Practice Notes - Aug. 18th

Sunday's morning practice had a noticeable absence in the form of EJ Manuel, who had surgery performed on his knee back in Buffalo. That left Kevin Kolb to start again with the first unit in practice, after being the number one guy against the Vikings. He ran reps with both the first and third team offenses.

Kolb had a handful of good passes, including two to Marquise Goodwin, who continued to shine. One was a deep throw down the middle which Goodwin snagged in stride before turning up field heading for the end zone. The second was an acrobatic grab. Goodwin separated from coverage, leapt for a long ball and came down near the left sideline. Kolb also hit Chris Hogan in the numbers on a slant route for a first down.

Kolb will see increased reps for the remainder of camp, which could be beneficial in his return from a knee injury.

"It will allow me to get in a groove," Kolb said. "It was obviously, like I told you before, there was a little bit of rust for me to knock off. So this will just help continue to do that and be prepared for everything down the road in the future." 

Stevie, T.J. back, but limited
Stevie Johnson and TJ Graham both returned to practice, but saw limited action. Both participated in warm-ups and individual periods. Johnson participated in team drills, but saw minimal reps. Graham didn't participate in team drills, but confirmed with that he would be playing in next week's preseason game in Washington.

Marrone isn't worried about Johnson's return. He believes Johnson has enough time to fully understand the offense.

"This offense is a little bit unique. It's got some different intricacies to it," Marrone said. "I feel like we have plenty of time to get him back in the motions and get him back to where we want him to be and get comfortable with him."

Graham said he is looking to get a full practice in Monday. Slated to play on Saturday, it's likely his participation in practice will increase as the week progresses.

"I wanted to play last week, but it's only the preseason and it gives a chance for a lot of the younger receivers to show what they can do," Graham said. "No need to come out here and stretch yourself to hurt yourself again. I was anxious to get back out here. I'm pretty happy to be back on the grass with my pads on." Kiko returns
Kiko Alonso practiced after not playing against Minnesota. He had an interception on Jeff Tuel, who was pressured by a Nickell Robey blitz on the right side. Alonso also pressured the quarterback on a few blitzes.

Coach Marrone said it was entirely his decision to sit Alonso for last week's game.

"I spoke with him this morning, asked him how he felt, he said I feel great," Marrone said. "He felt he was ready to go, Chuck Driesbach, his position coach, came in to see me and he said Kiko is good right to go all the way and I said yes."

Leodis McKelvin also returned to practice Sunday. During team drills he worked with the second unit, splitting reps with various defensive backs. Marrone said they're steadily increasing his workload to have him ready for next week's game against the Redskins.

"I'm feeling pretty good, working my way back in. Just trying to get back right." McKelvin said. "I'm just working my way slowly. Get back in, try to modify and get back to full speed. The plan is to work my way through this, build myself up so I can be comfortable when going out there."

Mario Williams also dressed for today's practice. He practiced in individual periods, but didn't participate during team drills. 

Kicking update
Rian Lindell and Dustin Hopkins thickened the kicker battle today. Lindell had the only miss, wide left from 37 yards on his first attempt. He got it on his second kick. He made from 37, 45, 46 and 51 yards. Hopkins went five-for-five today. He made from 31, 34, 42, 43 and 49 yards.

Hopkins was the first kicker through on kickoffs demonstrating his superior leg strength. He repeatedly put it deep in the end zone. Lindell was more accurate placing the ball near the sidelines, but had one only make it to the goal line, and another was returned from inside five yards. 

Lineup notes
Tackle Thomas Welch sat out of practice but was exercising on the sidelines. Marrone called him day-to-day. Welch has been working as the second unit left tackle. Sam Young lined up in his place with Zebrie Sanders in the right tackle position.

Jamie Blatnick and Jamaal Westerman shared reps at outside linebacker with the second unit on defense. Blatnick scored a touchdown in Sunday's game, diving on the ball in the end zone. Westerman is the Bills' most-recent signing and appears to be learning the defense quickly.

Nickell Robey also got some first team reps at right side cornerback. Crezdon Butler didn't practice, but is day-to-day.

Kendall Gaskins did not practice Sunday due to an undisclosed injury. He rode the stationary bike.

ScheduleThe Bills have a Monday practice scheduled for 8 am.

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