Top 3 things you need to know from Bills blue-white scrimmage

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*1 – EJ fares well, Cassel the probable for Carolina *On a night when the offense’s big plays were somewhat scattered over the course of 18 series, head coach Rex Ryan liked what he saw from EJ Manuel the most.

“I really thought EJ did a nice job,” said Ryan. “He had a real nice ball early to Percy (Harvin). Percy made a real nice catch and then (EJ) had that real nice run. So I was impressed by EJ. The other guys Matt (Cassel) we were running the ball specifically with him early and then he made some throws. I think Tyrod I was a little disappointed in him because I’ve seen him make those throws for a touchdown before. I think he’d like to have a couple of throws back. He did some nice things, but I think he probably wants a couple of throws back.”

Manuel had the only touchdown pass for the offense when he eluded pressure and found Bryce Brown for an 18-yard scoring play in the right side of the end zone. The Manuel run Ryan referred to was an 18-yard gain on a bootleg. Among some of his other good throws were a well-timed strike to Chris Hogan on the right side for 43-yard catch and run.  

Ryan said while there will be a rotation in the team’s first preseason game next week against Carolina he’ll likely start the veteran at quarterback.

“We’ll probably start Cassel in the first game against Carolina and we’ll just go from there,” said Ryan. “Obviously we’ll rotate guys who get a shot to start.”

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2 – Defense gets frequent pressure **The first job Buffalo defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman gave to his players was to stop the run, and for the most part the second and third units were successful in doing that. That however, was trumped by the defense’s pass rush. Stunts, twists, blitzes were all dialed up by Ryan’s defensive unit and though the quarterbacks could not be hit they were tapped out several times by Buffalo pass rushers.

“A couple of them were just blitzes,” said DT Corbin Bryant who had a pair of sacks. “Rex Ryan is the king of blitzes so he dialed it up and we hid it pretty well from the offense until the last second and then I just got in there and made a good move on the guard. A couple of them were us working together as a rush team and I just happened to get there.”

Seeing the defensive unit ahead of the offense was nothing surprising for the head coach at this stage of training camp.

“I’m used to having a great defense,” said Ryan. “I think sometimes the defense at this stage of the game is way ahead of the offense. Obviously we only had one touchdown, but when you go back and look that’s normally what you get. It’s not surprising that we never lit it up. We were game planning or anything else. We were putting the ball down and letting the guys play.”

*3 – Hogan flashes *There were some good plays in the pass game turned in by a handful of players. Percy Harvin had an 18-yard grab early. Marcus Easley had a 20-yard reception and Nick O’Leary had a 36-yard catch and run down the left sideline to put the offense in the red zone. But the receiver who flashed most frequently was Chris Hogan.

With the second and third units seeing the most action Saturday night Hogan saw a lot of time. He had three receptions that all went for first downs. The three catches went for 13, 17 and 43 yards in the blue-white scrimmage including a 3rd-and-7 conversion.

*Bonus notes: LeSean McCoy *had a tight hamstring and had to pull out of the scrimmage early. *CB Ross Cockrell *initially had a scare with a knee injury on a collision at the end of a pass play, but was able to walk off under his own power.

*Seantrel Henderson *got the start at right tackle, where he has seen most of the first team reps for the last few practices over *Cyrus Kouandjio. *Rex Ryan commented on where things stand in that position battle.

“Cyrus had a little setback with missing a day and things, but Seantrel has really been going like this and again, there’s competition there,” said Ryan. “But Seantrel’s really doing a nice job.”

*Aaron Williams *did not participate in the scrimmage, but Rex Ryan said it’s nothing to be concerned about. *Duke Williams *took his place in the starting lineup.

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