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Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia
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Posts from June 2014

5 Bills starting positions that could be up for grabs
Over the course of the next month the National Football League, which is loud and vibrant for the rest of the year, will go dark as players and teams prepare for the onslaught of training camps around the country. For the Buffalo Bills, they’ll have some decisions to make not only on who makes the 53-man roster, but maybe even for players that could impact their season dramatically.

Starting positions will be on the line at St. John Fisher College. When the Bills get to training camp for their first practice on July 20, the competitions between some select players at different positions will be front and center for many.

Which five positions might not be set in stone? Here’s a very, very premature look at how things could start off in Pittsford, New York:

1) Strong Safety
- This is one of two positions that is bringing along guaranteed competition with the start of training camp. Throughout the three-day minicamp fourth-year player Da’Norris Searcy got all the first-team looks, but don’t expect that to continue all the way through camp. Second-year safety Duke Williams knows the job is on the line and will likely get his opportunities to shine with the first unit as well. Searcy has the added advantage of much more experience in regular season games on the defensive side of the ball. However, that’s also that much more tape on him which could expose some of his flaws. Also working in the favor of Williams is the fact that he was drafted by the current regime. Searcy, in the final year of his contract, was not. The two will likely get an equal opportunity to win the job, with a tie likely going to Williams.

2) Right Tackle
- This became a competition as soon as the Bills elected to not use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman, and instead took one in the second round with starting potential. Erik Pears is the incumbent, bouncing back from a below average 2013 campaign and returning to average. The Bills know they can do better at right tackle, though, and they would want to get younger, too. Second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio enters as Pears’ central competition. Make no mistake, the team wants Kouandjio to win that job but they won’t just hand it to him. They made the calculated risk in selecting him, regardless of concerns over his long-term playing status due to his knee injury. It’s Kouandjio’s job to lose.

3) Right Guard
- The Bills have been looking to upgrade at three of their five positions along the offensive line following the end of the 2013 season. They already signed a new starting left guard in Chris Williams, they drafted the aforementioned Kouandjio to compete for the starting right tackle job, which leaves right guard as one they’re interested in creating some competition. Kraig Urbik, who turned a fantastic 2012 season into a contract extension, has seen his production slip some which has opened the door for the Bills to contemplate competition. Through minicamp, Chris Hairston split the first-team reps with Urbik which was a signal that they may be looking for new blood at the position. Don’t discount Cyril Richardson, J.J. ‘Unga, Antoine McClain or Mark Asper yet either, but Hairston seems to be the guy they’ve liked the most through the offseason practices.

4) Fullback
- Fullback is a position that isn’t talked about very often, but it’s one that has seen first-team reps split between the only two on the roster. Frank Summers and Evan Rodriguez both ended the 2013 season on the Bills active roster. While the former made the team straight out of training camp, the latter was added months into the season and eventually worked into the offense. Summers is your old-school type of blocker, but Rodriguez is the more athletic and versatile type that can offer a lot in the passing game. However, Rodriguez doesn’t offer quite as much as a blocker, and the Bills could be favoring a run-heavy attack once again. As training camp approaches the two will likely continue to split their reps with all units, earning the designation of a straight up, ‘let the best man win,’ style of showdown.

5) Tight End
- Of the five listed, tight end is really the only one that doesn’t have some clear cut competition. However, Tony Moeaki got a ton of time with the first-team over the three-day minicamp and was relatively impressive. Scott Chandler was the leading receiver on the Bills last year and was excused from the minicamp to tend to a family matter, but will see some stiff competition from Moeaki during training camp. Don’t be shocked to see some two tight-end sets featuring both players, because Chandler has proved to be a consistent target in his own right. Moeaki created a bit of a rapport with EJ Manuel over the last few days and would likely need a big training camp to unseat Chandler. However, it’s worth monitoring for two reasons. First, the Bills were very much considering using the ninth overall selection on Eric Ebron had they stayed at their selection. And secondly, they’ve been talking up Moeaki since the end of last year. It’s not an outright competition, but keep an eye on this one.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

Is Hairston's move inside permanent for Bills?
Over the course of the Buffalo Bills 2014 mandatory minicamp there was one player that not only got time at a new position, but even saw some starter reps during his time at that new spot.

Chris Hairston, a former fourth-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, left his normal spot at offensive tackle and was shifted inside to right guard throughout the three-day stretch of practices. Since he’s been a member of the organization, it was the first time he’s been moved away from offensive tackle.

With both left tackle and right tackle likely spoken for Hairston’s best chance to not only start, but to make the roster entirely, could be if he shows enough ability at guard throughout the summer. Head coach Doug Marrone explained some of his thinking with trying out the 6-foot-6, 330-pound lineman on the interior.

“He’s a big body and it’s a position for that. We have Kraig Urbik. We have Chris there. We have some of those younger guys that are playing that position,” Marrone said. “It’s hard to judge at this time of year in shorts and how it’s going to shake out, especially up front. So we’re putting everyone in there and giving them an opportunity to learn that stuff so they can go ahead and compete.”

If you’ll recall, Hairston lost his entire 2013 season due to a pair of issues. For one, he had an injury that kept him out of participating of training camp practices. Following that, he had an undisclosed condition that landed him on the Non-Football Illness list, ending his season before it even started.

In 2014, though, he’s fully cleared and back on the field for the Bills throughout their entire offseason program. His hard work has been acknowledged, paving the way for his opportunity at the mandatory minicamp.

“I think he's earned it, to the standpoint of that he's come back after a year off and he's done some great things. I think that when a guy comes back and does what he's doing, it goes across the board for all those guys,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. 

“You want to get those guys in there and see how they are when they get against the, all of a sudden Mario Williams is there. You want to see how they're gonna react, all of a sudden, Kyle Williams is in front of you. That's a big deal.”

Hairston essentially split the first-team reps with incumbent starter Kraig Urbik at right guard over the three-day stretch of practices. Does he serve as Urbik’s biggest competition at training camp?

