“Just to see him out here, I don’t care what you’ve got on your mind or what’s on your plate, it’s not near something that he’s gone through,” said Bills quarterback
PHOTOS: Jim Kelly's surprise visit
There’s no question there was an edge to practice right at the start, which is why head coach Doug Marrone never has a problem with a Bills legend addressing the team.
“We always appreciate him,” said Marrone. “Personally for myself, I miss having Jim around. He was great for myself and great for Coach Hackett and coming around, talking to us, having great insight and being a true Bill in every sense of the word. We’re with him. We’re fighting through this. Just like he’s been there with us trying to fight through what we’re going through. We support him and it was great for him to get out there and be amongst the team, which I think he feels comfortable about and having the strength to address them.”
Baptism by fire
For the past two days rookie seventh-round pick
Sure there were times when
“I didn’t know that Cordy had an illness, but ever since coach told me before practice Wednesday that I was going to be running with the ones he’s been nothing but a big help along with
Henderson struggled with the speed rush of Jerry Hughes on Wednesday surrendering a couple of tap out sacks, but was much more effective in Thursday’s practice. The Miami product doesn’t mind facing Hughes, Manny Lawson and
“Great guys. They get me better every day,” he said. “I haven’t had the chance to go against Mario (Williams) yet, but 55, 54 and 91 are bringing it every day and it’s been good competition.”
Fellow rookie and top draft choice
“They’re very competitive. They’re great cornerbacks, they’re the top cornerbacks here and I got some good work with them today,” said Watkins. “They kept me alert. It’s going to be easy when the pads go on and I can touch and grab them some. Just like they grab me I can grab them too.”
Watkins said he took some mental notes on both corners so he’ll know going into training camp what they like to do.
“They like to press and they like to hold you so now I have to come back prepared and work my craft. I’ve got some tricks too,” Watkins said.
Manuel overcame the early pick and went back to Woods for a 40-yard gain down the left sideline.
Stephon Gilmore broke up a pass intended for Watkins in the end zone during red zone work on a throw from Manuel.
Manuel and Woods hooked up for touchdowns on back-to-back plays in an 11-on-11 red zone series. On the first play Woods cut back outside and Manuel put it toward his outside shoulder despite tight coverage. The receiver dove to make the catch just inside the goal line for a score.
On the ensuing play Manuel reads took him back across the field. He left the pocket due to oncoming pressure and spotted Woods under the goal posts for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Dixon would score again on another red zone run play that he took to the right up the middle.
“He’s a big body and it’s a position for that,” said Marrone of Hairston. “We have Kraig Urbik. We have Chris there. We have some of those younger guys that are playing that position. Like we said, it’s hard to judge at this time of year in shorts and how it’s going to shake out, especially up front. So we’re putting everyone in there and giving them an opportunity to learn that stuff so they can go ahead and compete.”
Guard wasn’t the only place that Urbik lined up. Late in practice he went for a series at center in place of Eric Wood while Hairston manned right guard.
The players are off for about a month with the report day for them being July 18th at training camp in advance of the first practice on Sunday July 20th. It doesn’t offer a long break, but there are benefits to that as coach Marrone sees it.
“Hopefully it’s good,” said Marrone. “From a retention standpoint, it’s a quick turnaround so we should be in good shape.”