Though training camp has come to a close the preparations will continue at One Bills Drive over the next couple of weeks leading up to the season opener at Kansas City on Sept. 11th. The close of camp however, marks the presentation of the sixth annual Training Camp Awards.
Most improved player
Alex Carrington – Perhaps only one other player came as far this past offseason as the second-year defensive end, and that was his draft classmate Torell Troup, whose hand injury allowed Carrington to eke him out in this category. Carrington has added more than 20 pounds to his frame and has shown strength and power he did not possess as a rookie.
Most consistent player
Naaman Roosevelt – The Buffalo native was unwavering in his play from start to finish in camp. He caught almost everything thrown his way and ran consistent routes. Tight end Scott Chandler gets an honorable mention in this category.
Most valuable newcomer
Tie – Marcell Dareus – Shawne Merriman - The pair has added some much needed pop to the Bills defensive front. Dareus and Merriman have made an impact in helping to not only control the line of scrimmage, but dominate it at times. With their combined pass rush ability they could really help Buffalo's defense make a sizable jump this season.
Most encouraging comeback
Terrence McGee – The veteran cornerback appears to have not only rebounded from a couple of years of nagging injuries, but also successfully adapted to an additional role as the slot corner in nickel packages.
Most impressive rookie
Aaron Williams – Dareus could very easily go here, but since he’s in the newcomer category Williams is the obvious choice. He got off to a fast start at camp and finished strong. He and Dareus appear the most NFL ready of the rookies.
Most surprising player
Kellen Heard – The defensive lineman has been more than noticeable and appears to have carved out a roster spot for himself. The 355-pounder has played end and some nose tackle in camp, mainly with the second unit and had a good debut in the preseason opener after coming over from Oakland last season.
Most valuable defensive player
Kyle Williams – The Bills Pro Bowl DT has proven difficult to handle throughout camp. He’s spent an awful lot of time in the offensive backfield, and being paired with Dareus is only going to make him more dangerous.
Most valuable offensive player
Stevie Johnson - The Bills newly anointed number one wideout had the largest collection of eye-catching plays. His ability to go up and get jump balls looks to be even better this season, which will give Ryan Fitzpatrick the option of going to him even when he’s covered.
Most inspirational player
Tie – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson – The offensive pair are the most respected players on offense and it’s partly because both made the most of the opportunities they got by scraping and clawing to where they are now. The offense will be depending on them to make a lot of plays, and that should prompt their teammates to want to make things happen as well.
Best hustle player
Danny Batten – Missing all of his rookie year due to a severe shoulder injury that required surgery, one might think it’s prompted him to go 100 miles per hour on every snap in practice and games to make the right impression. Truth is he’d be doing it anyway. That’s just part of Batten’s make up as a player.