“I think we will see how that goes as we get closer to camp,” answered Marrone, not wanting to give anything away.

Hairston and the rest of the team are now on a one-month break from football activities at One Bills Drive. They’ll reconvene in Pittsford, New York at St. John Fisher College for the start of training camp on July 20.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Bills minicamp observations: Day 3
The Buffalo Bills wrapped up their 2014 offseason workouts on Thursday evening with the conclusion of their three-day mandatory minicamp. The practice started off with a special message from Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and the players went through the paces for the last time before a month-long break.

There were some individual standouts, and perhaps some good news as they approach the start of training camp in July 20. Here is how some of the practice played out:

1) Woods standing out
- With two new targets brought in for EJ Manuel throughout the offseason, the only constant from 2013 projected to this year’s starting lineup is Robert Woods. And to this point through the workouts, Woods has not disappointed in the least bit. He didn’t start participating during the team drills right away due to an ankle procedure early on into the offseason. However, once he got the green light Manuel has gotten reacquainted with Woods and found the trust without much delay. The second-year wideout won’t break a game wide open, but he is as consistent and dependable as they come. Woods adjusted to a poorly thrown pass at the goal line after beating his man on an out route, dove for the reception and rolled into the end zone. It was a small example, but further evidence to what Woods means to Manuel.

2) Mike Williams gets some work with the 1s
- A little bit of concerned has been raised over the past week or so about newly acquired wide receiver Mike Williams and his lack of time with the top unit past the first week or so. On Thursday, the final day of mandatory minicamp, Williams got back in the rotation and was part of the three wide receiver sets on the first team sporadically. He’s also been rehabbing his hamstring injury from the 2013 season, which has led to the trainers limiting what he does during offseason practices. To put it plainly, it’s extremely premature to label Williams as a player in jeopardy of making the roster because of the aforementioned reasons. The Bills like him a great deal, and view him as someone that can make an impact on the offensive side of the ball as long as he keeps himself out of trouble and shows ability during training camp.

3) Kyle Williams ripping through the interior
- It’s hard to take much away from the performances of both the offensive and defensive lines because physicality is frowned upon during offseason practices and that is the primary function of those two units. However, Kyle Williams gave a little preview of what to expect when the Bills put the pads on and get to training camp in late July. He got through to the backfield quickly on more than one occasion, which has been commonplace in training camp practices since he was drafted by the Bills. Chris Hairston and Kraig Urbik were no match for Williams on a few occasions.

4) No Byrd? The Bills have a (hopeful) new ballhawk
- As the Bills transition to life without Jairus Byrd, they are also shifting Aaron Williams into a role more similar to what Byrd did than to what Williams did last season. Williams is now the free safety, and he’ll have the liberty to use his instincts and athleticism to try and break up plays, and to even force turnovers. Williams started the day off by baiting EJ Manuel into an interception during 7-on-7s by breaking on the ball quickly and getting in front of the receiver for the turnover. Later on he was merely a step or two away from picking off another pass, this time in the end zone, on a play that was ultimately broken up by the cornerback in coverage. Williams jumped up and screamed out, “That should have been number two!” He’s embracing his new role quite well.

5) Full health for camp?
- As the Bills break for about a month, they might just have every single player ready to go by the time training camp comes around. Head coach Doug Marrone said he believes that all 90 players on the roster should be ready in time for training camp, including the players that they brought along slowly during their offseason workouts. That means players like Mario Williams, Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, T.J. Graham and others that have been limited through the last few weeks should be able to participate in a much larger way. Just like Wednesday, the Bills had 89 out of their 90 players on the practice field for Thursday’s practice. Only tight end Scott Chandler, who was excused for personal reasons, missed the session.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Bills' Mike Williams limited by leg injury during workouts
Throughout all of the Organized Team Activities and the three-day minicamp, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Mike Williams wasn’t getting as many reps during practice as was expected for a player with his talent level. The reason for his slow start has now been unveiled.

“We started off where, they threw me out there and I was just going every rep, and then the leg started getting to me,” Williams said, referring to a previous injury. “Then they started holding me back more and more, but then I started getting my leg back, they were giving me more reps. It was really the leg, but I should be 100-percent by camp.”

The injury that ended his season prematurely in Tampa Bay during the 2013 season was a torn hamstring, and one that he had a procedure on. Now with a substantial amount of time off from practices, Williams is hoping for his leg to get back in order by the time training camp rolls around.

“I'm almost there. I keep telling them I'm at 80-percent, they're telling me I'm at 70-percent. We're going back and forth, but, I think I'm getting there,” he said. “With this month right now until camp, I think I'll be 100-percent coming into camp.”

Williams had been seen in recent weeks losing out on some first-team reps after starting out with the top unit at the beginning of OTAs. On Thursday, the team’s final mandatory minicamp practice, the Buffalo-native was sprinkled into a few first-team reps during three wide receiver sets.

The Bills acquired Williams this offseason from Tampa Bay for a sixth-round pick.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​
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Locations: Buffalo
People: Mike Williams

Jim Kelly's pre-practice speech sparks Bills
As the media entered the ADPRO Sports Training Center for the final day of mandatory minicamp, a familiar face to the Buffalo Bills was seen by all. Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who is battling cancer, showed up to team facilities for the first time since undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.

Unbeknownst to the 90 players on the Bills roster, Kelly walked out on to the field after they got through stretching and talked to the team as they huddled around him. Considering all that he has been through over the past several months, it was a special moment for both he and the team.

“Like to be honest, I'm not no little girl, but that brought a tear to my eye. That's a legend right there,” said wide receiver and Buffalo-native Mike Williams. “I kept saying it every time he said a word, I said, 'legend.' It was a joy to see him out there talking and walking around, and to come and talk to us and to say the things he said about our offense, it was kind of like a joy.”

The message he delivered was an important one to head coach Doug Marrone in trying to provide perspective to where the players are at and what type of city they’re playing in. He hopes the message sinks in for his players.

