**Hodges versatility on display
**It's still very early, but there looks to be a plan in place to see just how much LB Gerald Hodges can do in Buffalo's defense. Through the first three days of camp, Hodges has lined up at both outside linebacker spots and middle linebacker in the nickel package. It's clear that the defensive staff is pushing Hodges versatility to the limit.
"He's done a nice job," said head coach Sean McDermott. "He came in in the back third of the offseason and did a nice job acclimating himself to our system and really put the team first which to me is important. He's played multiple positions both outside and inside. He's got more history inside in the 3-4 there in San Fran. He's a physical football player. We do need that attitude on the defense and we're looking for that from him and other players on the defense and this football team."
Hodges has been working with Reggie Ragland in the second team nickel package. He's also been playing on the weak side in the second team base defense and he and rookie Matt Milano have been rotating in and out. Hodges has fared well in coverage assignments as he's shown an ability to mirror tight ends.
"I'm a linebacker so it doesn't matter if I'm outside or inside," Hodges said. "I've played them all before. It's all about getting the defense down and getting the concepts and I've got that down so I feel really comfortable whether I'm outside or inside."
Hodges also has a familiar face here on the Bills staff as defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was his head coach in Minnesota in his rookie year. He began his NFL career as a subpackage linebacker, so playing nickel has his career coming full circle.
"Coach Frazier, outside of him just being a great coach, he's a great guy. I like him and his approach every day. He's coming out here and he wants us to get better. He's working us hard and making sure we're getting better and we're a playoff caliber team. That's what I like about him. Everything isn't perfect right now, but I feel a lot faster and way more confident in the defense."
RELATED: DAREUS TWEAKS HAMSTRING
Pass breakups carry the dayIf there was one part of Saturday's performance in practice that stood out it was the number of pass breakups turned in by the defense. Linebackers and defensive backs were getting their hands in the passing lanes and disrupting the offense's passing attack.
After a slow start the defense turned it up in coverage. CB Charles James had a pass breakup on a Nate Peterman throw intended for Brandon Reilly. Lorenzo Alexander jumped a sideline route by Pat DiMarco and almost had an interception that would've gone for a touchdown. S Jordan Poyer broke up a pass underneath that was intended for LeSean McCoy.
And Tre'Davious White should've had an interception on a pass that was tipped near the line by Ramon Humber. The pass, which was intended for Andre Holmes unfortunately went through White's hands.
First nicks of campMarcell Dareus was not alone on the sidelines at practice Saturday with his hamstring strain. Ronald Darby sat out with a foot injury and is considered day-to-day. Brandon Tate (calf) and Ian Seau (foot) were also nicked up during practice and saw their days end early.
All four players will be re-evaluated for Sunday's 8:45 practice.
Bonus notesShaq Lawson had another strong day as he won most of his one-on-one pass rush snaps during drill work with offensive tackles. * *
With Darby out, Kevon Seymour started at cornerback opposite Tre'Davious White. Shareece Wright and Bradley Sylve were the second set of outside corners.
Leonard Johnson continues to be the top nickel corner, with Seymour serving as the second nickel.
Bacarri Rambo got rotated in for a couple of second team reps at safety. We'll see if he can make a move up the depth chart on a more consistent basis.
Pass of the day goes to T.J. Yates, who got a corner to bite on a pump fake and hit Rod Streater in stride for a 25-yard touchdown.
With Marcell Dareus out of practice, Adolphus Washington replaced him with the starting unit.
Photos from the second practice of 2017 Bills Training Camp, presented by Connors & Ferris.