1. SUNDAY FOR YOU, WORK DAY FOR BILLS PLAYERS
Just three days removed from their first preseason game, the Bills got back to work with a vengeance Sunday at St. John Fisher. And their intense work day ended with live tackling in a short yardage/goal line period at camp.
"It's good work for us to come in and bang each other up," RB Marcus Murphy said after practice. "Get used to lowering our pads and getting it in the end zone is the most important thing there is. You want to put up points."
Nathan Peterman fired a perfect fade pass to TE Logan Thomas on one of the early goal line plays that went for a touchdown. That play sparked some yapping from defensive backs who claimed Thomas pushed off to get open.
Later, A.J. McCarron found another tight end, Keith Towbridge, wide open in the end zone for a touchdown. But the short yardage period ended with Buffalo's second and third team defensive line stuffing the run on three straight plays. Defensive tackles Rickey Hatley and Tyrunn Walker teamed up for some big stops, and defensive end Ryan Russell came up with a nice tackle on one of the late plays.
The goal line work was the perfect ending for a physical Sunday practice that featured plenty of intensity. A couple of players got mixed up in a scrum during one of the early team periods. Offensive tackle Jordan Mills was in the middle of the muddle.
"It's just tempers from going at it every day," Mills said. "Tempers flare. Some guys might not like stuff. But it's part of the game. You're going to have tussles ... you're going to have this and that. But you just have to move on to the next play and take it out on the next play."
2. CROOM MOVING UP?
Second-year tight end Jason Croom has made himself noticed through the first three weeks of training camp. And he made his mark last Thursday in the first preseason game, with a 22-yard catch from Josh Allen.
Croom spent last year on Buffalo's practice squad after signing on as an undrafted free agent. But he's getting some attention. He actually began to get attention with his strong work ethic during the offseason.
"You go in the offseason, and he's in there working," head Coach Sean McDermott said about Croom. "You see him make plays in the passing game in the spring and then this training camp in Rochester kicked off [for him]. I go back to the work he's put in, the work he's put in with Coach (Rob) Boras. I really appreciate his approach as well. You don't do what he's done to this point without putting in the work. I think he's off to a good start. "
Croom, a former wide receiver in college at Tennessee, put in extra work with tight ends coach Rob Boras on Sunday working on blocking techniques.
"We try to work on a lot of different aspects of my game," Croom said about his post-practice work with Boras. "I want to be an every down tight end, and he's doing everything he can to get it out of me. Every day we try to do something."
Croom caught a touchdown pass from Nathan Peterman Sunday when the Bills were working on red zone team work. He may be making a move up the tight end depth chart.
"I just try to keep improving in my game," Croom said after practice. "You can't play a perfect game, so I got a lot of things I have to work on. I want to let them know they can trust me out there."
3. MURPHY GETTING MORE WORK
How'd you like to try to make the Bills roster at running back? At the top of the depth chart it's LeSean McCoy. Then it's eight-year veteran Chris Ivory, just three years removed from a 1,000-yard rushing season and a Pro Bowl berth.
Travaris Cadet, Marcus Murphy, Taiwan Jones and Keith Ford have their work cut out for them. And Murphy may be the early leader in the clubhouse.
He led the Bills in rushing last Thursday and ran for a touchdown. He caught four passes also and was on the field for punt and kickoff returns.
Murphy, who played in the regular season finale for the Bills last year, has earned some extra practice reps with the first and second team offense. But he's just keeping his head down and going to work.
"It's just part of practice, just coming out each day and being prepared for the opportunity," Murphy said. "I did get a couple plays with the ones. We got a couple of people banged up, so I just want to step in wherever I can."
In his first two years in the league with New Orleans, Murphy got plenty of return work, handling some kickoff and punt returns for the Saints. On Sunday, the Bills gave him a chance to run back some kickoffs. "We just put in our kick return, we put in a couple of schemes today," Murphy said after practice. "I was back there at deep returner just getting some good work."
Photos from Day 13 of 2018 Bills Training Camp, presented by Connors and Ferris.