Here's the Bills news of note for Aug. 9th.
1 - Backs behind McCoy to see most work ThursdayIt's largely expected that every back on the roster besides LeSean McCoy will see a good deal of work in the preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings. McCoy was used sparingly last Friday night when the team went live with tackle to the ground segments in practice. Knowing the intensity of Thursday's game will be even higher it sounds like head coach Sean McDermott doesn't intend to put McCoy in harm's way all that much.
"I've been around LeSean before in his career and my career. We've got some other players on this roster that we need to evaluate and give them opportunities to develop – and we'll see some of those guys have great opportunities on Thursday night," McDermott said. "So, it'll be a chance, an opportunity, for us to perform as a football team and for these young football players to develop.
Jonathan Williams has held a firm grip on the backup role, with veteran Mike Tolbert getting carries right after him. From there it's a mixed bag between Joe Banyard, Jordan Johnson, Taiwan Jones and Cedric O'Neal.'
2 - Unique connections to BoldinWhen Anquan Boldin signed with the Bills on Monday, much was made of the fact that he instantly became the oldest player on the roster by about three years. That led to some unique ties to Boldin with other players on the roster.
Zay Jones explained his unusual tie to Boldin that involved his extended family.
"It's funny to think about because he played with my uncle Jeff Blake with the Cardinals," said Jones of the former NFL quarterback. "So I knew of Anquan Boldin, watched Anquan Boldin, have a lot of respect for him. It's just awesome to have him in our room."
For Tyrod Taylor the connection is a bit more obvious. He and Boldin were teammates in Baltimore and were on the Ravens Super Bowl XLVII championship team together. Boldin was also the player who caught Taylor's first NFL completion in 2011.
"Was that against the Chargers," Taylor asked when it was brought to his attention. "I actually watched that video a couple days ago. We were talking on the field – the last time I threw to Anquan was actually warming up for the Super Bowl. I always warmed him up for games. He and I actually connected on a pass. It was nice to throw to him again (in practice Monday). I couldn't be more excited."
3 - Excited to see TyrodThere has been a noticeable uptick in Tyrod Taylor's play the last few days as the offense has begun to make visible strides in Rick Dennison's system. A big focus for Taylor's game has been to make more plays from the pocket and work the middle of the field. In an appearance on the Howard Simon show on Bills flagship station, WGR Sportsradio 550, GM Brandon Beane expressed how pleased they are with the strides that Taylor has made to diversify his game.
* *"I think Tyrod has done an excellent job of working and improving on his play from the pocket. He's emphasized that. He's heard it from the coaches and from me. I think he's really focused on that," Beane said. "One of the plays he made in the two-minute drill the other day to Charles Clay was from the pocket. He's still going to be able to get out and scramble. He's a leader. Everybody likes Tyrod a lot. Nobody is going to outwork the guy. I appreciate who he is and I know he's excited about Thursday night leading the troops out and I'm excited to see him."
But just because he's shown an ability to make plays from the pocket of late, doesn't mean he'll be restricted to pocket throws. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison wants to take advantage of Taylor's ability to make plays on the run as well.
"Whatever play we've got called, he is going to do it," said Dennison of Taylor. "Sometimes he'll be out of the pocket, sometimes he'll be in the pocket. Third downs, particularly, people start matching up and you're going back to your fourth check-down. I'm just emphasizing running the play that's called and going through his reads."