“He made a good point, and it's one that we drive home with the players. Buffalo is a special place with special people in this area,” Marrone said. “Jim's message was, when he was a player here they supported him. Obviously now, fighting his battles, they're supporting him just as much, if not more, now. I think that says a lot for the people in this region. I think that's a good point and our players have to understand that.”

After delivering the message, some players said they think the team got a spark for their final session before a month-long break just by hearing and seeing Kelly speak. As he finished up his talk, the former Bills quarterback went to walk off the field but was then called back to break the huddle for the team to start the practice.

“We're with him. We're fighting through this, just like he's been there with us trying to fight through what we're going through,” Marrone remarked. “We support him and it was great for him to get out there and be amongst the team, which I think he feels comfortable about and having the strength to address them.”

While he was there watching the team go through drills, he was surrounded by Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas and Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon. Kelly stayed around practice for about an hour before exiting with his brother Dan.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo by Joe Buscaglia

Bills minicamp observations: Day 2
For the second straight day, the Buffalo Bills got on the field for a practice during mandatory minicamp. The session was highlighted by the second two-minute drill of the 2014 workouts, and the intensity was heightened in the final minutes of practice.

The Bills had some standouts throughout the day, and more interesting roster decisions during the second day of minicamp. Who stood out?

Here are some brief observations:

1) Another day, another play(s) by Robey
- Just like he did in 2013, Nickell Robey had to work his way up the cornerback depth chart throughout the offseason workouts and eventually won himself some valuable time with the first unit. The small cornerback has done it again, showing that he makes plays each and every time the team makes the field. On Wednesday, there were two specific instances that stuck out. The first was during a normal 11-on-11 drill that had Robey blitzing from his nickel corner position. He rushed in and got picked up on the block by tight end Chris Gragg. The Bills attempted to draw him in and throw the ball over the top of him for a little swing pass, only to see the 5-foot-7 Robey leap up and bat the pass down at the line of scrimmage. That was impressive, but even more impressive was the end zone interception to end the two-minute drill for the first-team. EJ Manuel let it fly to the back left corner of the end zone, and Robey used his impressive leaping ability to rise up and pick the pass off that was still over his head a bit. Already in with the first team at nickel corner, Robey just continues to do all the right things during these practices.

2) Hairston at right guard continues
- On Tuesday, Chris Hairston was seen working at right guard with the first unit for the first time since the offseason practices began in May. The Bills must have liked what they’ve seen out of Hairston there, because for the second consecutive practice Hairston split the first-team reps at right guard with Kraig Urbik. To this point none of the trial players at guard have really stuck as legitimate competition for Urbik when the team goes to training camp in July. However, if Hairston continues to get those reps on the third day of minicamp (Thursday), perhaps he’ll serve as Urbik’s stiffest competition yet.

3) Henderson getting first-team reps
- Near the end of practice during the two-minute drill, left tackle Cordy Glenn could not participate. He did not attend Tuesday’s practice due to an illness, so perhaps that was the line of thinking for not having him out there in full on Wednesday. With Glenn out, Hairston at guard and rookie Cyrus Kouandjio working solely at right tackle with the second unit, seventh-round selection and rookie Seantrel Henderson served as the first-team left tackle during that drill. Going up against the best the defense had to offer, Henderson struggled mightily outside of one rep in which the Jerry Hughes and Kyle Williams attempted a stunt. That time, Henderson anticipated it beautifully and was in control versus the hard-charging Williams. The rookie is getting opportunities to prove he is worthy of a roster spot, especially now with Hairston working exclusively with the guards over the last couple of days. He needs to improve, however.

4) A new position for a rookie
- At 6-foot-4 and 245-pounds, seventh-round pick and rookie linebacker Randell Johnson definitely stands out in that position group. Which is why one had to do a double take when you couldn’t easily see him while that group was going through their individual drills with the coaching staff. Instead, Johnson found his way over to the defensive end grouping and participated throughout practice as a down lineman. This makes a great deal of sense because some of Johnson’s biggest hangups through OTAs were all about the lack of his coverage abilities. Putting him at defensive end removes those, and allows him to use his athleticism in more of a quick-twitch way. Perhaps they’re just cross-training him, but they like him enough to move him around the defense. He seems like a prime practice squad candidate, as long as the team stays healthy enough.

5) Only one player absent
- The return of both Cordy Glenn and Seantrel Henderson brought the attendance number up to 89 out of 90 (and 92 if you count the three tryout players). The lone absence was tight end Scott Chandler, who was excused by head coach Doug Marrone to take care of a family matter. In his absence, both Tony Moeaki and Lee Smith took first-team reps with EJ Manuel. Of that group without Chandler on the practice field, Moeaki’s athletic and receiving abilities are most evident. Chandler’s absence won’t help Moeaki move up the depth chart, but it’s helping him set up for more reps throughout training camp if he continues to impress.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Intensity increases as Bills do two-minute drill
Throughout the Buffalo Bills offseason workouts every practice has had the same sort of feel to it. The players stretch, go through positional drills, do some 11-on-11 activities and sprinkle in special teams work over the course of the practice.

It wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that the session kicked up a few notches in intensity with the start of the two-minute drill. This wasn’t the first time the team ran the two-minute drill, but that was more of an introduction to that activity that had a lot of players still learning specific roles.

The music was shut off, one minute and 59 seconds were put on the clock, the players went to their respective huddles and the session shifted from lighthearted hard work to a very serious tone.

“It was funny, because I wasn't even in the huddle at all for that one. I was back calling the plays, and you could just see the whole thing switch,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said when the practice settled into that portion. “The last time we did the two-minute it wasn't very pretty and they realized that.”

Hackett’s assessment of the initial two-minute drill during Organized Team Activities was dead on. In fact for the offense, it ended very quickly without many yards gained by the first team.

On Wednesday, the added intensity and a better understanding of some of the play calls helped the offense to a much better performance than their previous attempt. Players were shouting from the sidelines, yards were gained and it all led to one final play with two seconds on the clock and the offense in need of a touchdown.

