Receivers were laying out for passes. Defensive backs were bumping wideouts to win jump balls and backs and backers were jockeying for position at the point where receiving targets look to gain separation.
The big plays belonged to the receivers as the offensive staff called nine straight go routes to start the segment.
“We came out and we all said we’re going to run go-routes to set the tone—we are a different team, different receiving corps,” said Graham. “We got speed to show, and we wanted to show it.”
Graham consistently gained separation as he looks even faster on the field than he did as a rookie. The second-year receiver caught a similar ball a short time later from Manuel again even though the scripted play was a shorter pattern.
“He actually called off—I gave him a shorter route, and he called it off and gave me a go-route,” said Graham of Manuel. “He’s feeling it, I see.”
“We were just competing,” said Johnson. “We wanted to give some big plays to the fans and let them see that we’re out here competing with each other. The defense played well throughout the entire day and I’m looking forward to competing with them throughout the entire camp.”
QB competition commences
The quarterback competition between Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel got underway. Both players looked like they were still finding their bearings a bit having not thrown to their receivers in six weeks. As practice wore on each of them turned in some quality plays.
Kolb got more reps through the course of practice than Manuel, though not considerably more. An example would be the second series of 11-on-11. Kolb got the first six reps. Manuel rotated in for the next six and then Kolb got the last four.
Marrone gave indication that they’re purposely trying not to overload the rookie signal caller right off the bat.
“We have a young quarterback in EJ and we’re bringing him along and at the same point we have a lot of time before the preseason games to get the (reps) to 50-50,” he said. “EJ did take some snaps with the first group, but you’re right Kevin had more.”
“They both made plays and both made passes that were pretty good,” said Johnson. “(They made) some on the sideline and they read the defense pretty well, but at the same time our defense was on point also. I think we’re just getting better and it’s day one and we’ve got to work our way up from there.”
Both Williams watching
“We’re working him back in,” said Marrone. “He didn’t participate obviously in the OTAs so just from the standpoint of working just individual (position drills) we kept him out of team and kept him out of the one-on-ones and you’ll see him progressing into the practices as we go.”
Interceptions and sacks
The defense was very opportunistic in the spring practices when it came to sacks and interceptions. They produced in the same way in practice Sunday. Mike Pettine’s unit had three interceptions during team segments of practice. They also had a handful of sacks.
Da’Norris Searcy got an interception off a tipped ball during 11-on-11 on a pass from Kevin Kolb that was intended for Marcus Easley.
“They tried to run the slant,” Searcy said. “Ron Brooks broke it up and I caught it on the deflection and took off running.”
A short time later,
“It’s always exciting to come out here and come off on a positive note,” said Williams, who is making the transition from cornerback to safety. “Still got a lot to work on. The pick just boosted my confidence at the new position I have. Working with Da’Norris, I feel like we’re going to have great confidence out there.”
Chandler off to good start
On the positive side of the ledger
“Once I had surgery January 9th, I kind of put this date in my mind as something where I wanted to be able to participate in some capacity,” Chandler said. “I think I probably exceeded my expectations a little bit, but now it’s going to be about managing workload, and seeing how I feel tomorrow.”
“Scott was another person that we limited today, just coming back,” said Marrone. “He went in there and I was excited for him. He put in a lot of hard work to come back and he’s come back quickly from that injury and you saw he has the ability to make plays. I’m excited because when you’re coming off that and you’re in there you want to make that play. And he made a couple of them.”
Chandler made several good hands catches in the intermediate area where he often does his best work. He certainly made a good first impression on both Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel as it was the first opportunity they each had to throw to the tight end.
Caldwell, Hills take in practice
They were suited up for their first practice with the club on Sunday night, but guard
Caldwell was signed as added competition at the left guard spot after the recent release of guard Chris Scott.
“I was told to just come out here and compete,” Caldwell told Buffalobills.com. “There’s going to be an opportunity for everybody and that’s all you can ask for. That’s why I’m excited to be here and I look forward to the opportunity.”
The four-year veteran lineman knows he’s going to be behind with the scheme, the terminology, the blocking techniques and the quarterback cadence, but he intends to lean on his 39 games of NFL experience to help him catch up to his new linemates.
“It’s the experience. I’ve played in some games in the NFL and that more than anything kind of speeds you up and that’s what I’m going to have to rely on,” Caldwell said. “I’m going to have to be a little bit smarter because I’m a little behind right now and I think I’ll be able to be up to the challenge.”
The Bills have a 2 pm practice scheduled for Monday.