Boykin stands out in secondary battles
With the Bills practicing without pads before this weekend's second preseason game, some of Thursday's best action came in the battles between the wide receivers and the defensive backs. Early on in practice, the DBs had the edge with both Corey Graham and Ronald Darby coming up with interceptions. For the offense, it was wide receiver Jarrett Boykin who was most impressive.
Boykin made two exceptional receptions drawing the biggest cheers on the day. The first catch had Boykin streaking down the right sideline and laying out to make a full extension grab. A few minutes later Boykin ripped a jump-ball away from Jonathan Dowling. Boykin spoke about his big day.
"Who wants it more than the next man. He had it and I was fortunate to rip it through in the last final seconds and come up with it," said Boykin of his play on Dowling.
Despite the highlights, Boykin acknowledged that he still has a climb in order to crack the roster at wide receiver.
"Every time I step on the field I've got something to prove. I'm a new guy that's fighting for everything pretty much I'm out there trying to earn it," said Boykin. "The play that I made today or the previous week that's all behind me. It's about what you do the next day. I've just got to keep progressing. I'm not new to this. I know the way it works. I've just got to go out there and keep competing and busting my tail."
Rex Ryan's desire for the Bills to improve in the area of mental mistakes has been well documented. Following a season in which Buffalo was last in both penalties taken and total penalty yards, Ryan has made offending players run a lap to atone for each penalty taken. After taking 11 penalties for 106 yards against the Colts, Thursday's practice gave further indication that mental errors are still an issue for this team. Speaking after practice on Thursday, linebacker Preston Brown reiterated the need to clean up penalties.
"Penalties are a big issue. I mean that's something that we had last year that made us lose games. That's what we don't want to have happen this year," said Brown. "You see the offsides and all the false starts. That's stuff that we can control, that's not a physical penalty so guys running out at practice doing everything we have to do to make sure that it's not acceptable."
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The player most recently in the penalty doghouse is wide receiver Walt Powell. Powell was flagged for a false start after jumping on a hard snap count. That mental snafu comes on the heels of an incident at the end of practice on Wednesday in which Powell was penalized for illegal contact on Ronald Darby in the red-zone.
Vets stay fresh ahead of matchup with the Giants
Rex Ryan has been adamant about getting rest for his veteran players. That approach continued Thursday as they rested a number of veterans heading into this weekend's game with the New York Giants. Leger Douzable, Lorenzo Alexander, and Brandon Spikes where all among the players who watched from the sidelines on Thursday. Unsurprisingly Sammy Watkins was also part of the group getting rested. The Bills, who can ill afford any risk of re-injury, have been extra careful with Watkins.
Multiple players, including Greg Salas and Nickel Robey-Coleman, nursing minor injuries added to the contingent of spectators. Rookie cornerback Kevon Seymour joined the group with an undisclosed injury. Jonathan Dowling took reps at corner in place of Seymour while Sterling Moore was bumped up to first team nickel corner with Robey-Coleman out.