Around twenty yards out from the end zone, quarterback EJ Manuel dropped back and spotted a receiver in the back left corner with a one-on-one matchup against the diminutive Nickell Robey. Manuel cocked his arm and delivered a touch pass to the end zone, only to see the undersized Robey use his above average leaping ability to rise up and intercept the pass.

The play ended with the cornerback hitting the ground square on his back with a thud, but was also a fitting conclusion to the first-team session of the two-minute drill.

“I think the more that they hold themselves accountable, it's going to be special. And I think that was something we saw then,” Hackett said. “They really pushed it, they got after it, they were fighting for it and I think that's what we need all the time. And that's something good to build on.”

The Bills have one final practice during mandatory minicamp on Thursday afternoon before they break for a month ahead of the start of training camp.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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People: Nathaniel Hackett

Bills minicamp observations: Day 1
The voluntary portion of the offseason is officially over. In fact, all that separates the offseason from being completed is just two more practices and about a month of downtime before we get back into full swing with the start of training camp.

The Buffalo Bills took the field, mandatorily, for the first time in 2014. It’s the first of a three-day mandatory minicamp in which all players must be in attendance unless they are excused by the coaching staff.

Did the offense improve from their less than stellar end to Organized Team Activities? Or did the defense continue to get the best of them?

Here are some notes from the opening day of minicamp:

1) EJ See-Saw
- Throughout the afternoon we got a taste of both good EJ and bad EJ. On the positive side, he looked poised throwing it to his tight end regardless if it was Lee Smith or Tony Moeaki on the receiving end. It wasn’t just little dump-off passes either. One throw hit Moeaki in stride deep down the left hash for a big gain. He looked poised on those throws and displayed some patience in other instances throughout the 11-on-11 portion of practice. However, bad EJ reared his ugly head at times during the session as well. He got caught staring down his receiver running a flag route to the right sideline, allowing the safety to read him the whole way. Undrafted rookie Deon Broomfield read Manuel’s eyes, broke on the ball and jumped in front of the receiver for an easy interception. That was coupled with some deep misfires and a pair of plays that ended up in fumbles in the backfield. It’s only June, and there are many practices to get things back in order. However, Manuel needs to get more consistent through his practice habits which will, in theory, prepare him to do it in a regular season game setting. Rome wasn’t built in a day, though.

2) Goodwin goes deep
- The offensive play of the day involved the combination of wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and backup quarterback Thad Lewis. Goodwin was up against cornerback Corey Graham in man-to-man coverage, and the speedy second-year receiver blew right by him. Lewis immediately saw the step, reared back and threw his entire body into the throw, hitting Goodwin perfectly in stride and for a theoretical touchdown. Many of Goodwin’s receiver teammates, including Robert Woods, Kevin Elliott, Ramses Barden and Marcus Easley all ran over to Goodwin along the sideline to congratulate him on the big play. They also gave some guff to Graham for not being able to keep up with the speedster. Graham didn’t say a word and just kept walking along.

3) Hairston in play for right guard?
- The Bills and head coach Doug Marrone are clearly not happy with their right guard situation, because they are trying a lot of different combinations throughout the first few weeks of offseason workouts. This time around, a normal offensive tackle got some reps with the first team at right guard in place of the incumbent Kraig Urbik. Chris Hairston, who got some backup reps at guard last week, split first-team duties with Urbik throughout the practice on Tuesday. It’s clear that the Bills are looking to upgrade both positions on the right side of the offensive line, but they’re just seeing if they can unearth any gems on their roster before settling on the Urbik and Erik Pears duo once again. Pears will face competition from rookie Cyrus Kouandjio, but Urbik’s main competition has yet to be distinguished. Once training camp comes around it will start to discern itself a bit, but as for now, Marrone is just seeing what everyone can do.

4) Searcy getting first-team reps
- With the start of mandatory minicamp, the top safety on the Bills’ roster got back to work during team drills. Aaron Williams, who makes the cosmetic switch from ‘strong’ to ‘free’ safety, got his fair share of reps with the first team on Tuesday. Standing beside him on all of those reps? Fourth-year player Da’Norris Searcy. Searcy is in a clear battle with second-year player Duke Williams to be the starter alongside the other Williams that plays safety. While this isn’t a clear indication of who the coaching staff might favor, it appears that Searcy at least got the first crack at it due to his experience in actual game settings. It would be a surprise if Duke Williams didn’t get ample opportunity to show what he can do alongside Aaron Williams throughout the summer.

5) Lawson, Branch, Dareus all return
- As the practices shift from ‘voluntary’ to ‘mandatory,’ the Bills welcomed back three players that were notably absent for different reasons. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has had a couple of problems with the law this offseason, and both he and Marrone felt it was best for the player to stay away from the remainder of OTAs. Defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Manny Lawson, each who are veterans that skipped OTAs in 2013, resumed their stances and did not show up to practice throughout the offseason. All three were back in action on Tuesday, with Dareus getting first-team reps alongside Kyle Williams. Branch and Lawson, much like last year, were worked in slowly to team drills mostly with the second and third units. They’ll get back up to full speed by the time training camp rolls around in July.

Other notes:

- The Bills had 100-percent attendance, outside of the three players that were excused from practice: left tackle Cordy Glenn (illness), tight end Scott Chandler (personal) and offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (travel) all could not be at practice. The other 87 players were there.

- A few players worked along the sidelines with the training staff. Wide receiver Marcus Easley, cornerback Darius Robinson, defensive end Bryan Johnson and wide receiver Cordell Roberson all couldn’t go through the full paces of the practice.

- The Bills welcomed in three tryout players for the duration of their three-day minicamp: wide receiver Tori Gurley, cornerback Sam Miller and cornerback Kamaal McIlwain are all getting a look from the coaching staff this week.

- Practice resumes at 3:15 pm on Wednesday.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Fitzpatrick named starter by Texans
Former Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will get yet another chance to be a starter in the league. Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien announced on Tuesday afternoon that Fitzpatrick will head into the regular season as the starting quarterback.

