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Top 3 things to know from Day 11 at Bills Camp

Posted Aug 8, 2017

Anquan Boldin made some plays in his first Bills practice, Gerald Hodges moves into what looks like a regular role and the respect for Boldin is widespread on Buffalo's roster.


1 - Boldin lines up in the slot
It didn’t take long for Anquan Boldin to blend in with Buffalo’s starting offense. Less than 24 hours after signing with the Bills, the veteran receiver was lined up in the slot with the starting offense and catching passes from Tyrod Taylor.

“He was in there and he already caught a skinny post, a slant,” said Zay Jones. “He’s a true professional. He got the playbook yesterday and he’s already working with ones and twos. So it just shows you what kind of player he is.”

Boldin didn’t get a full complement of reps knowing he doesn’t have the full breadth of the playbook down yet, but his ability on the field is obvious.

“He’s a playmaker,” said Taylor. “When you add a playmaker to your offense and team, you’re definitely excited to see what he could do. I’ve been around him, some of the guys have seen him, I know him. To see his attitude, coming in on day one, wanting to work, wanting to show guys what he’s here for, it definitely brings a different mentality to the team. From an offensive standpoint, we’re just excited to have him on board. We know he brings another aspect to our game that can make us even more dangerous. From a team standpoint, just the leadership that we need on this team.”

2 - Hodges moves in as 2nd MLB
Buffalobills.com made mention of the fact more than once that Gerald Hodges was being rotated in at both inside and outside backer with the second team defense. At Tuesday’s practice that rotation came to an end.

Hodges lined up as the middle linebacker in base defense with the second team exclusively. Flanking him were rookie Matt Milano and Tanner Vallejo.

The late free agent signee has clearly made a good impression on the coaching staff and has been rewarded for his play, which over the last few days included an interception in the end zone and a strip and scoop for a fumble return.

The biggest benefit to Hodges’ play as he sees it, is he’s got a firm grasp of the defensive scheme, which is allowing him to play fast and not think.

“I’m just playing ball now,” Hodges told Buffalobills.com. “I’m getting to the point to where I feel confident in the defense where now I’m thinking about making the plays, or preventing the (offensive) play that’s happening.”

Hodges and Reggie Ragland did still rotate in and out for one another in the second team nickel package, but this is a development that bears watching come Thursday’s preseason opener against Minnesota.

3 - Respect for Boldin is evident
One of the main reasons Anquan Boldin was an attractive addition to the Bills front office was his character as a person and player as much as his proven production on the field. In building a foundation for this team, GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott saw a dual benefit for their team in terms of cultivating a new type of culture.

“A good addition for our football team, good addition for our organization,” McDermott said. “Anquan is a good football player, first-and-foremost, and then we all know what type of person he is. There’s a reason he won the Walter Payton Man of the Year. I’ve been around a lot of good players in my career fortunately, I’ve also been around some good teams; and I know on those good teams, one of the common denominators, if you will, are high character individuals and leadership.”

The respect younger players have on the roster for Boldin was readily apparent after just one day on the field with him.

“His first year in the league, I was six-years old,” said Zay Jones. “So it just shows the level of maturity, the experience and just the veteran in him and just having that here for me is unbelievable.

“In my opinion he’ll be a Hall of Fame player, so having someone like that just soak up everything. He just told us that you’re not always going to feel the best in training camp. You’re going to be sore sometimes and you just have to press through. Just truly carry yourself like a professional and this is just day one with him. So we’re fortunate to have someone like that.”

For Tre’Davious White the benefit is learning what receivers are thinking and how they try to break down his game to make plays against him.

“I grew up watching him man. When he was with the Ravens and the Cardinals. I introduced myself to him and I’m fortunate enough to have his locker right next to mine. I’m hoping on game day that my locker is still next to his. It’s definitely something that I don’t take lightly. Anytime I can get some tidbits on what a receiver is thinking it’s great. To have a future Hall of Famer right there you’ve got to take advantage of it.”

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