot to see what he can do working against our first team defense,” said Marrone. “We’re taking a look at him and there is competition there.”

Part of the reason Richardson saw a good deal of time at right guard switching in and out with incumbent starter Kraig Urbik is because Chris Hairston was to work at left tackle with the first unit Wednesday. Unfortunately for him a back injury early in practice forced him to retire before team work began. That thrust rookie Seantrel Henderson back in at left tackle.

On defense the Bills coaching staff is also surveying their options. Not seeing any team work on Wednesday was Stephon Gilmore as he joined Leodis McKelvin on the side during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work.

“We’re just really watching them and getting a good look at the other players,” said Marrone.

Both McKelvin and Gilmore are coming off of offseason surgeries, and it’s clear the team is committed to a steady and methodical approach in getting both of them back on the field full time.

Corey Graham, Ron Brooks and rookie Ross Cockrell saw the most time at cornerback in their absence.

Hard counts

Buffalo’s quarterbacks were working the hard count prior to the snap during team work. Jeff Tuel seemed to be getting the most work in using the hard count based on the plays that were scripted and drew the defense offsides twice, which earned coach Marrone’s approval.