The former Bills player might just get a chance for revenge, too, when Houston welcomes in Buffalo for their Week Four tilt in the upcoming season. In his time with the Bills, Fitzpatrick had a record of 20-33 as their starter.

After having been released by Buffalo ahead of the 2013 NFL Draft, the quarterback was then scooped up by the Tennessee Titans. He was brought in to be the backup for young starter Jake Locker, but when the former first-round pick got injured Fitzpatrick made nine starts throughout 2013.

The Titans switched up their coaching staff and Fitzpatrick was released one year into the two-year deal he signed. He signed a two-year deal with the Texans this offseason, and then beat out Case Keenum, T.J. Yates and rookie Tom Savage to be the starter.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​
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Locations: BuffaloHouston
People: DraftJake LockerRyan FitzpatrickTom Savage

Bills fieldhouse has a new name
The Buffalo Bills are changing up a lot of things over the summer in Orchard Park, and one of them doesn't have to deal with the actual stadium at all. The team announced that the fieldhouse at One Bills Drive will now be known as the ADPRO Sports Training Center.

“ADPRO Sports is a long-time partner of the Bills and we are proud to be associated with such a strong Buffalo-based company,” said Bills Chief Revenue Officer Bruce Popko via the team's official website. The new name covers both the training area for players and the administrative side of the building.

"The Bills are part of the fabric that makes WNY great...we are thrilled to extend our relationship with the team," said ADPRO Sports president Ron Raccuia. "The ADPRO Sports Training Center will be a state of art facility ranking among the best in the NFL"

The Bills will get to work in their freshly renamed facilities for the start of mandatory minicamp later on Tuesday.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of buffalobills.com​
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Topics: Sports
Locations: Buffalo
People: Bruce PopkoRon Raccuia

Court date pushed back for Bills' Dareus, per report
A second run-in with the law has landed Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus in some hot water, but he won't have to face the charges for at least a couple of more weeks. According to The Associated Press, the court hearing for his most recent charges in Hamburg, NY has been postponed until Tuesday, July 1.

His original court date was scheduled for Tuesday, June 17, which is also the start of the Bills' first mandatory practices of 2014. Dareus is facing a charge of reckless endangerment after allegedly racing his car last month. The incident escalated into an accident, ending with Dareus crashing his vehicle into a tree.

Following his second offseason transgression Dareus did not participate in the final six sessions of Organized Team Activities. Both he and head coach Doug Marrone came to an agreement, according to the coach, for him to stay away until the mandatory minicamp started.

The defensive tackle also faces other traffic violations for his role in the alleged drag racing. The most recent charges are stacked on top of his earlier arrest this offseason for felony possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, after being stopped for speeding in Alabama.

The minicamp lasts three days, extending from Tuesday through Thursday, June 19. The set of practices are the last three sessions the Bills have before they break for a month ahead of the start of training camp at St. John Fisher College.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​
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Topics: Sports
Locations: AlabamaHamburg
People: Doug MarroneMarcell Dareus

'Get there early, stay late' cliche applies to Bills' Watkins
It’s been nearly a month since the Buffalo Bills traded their 2015 first and fourth-round picks to have the opportunity to select wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall draft choice. It’s only one month and it must become a trend throughout the season, but Watkins is doing everything early on in his power to become great in the NFL.

During rookie minicamp, it was noted that Watkins stayed after practice to catch some passes to work on his craft, but that’s not even the half of it. It’s certainly a cliché that players use but don’t always follow up on, but one month in the rookie wideout is getting to team facilities early, and staying late to get the most out of his day.

“Here, you get in early. It's your job now,” Watkins said of being a professional as opposed to college. “If you're taking it seriously, you're trying to be great and be the best at your position in the NFL, you need to be here early.”

Still 20 years old for the next week (he turns 21 on Saturday, June 14), the maturity seems to be in order for a potential standout at his position. That’s half the battle, and it’s also about what you do with your day to try and get a leg up on the rest.

Watkins described his typical day during offseason workouts, rookie minicamp and now into organized team activities.

“Around six o'clock AM,” he replied to the query of when he gets in the building each day. “I be here all day. I don't leave until about, I'd say, four or five-ish. Watch extra film with coaches, stretch out, drink your milkshakes, eat right and that's about your day. You go home and stretch out, eat again, follow your schedule, eat again and by nine o'clock, ten o'clock, you're in the bed.”

When he initially gets to One Bills Drive, Watkins goes through a series of stretching, eating, watching his individual cut-ups and going over the playbook all before the normal practice time of 10:30 am. He also understands the difference between repetition in exercise and valuable time spent in one important aspect of the off-the-field preparations.

“You don't want to watch too much film because you're gonna have good and bad on there -- which is good when you're watching with the coach,” Watkins noted. “With yourself, you don't know what you're correcting really right now. All you can do is go out there and play fast. But, I can study the details of the film, watch other guys and what they mess up on and myself, and just try to correct it the next day.”

No games have been played and no padded practices have been conducted, but it’s hard to argue for a much better start out of a highly touted and a heavy investment caliber of player. It will just be up to Watkins to keep up a similar work ethic when he finds his footing in the area and the Bills are into their regular season.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​
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People: Sammy Watkins

Bills’ Kyle Williams: “We expect more out of” Dareus
It’s déjà vu for Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

Not even a week and a half after saying how he’s spoken with Marcell Dareus about making smarter decisions and how he believes his teammate is a good person, Williams once again discussed him for yet another incident off the field. It’s Dareus’ second run-in with the law over the course of the past month and has left his partner at defensive tackle telling him the same things yet again.

“Obviously he's had a string of bad decisions. We as players, teammates and friends, we expect more out of him because we need him to play football for us,” Williams said. “Hopefully these things are kind of a silver lining for him. But, I don't think there's any disguising the fact that he has to be accountable to his team and coaches and our organization for the decisions he makes.”

Just like last time, after the 24-year old Dareus was arrested in Alabama on felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, Williams had some words with his younger teammate. The message was pretty clear.

