For the third straight practice on my count, the Buffalo Bills have seen a healthy Shawne Merriman flying all over the field and making his presence known.
Following a performance on Monday that Paul Hamilton described as "dominant," Merriman backed it up again on Tuesday during 11-on-11 drills at the end of the practice.
On two consecutive plays, Merriman exerted his will on left tackle Demetrius Bell. On the first, Merriman blew right past Bell and tapped Fitzpatrick before he even finished his drop in to the pocket. On the second play, Merriman bull rushed Bell and pushed him all the way in to Fitzpatrick just as he was throwing the football.
It isn't clear whether Bell is looking that badly or Merriman is looking extraordinary, but I'd assume it's somewhere in the middle.
Three players missed practice on Tuesday due to injury. Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, wide receiver Marcus Easley and defensive back Domonic Cook all sat out of the session. Cook's injury is the most severe. He was spotted on crutches during the walk-thru's in the morning, and head coach Chan Gailey said he'd likely be out for at least a month.
Only one close call near the end of practice in terms of injuries. Shawn Nelson tweaked something in one of his legs during 11-on-11's. Gailey said with nearly 50 hours between practices, Nelson should be ready to go for Thursday night according to the trainers.
Here's some other highlights I took away from the session:
- Leodis McKelvin had a rough day in terms of blown coverage several times on the field, continuing the trend of his inconsistency throughout his career. Near the end, he lost a step to Lee Evans and the speedy wideout burned him on a fly route for six.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick had a nice day throwing when Shawne Merriman wasn't in his face instantly. He connected with Stevie Johnson on a beautiful pass that split the zone during 7-on-7's.
- Outside linebacker Danny Batten had a good couple of reps against backup tackle Jason Watkins. Batten blew right by Watkins and easily got to the quarterback.
- The struggles for Aaron Maybin continue. Backup left tackle Ed Wang just engulfed Maybin's attempt to get to the passer during 1-on-1's. He's just too small to be effective.
- Starting right guard Kraig Urbik struggled at times during the day. On one occasion, Chris Kelsay and a teammate ran a stunt at Urbik. The guard read it wrong, and Kelsay walked right in to the pocket. But Urbik came back against Dwan Edwards and Spencer Johnson on a stunt and made amends.
- Geoff Hangartner showed he's still got a little fight left in him by neutralizing the bull rush efforts of the nearly 400-pound Michael Jasper on a couple of occasions. It was impressive. That just goes to show Jasper has a ways to go, his power can be dealt with.
- 5th round pick and running back Johnny White showed some nice burst through the line of scrimmage during practice.
- Undrafted free agent rookie running back Emmanuel Moody fumbled the football on one play. He promptly dropped and gave the coaches ten pushups.