Top 3 things you need to know from Day 8 at Bills Camp

Posted Aug 8, 2016

Three important players were activated for practice, and two new linebackers and a tight end saw their first action in a Bills uniform Monday.

1 - Dareus, Kyle get team work; Watkins scores TD
In the wake of all the injuries that struck the Bills over the weekend, Buffalo got three pretty important pieces back in their lineup Monday. Marcell Dareus (Non-Football Illness), Sammy Watkins (Active/PUP) and Kyle Williams (Active/PUP) all returned to practice albeit on a limited basis.

With a full pad practice it was obvious the coaching staff in conjunction with the athletic trainers wanted to ease all three of them into the practice setting.

Watkins only got about four to five team reps total on Monday, but it was enough for him to pull in a touchdown pass on a nicely thrown fade pass by Tyrod Taylor in the back right corner of the end zone. He caught one other pass during 11-on-11 team work.

“Sammy caught a nice touchdown,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “I was impressed. It looks like he’s in good shape. Sometimes that’s the first thing you worry about because he really hasn’t been doing football specific stuff. Until you put the pads on and you’re running against somebody do you know, but he’s in pretty good shape.

“I’ve got to get on (receivers coach) Sanjay (Lal) to make sure he’s not overdoing him. Sometimes when you have Sammy you want to put him out there, but we’ve got to be smart.”

Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams lined up next to one another with Dareus on the nose and Williams on his right at end in Buffalo’s 3-4 scheme. But it’s evident those two as well as rookie Adolphus Washington will be shuffling around a good deal up front once they get to the regular season.

RELATED: Bills bring back Spikes, sign LB Hawthorne, TE Mundine

“Marcell in my opinion is the best nose tackle in football, but he’s not just a nose tackle,” said Ryan. “He’s got other abilities where you could put him over a guard or a tackle and we’re going to take advantage of it. If we think we have some kind of mismatch it’s going to be get ready to block this guy. That’s something we’ll look at. Kyle can play right to left. Those things don’t bother him.

“We had (Kyle Williams) as an end (Monday). It was funny because the offense changed the protection and the tailback came to pick him up and the offense was like, ‘Ahh I don’t know if we want to play this protection with Kyle Williams playing defensive end.’ So there are some advantages having those versatile guys out there.”

Ryan knows his defensive front looks a whole lot more formidable with Dareus and Williams on the starting unit.

“It’s good to see those two in there,” he said. “They make such a difference. Marcell Dareus is kind of hard to replace.”

2 - No timetable for Cordy Glenn or Reggie Ragland
Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn left the blue-white scrimmage early on Saturday night and on Monday he was held out of practice. He was working on the side with the strength and conditioning staff, but had an immobilizer boot on his foot.

“With Cordy Glenn he has an ankle (injury) and right now he’s just getting treatment,” said Ryan. “We don’t really have a timetable on it, but that happened in the scrimmage.”

Cyrus Kouandjio replaced Glenn at the starting left tackle position Monday.

There is also no timetable as of yet on rookie LB Reggie Ragland, who suffered a knee injury in practice last Friday. Ryan said over the weekend he was “very concerned,” but at this point there are not able to get a clear look at his knee with an MRI.

“No update on Reggie Ragland,” said Ryan. “He’s getting treatment and we’re still waiting for the swelling in his knee to go down.”

Ryan did say that the athletic training staff was trying to work on range of motion in Ragland’s knee, presumably in an effort to get the collected fluid out of that part of the rookie’s leg.

3 - Spikes and Hawthorne work second team
Newly signed linebackers Brandon Spikes and David Hawthorne got a good amount of reps in practice Monday. The two were actually paired together a good deal with the second team defense with Spikes as the MIKE and Hawthorne as the WILL.

It’s clear the coaching staff doesn’t expect Spikes to do a lot of coverage as they had Randell Johnson sub in for Spikes when the down and distance indicated it would be a passing down. Nevertheless Spikes was just excited to be back on an NFL practice field after spending 2015 out of football.

“It feels great,” said Spikes after his first practice session. “It feels good to be back in the mix. It’s been a while.”

Rex Ryan is encouraged that both Spikes and Hawthorne will be quick on the uptake with respect to his defensive scheme.

“We’ve brought in some guys that we feel good about who have played in this league who we feel can catch up mentally,” Ryan said. “I think that’s a tribute to our scouting department.”

What could wind up unfolding as training camp and the preseason wears on is Spikes and Hawthorne could very well be competing against one another for only one available spot on the roster.

If Ragland is out indefinitely, Zach Brown, Preston Brown and Randell Johnson are locks for the roster.

So it would appear that the two veterans will be battling each other for what will likely be the fourth and final inside linebacker spot.

Bonus notes:
New TE Jimmay Mundine also got some work on his first day in a Bills uniform. He ran mainly with the third team offense in the time he did get on the field as he gets acclimated to the offense.

The first team offense put the ball in the end zone during their two-minute drill series. Tyrod Taylor and Charles Clay connected on a 3rd-and-15 to keep the drive alive. A 27-yard catch and run by Greg Salas got the offense in the red zone. One play later Dez Lewis got out of bounds on a six-yard grab to set up 2nd-and-4 from the six-yard line. Two plays later LeSean McCoy followed good blocking on a five-yard touchdown run.

CB Sterling Moore had an interception when a well-executed blitz forced EJ Manuel to get rid of the ball quick. Moore jumped a route to the left flat by Walt Powell for an interception that would've been a pick six in a real game.

CB Corey White (knee contusion) and OL Richie Incognito (sore ribs) both left practice early on Monday and did not return. White’s injury was from Saturday’s blue-white scrimmage. He tried to practice, but could not.

K Dan Carpenter was 6-7 on field goal attempts, with his only miss coming on a 38-yarder from the left hash that went wide left. In all fairness the snap from undrafted rookie long snapper Reid Ferguson was a bit high and compromised the timing of the kick. K Jordan Gay was a perfect 6-6.