“He knows. Everybody knows when you make a good decision or a bad decision -- especially when it's that drastic -- you know,” he said in reference to the most recent incident in Hamburg, NY.  “Hopefully the foresight comes in, it's like, 'this probably isn't a good idea, maybe I shouldn't do it.' And that's what I'm trying to get across.”

There’s little doubt that this is the overwhelming message from most of Dareus’ teammates and coaches. Now it’s on him to decide if this month will be the anomaly, or if it’s the start of a slippery slope. As long as he’s got Williams and head coach Doug Marrone, they’ll continue to try and hammer the same message into his mind.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP
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Topics: Sports
Locations: AlabamaHamburg
People: Doug MarroneKyle Williams

Doug Marrone's Bills playlist - June 5
On the sixth day of Organized Team Activities, DJ Doug Marrone went for a certain theme during the practice. How did it work? Here's the full rundown:

1) Renegade - Styx
2) Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
3) Voodoo - Godsmack
4) Dr. Feelgood - Motley Crue
5) Enter Sandman - Metallica
6) I Wanna Be Sedated (live) - The Ramones
7) For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) - AC/DC
8) Man In The Box - Alice in Chains
9) Wicked Garden - Stone Temple Pilots
10) In The End - Linkin Park
11) Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin

Playlist Grade for June 5: 7.1/10
- Doug Marrone went decidedly hard rock for June 5, and it was an interesting choice to say the least. While it was good to hear Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains from just a music perspective, perhaps it wasn't quite as motivating as Marrone hoped it would be. No playlist is perfect, and you have to appreciate a good theme, but some of these could have been a bit more upbeat for the sake of the players.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Bills OTA observations: Day 6
The first two weeks of Organized Team Activities for the Buffalo Bills are in the books as they creep a bit closer to the start of training camp on July 20. During Wednesday’s practice, a sloppy day on offense led to a lot of opportunities for the defense to show their stuff.

Did that happen once again on Thursday? And how did some things shift around without some starters available for practice?

Here is the rundown on some of the notable items:

1) Bills do the two-minute drill
- For the first time in 2014, the Bills carved out a portion of their practice for EJ Manuel to run two separate two-minute drills. The results of the attempts weren’t exactly earth shattering. Both times, Manuel started with 1:42 on the clock and more than half the field to go to the end zone. On their first drill, the offense started with an 8-yard pass to Tony Moeaki. From there, it got ugly. A poorly executed screen attempt on second down resulted in zero yards. That was followed up by a slant to Chris Hogan that was broken up by Corey Graham, and then Hogan was once again targeted on a fourth-down comeback route. He slipped on his break and the ball sailed out of bounds, ending that rendition of the drill. The second one got going a little bit more than the first. After having a throw to the flat to Robert Woods tipped, the receiver still corralled it for a four-yard gain. Manuel then hit Woods over the middle for about an 18-yard gain on his most crisp pass of the drill, beating the zone coverage. The quarterback then missed on a deep throw to Marquise Goodwin, completed a six-yard pass on second down and then had a rather peculiar two-yard gain. His pass was batted back to him, so he caught it and ran, still leaving them two-yards short of the first down. On fourth down, rookie Cyrus Kouandjio was called for holding, and the drill came to an end. It wasn’t exactly the smoothest of exercises, but you have to start somewhere.

2) Glenn at guard
- For only the second time that one can remember, the Buffalo Bills and head coach Doug Marrone put starting left tackle Cordy Glenn inside to guard during a practice. It happened once during training camp last year and again during Thursday’s OTA session. Starting left guard Chris Williams was absent from practice, and the Bills elected to get Glenn some reps on the inside rather than giving Mark Asper more time with the first-team. The move shifted Chris Hairston from the second-team to the first-team and he resumed left tackle duties. That’s likely not a sign of things to come, but just a look at how things could shake out if there is an injury to an interior lineman.

3) Graham (Corey) stands out
- Without Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin able to take any reps during any of the six OTA practices, free agent acquisition Corey Graham has been getting a lot of time on the field with the first team. He’s played both on the boundary and as the nickel corner, depending on the day, and he was always around the ball on Thursday. He picked off two separate passes and was in on a few different breakups as well. He’s been a strong contributor all throughout OTAs as it is, and Thursday was his strongest day of the bunch.

4) Third-rounder getting some first-team reps
- It wasn’t a ton of exposure for third-round selection and linebacker Preston Brown with the first-team defense, but it was a little bit. Head coach Doug Marrone stated after the first practice that as the younger players grew more comfortable, he had no problem with throwing them into the first-team just to get some exposure with it. It took a handful of practices for Brown, but he got his first few reps with the top unit in a nickel package. He and Keith Rivers were the linebackers, which was a bit interesting mostly because Brown was billed more as a run-stuffing middle or strongside linebacker as opposed to one that can play nickel early in his career. Even still, it was a good step for Brown who likely has no chance to start in 2014 unless an injury occurs.

5) Rare sight for Sammy
- Through his first three practices, first-round pick Sammy Watkins was catching everything in sight. It didn’t matter if it was in stride, high, low or behind him, Watkins roped in nearly every pass thrown his way. That’s why it was rather shocking to see a pass go right through his hands during Thursday’s practice. To make matters worse, it landed in the arms of a defensive back for the Bills to create a turnover for that side of the ball. It was his first real lapse of OTAs, so it’s not a trend that is expected to continue based on his previous body of work.

Extra: Video of the day
- Watkins was smooth for all the other parts of the day, including on this comeback route.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Bills without 13 players as OTAs wrap up for week
The second week of Organized Team Activities are complete at One Bills Drive, and the Buffalo Bills concluded practices without a baker’s dozen of players to go through all the drills. Whether it was for various injuries or just absences from the voluntary workout, the Bills didn’t have their full complement of players on the field to end the week.

Six of the 13 players not participating in practice were not in the team’s facilities whatsoever. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, defensive end Manny Lawson, defensive tackle Alan Branch, guard Chris Williams, guard/center Doug Legursky and tight end Mike Caussin all were absent from Thursday’s session.

