1 - "Two-spot" Team work means more work for everyone
In an effort to get more reps for everyone on the field, especially the quarterbacks, the Bills have continued what they call their "Two-Spot" scheme during team work. Just as in OTAs and minicamp, the full team work (offense vs. defense) takes place on two different spots on the field. That's the way they worked Saturday, and not only does it give fringe roster players more opportunities to shine, it helps in conditioning as well. Very rarely does a large group of players stand on the sidelines while the starters work.
"It's a lot harder than I thought it would be," rookie CB Ron Darby said after Saturday's practice. "We did a lot of running today. We didn't have any subs because we split the field up, so we did like twenty plays in a row, almost."
Head Coach Rex Ryan says the team's overall conditioning should improve with all the extra plays.
"You're not necessarily getting double reps," Ryan said, "but you're getting a heckuva lot more reps. There's no question about it. "
2 - A good day for the offensive line, and the depth is tested
Ryan was happy with the work of his offensive line in Saturday's practice, and he said it was much stronger than Friday's first workout.
"I liked the way our offensive line responded," he said. "I like the way we're competing against other."
Second year Guard Cyril Richardson worked with the first unit for much of the day after rookie guard John Miller left for a brief period with what Ryan called an ankle bruise. The Coach says Miller may miss a day or two, but he's got a qualified backup in Richardson, who started the first four games of his rookie year in 2014.
"I know how people play in the NFL now," Richardson said after Saturday's workout.
"I've gotten that experience. I got my feet wet. Now, I'm just taking all the positives from there and trying to minimize my negatives as much as possible."
Ryan made note of Richardson's good work in the nine-on-seven run blocking portion the practice, saying "he's a big man and can move people."
3 - Physical play on the back end of the defense**
In just the second practice of training camp, the Bills defensive backs look determined to set a physical tone in the secondary. And a couple of young defenders made big plays. In the one on one matchups between WRs and DBs, second year corner Ross Cockrell came up with a nice interception on a pass intended for Chris Hogan. Later on, rookie Ron Darby, running with the first team with Leodis McKelvin still out, had a nice pass breakup on a deep ball thrown to Marquise Goodwin, during the first team session.
The Bills receivers say they're ready for the bump and grind, physical play downfield.
"It's just one thing we have to work through," says WR Percy Harvin. "There's a lot of defensive backs in the league that play physical, they like to put their hands on you. It's just the second day. It's something we have to work through. It's actually good work for us."
In the final team session of the Saturday workout, QB Tyrod Taylor made plays working with the first team as part of the QB rotation. He hit Bryce Brown on a screen pass that Brown turned into a big gainer with a quick burst of speed. Taylor found Percy Harvin downfield and Harvin picked up outstanding yards after the catch. On Taylor picked up significant yardage on a scramble, against the typically strong Buffalo pass rush.
The first team session (11-on-11) saw Matt Cassel get the first reps, and EJ Manuel getting the next set. The final team session went Taylor, Cassel, Manuel and Matt Simms, with the first and second teams cycling through.
Head Coach Rex Ryan had little to say about reports that the State of Florida has dismissed misdemeanor battery charges against Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer. He remains in paid administrative leave.
"We're aware of what's out there," Ryan said. "We really have nothing else to add, not going to comment any more. Right now, I don't feel comfortable commenting on it. We're working with the league right now and we'll have more to say about it in the near future."
The NFL Network set up shop in the northeast corner of the practice field and broadcast live, with analyst Brian Baldinger anchoring their coverage. Baldinger went to training camp with the Bills in 1992.
Sunday marks the first padded practice for the 2015 training camp. The workout starts at 10am.