Lawson and Branch are still missing in action throughout the offseason workouts, Dareus is keeping away following his latest run-in with the law, meanwhile the reasons for the absences of Williams, Legursky and Caussin have not been disclosed to the media.

The other seven were all in attendance, but could not do anything more than work to the side with trainers. That group consists of linebacker Kiko Alonso, running back Bryce Brown, wide receiver Marcus Easley, guard J.J. ‘Unga, wide receiver Cordell Roberson, cornerback Darius Robinson and defensive end Bryan Johnson.

The only two new additions to that group are Roberson and Johnson. Brown got back to team drills on Wednesday, but returned to his work with the trainers on Thursday.

The Bills now have the next three days off before they get back to work for the final week of OTAs. The practice schedule extends from Monday, June 9 through Thursday, June 12.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP

Bills OTA observations: Day 5
The Bills have now reached the halfway point during their annual Organized Team Activities. After completing five practices out of the scheduled 10, there were some glaring takeaways from the day of practice.

Who stood out with superb play, and who stood out for all the wrong reasons? Here are some observations from the most recent day of practice in Orchard Park:

1) Sloppy day for the offense
- For three straight practices, it seemed as though the offense was getting the better of the defense in taking advantages of miscues down the field during team drills. Based on what was seen on Wednesday, the offense couldn’t make it four days in a row. The Bills just were not on the same page on that side of the ball for quite a bit of practice, especially during the final eight possessions. Wide receivers ran the wrong routes, quarterbacks missed throws, offensive linemen whiffed on assignments… all in all, it was a sub-par day for all three units of the Buffalo Bills’ offense.

2) WR observations
- Each day the positional spotlight shifts from one to the next, and on Wednesday WGR took a closer look at some of the receivers. Sammy Watkins continues to impress during the padless practices that preaches a lack of physicality. He can extend for most any pass and has good enough hands to bring in most passes, regardless of their location. What was most impressive Wednesday, at least to your author, was the breakdown at the top of his routes. He ran the route so hard and well, that when he was going to cut out of the breakdown grass was noticeably kicking up behind his cleats. He had a miscue, running the incorrect route on one play that led to an interception, but had another splendid day. Kevin Elliott is also showing a lot of ability during OTAs. He ran a splendid route during 11-on-11 drills near the goal line but dropped the pass right in his mitts. The impressive part is that he didn’t sulk. He got right back to the huddle, ran an even better route on the next play and Thad Lewis hit him for a touchdown. As for one at the position that wasn’t so impressive, you can start to see why the 6-foot-6 Ramses Barden has never caught on anywhere. There is no deception to his game, he lacks the sort of game speed receivers have to have and is limited really to jump ball scenarios for his effectiveness. He’s likely a long shot to make the roster.

3) Asper gets a bump
- Without Chris Williams (who was absent from practice) to play at left guard on Wednesday, the Bills had to use another player at that position on the first unit. Some would have thought the team would use fifth-round pick Cyril Richardson in that role without Williams there, but it was actually Mark Asper getting the reps. The 6-foot-7, 325-pound Asper was one of the cluster of players Doug Marrone said he saw potential in at the end of the year, and he got some valuable playing time at practice Wednesday. With experience all over the offensive line in college — even at center — perhaps Asper could challenge Doug Legursky for a spot on the roster after camp.

4) Under the radar CB making plays
- The Bills liked the performance of cornerback Mario Butler so much in the first three days of practice that they elected to give him first-team reps at practice on Tuesday. That trend continued Wednesday and the Bills were rewarded for it. Butler has been able to keep up with most of the receivers on the roster, and even broke up a jump ball against Sammy Watkins late in the practice. He was a free agent acquisition in 2013, but has the size the NFL is looking for in their cornerbacks at 6-foot-1 and 187 pounds. Keep an eye on Butler, he’s earning more reps and taking advantage of some of the veterans not being able to participate.

5) Fifth-round pick struggles even more
- The first five days of OTAs have not been kind to fifth-round pick Cyril Richardson. He’s been caught flat-footed on more than one occasion through the first half of the practices, and that continued with two glaring lapses occurring on Wednesday. On one play in pass protection, Richardson completely whiffed on fellow rookie and seventh-round pick Randell Johnson, allowing the linebacker to get a sack too quickly after the snap. Later in the day, defensive tackle Stefan Charles ripped right past Richardson to stop a Bryce Brown counter run three yards in the backfield. Perhaps that’s part of the reasoning why Asper, and not Richardson, got first-team reps without Chris Williams at practice Wednesday.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Doug Marrone's Bills playlist - June 4
Here is Doug Marrone's playlist, in all it's glory:

1) Eminem - Lose Yourself
2) Come Baby Come - K 7, performed by The Hit Nation
3) The Monster - Eminem featuring Rihanna
4) Move That Dope - Future featuring Pusha T, Casino and Pharrell
5) Fancy - Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX
6) Problem - Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea
7) Timber - Pitbull featuring Ke$ha
8) Show Me - Kid Ink featuring Chris Brown
9) Talk Dirty - Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz
10) Thrift Shop - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz
11) Trophies - Young Money featuring Drake
12) We Found Love - Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris
13) Wild Wild Love - Pitbull featuring G.R.L.
14) Who Do You Love - YG featuring Drake
15) Work (Remix) - Iggy Azalea featuring Wale

Playlist Grade for June 4: 7.3/10
- Who would have thought Doug Marrone was such a fan of Iggy Azalea?! Not only did she appear on the 15-song playlist a whopping three times, but he replayed 'Fancy' for about the fourth practice in a row. Today's playlist had a little bit of a younger feel to it, which is something that was missing on Tuesday. However, you can't ignore the repeating artist rule. Marrone takes a step back for his Wednesday performance.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

After one day absence, Bills’ Mario Williams returns
As the Buffalo Bills got back on the field for their fifth session of Organized Team Activities, they saw the return of their highest-paid player on the field. Defensive end Mario Williams, who head coach Doug Marrone said was getting checked out on Tuesday, returned to practice on Wednesday.

Although he did not take part in any team drills throughout the day, Williams was back in uniform going through the paces during the positional portion of practice. He had a procedure on his hip during the offseason that has slowed him down at the start of OTAs.

Williams was not the only Bills player to return in some capacity, the team also got back two running backs for practice. Both Bryce Brown and Ronnie Wingo each participated throughout the entirety of practice after missing the last couple of sessions with undisclosed injuries.

A quartet of players worked to the side with trainers during Wednesday’s workout. Linebacker Kiko Alonso, wide receiver Marcus Easley, guard J.J. ‘Unga and cornerback Darius Robinson all could not join the team through the usual paces of work due to injuries.

For the first time, the Bills were without starting left guard Chris Williams at an OTA session. He was joined by defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, defensive end Manny Lawson, defensive tackle Alan Branch and tight end Mike Caussin as those that were not visible on the field Wednesday.

Dareus and Caussin each missed their second straight day, while Lawson and Branch have yet to attend any portion of the team’s offseason workouts over the past month and a half.

The Bills resume practice on Thursday morning for their final one of the week. They’ll have the weekend off before reconvening for the final four days of OTAs next week.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Bills' Hughes confirms he was behind the wheel at time of Dareus incident
Since the news broke regarding Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and his car accident in Hamburg, it led to the discovery of another player on the team being a part of the situation. Starting defensive end Jerry Hughes was identified as the other driver in question of the alleged street racing.

Following Wednesday's practice, Hughes admitted to being behind the wheel of his black Camaro on Friday, the day of the accident.

"Was I there? Yes," the defensive end said. "I was driving my car. I was on the street while [Dareus] was on the street driving his vehicle as well."

Past that, Hughes wouldn't say much regarding the situation and rightfully so. It's an ongoing legal matter, so the veteran couldn't divulge much information regarding the case. The insuation of the case is that the two were street racing, which led to Dareus crashing into a tree near a Hamburg area restaurant.

Hughes was asked point blank if that was the case, and they were indeed street racing. He paused, thought about it, gave a half laugh and then went to a similar refrain throughout the three-minute interview.

"Like I said, they won't let me speak on the facts. So, it's a legal matter that the Hamburg Police is working on right now," he remarked. "They won't let me say too much about it. The facts are the facts though, I will say that."

Hughes has been approached by head coach Doug Marrone and the two talked about the situation. The player didn't divulge the contents of that conversation, but he did say he's going to abide by what they talked about when the situation was broached.

As for Hughes, he isn't going to change his driving habits. He believes he is a law-following citizen, despite what has unraveled over the past couple of days.

"I've always been one to abide by the law and to follow the guidelines and speed limits that they have set out there for us," Hughes said. "Will my approach change? No, because I've always been one to abide by that."

The defensive end was a full participant on Wednesday during the team's fifth practice of Organized Team Activities. There have been no formal charges issued by the Hamburg Police to Hughes, while Dareus faces three misdemeanors and four traffic and property violations for his role in the incident.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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Locations: Hamburg
People: Doug MarroneJerry HughesMarcell Dareus

Bills OTA observations: Day 4
Into the second week of work they go, the Buffalo Bills got back on the field for the fourth time during the voluntary Organized Team Activities portion of the offseason.

One of the biggest stories was the absence of Marcell Dareus, who we later learned came to a mutual decision with head coach Doug Marrone to stay away from OTAs. However, there were many other story lines throughout the day that tie completely into both performance on the field and depth charts.

What were some notable things from Tuesday’s session? Here is a brief rundown:

1) Different defensive variations with 1st team
- With so many different starters not being able to participate in team drills, many players got some first-team experience throughout the first week. Still without Aaron Williams, Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin and Kiko Alonso, some other players got some time on the field with the first unit. While Da’Norris Searcy and Duke Williams made up the first duo of safeties through the first three days, Searcy had a new partner on Tuesday: 2013 fifth-round pick Jonathan Meeks. He wasn’t the only change to the secondary either, with cornerback Mario Butler getting some time on the first team. Butler even made a great play on a throw to Sammy Watkins along the sideline to force an incompletion. It was the first time those two got some notable reps to start drills.

2) Manuel making progress?
- Recognition down the field. It’s something EJ Manuel knows he needs to get better at from his season in 2013, and one of the aspects of his game that he’s working on most heartily. While it’s still a practice session, Manuel has shown the ability to not only recognize chances down the field, but to also take some risk in tighter windows. He was slow to do both during his rookie season. While he still had a lapse in footwork on a throw over the middle of the field and then again when under duress on a different play that almost led to an interception, Manuel made some good reads and solid passes to go along with them. A complete bust in coverage left Chris Hogan wide open down the sideline and Manuel hit him with ease. All in all, it was a good day for Manuel.

3) Hughes, despite the circumstances had a good day
- While the off-the-field stuff wasn’t ideal for Jerry Hughes, his on-field performance during team drills was quite noticeable. He used an outstanding speed rush where he bent around the edge and got past rookie Seantrel Henderson quite easily from the right side of the defense. He also showed off a spin move that was able to get in the backfield and flush the quarterback from the pocket. The defensive end is in his contract year and knows a big season is mandatory to get paid likely as much as he wants to. He also needs to figure out everything else after the most recent developments on his involvement in Marcell Dareus’ latest fiasco.

4) Two rookies continue to struggle
- Once teams start to get to the fourth round and beyond, the players they select are ones that might qualify as more long-term projects than anything. Four days in to OTAs, fourth-round pick Ross Cockrell and seventh-round pick Randell Johnson each have showed struggles along the way. Both defensive players, each have struggled with the same part of the game despite playing different positions. The cornerback Cockrell and the linebacker Johnson haven’t been able to grasp the coverage aspect of their games just yet. Cockrell has gotten beaten badly a few different times since the start of the rookie minicamp in May. As for Johnson, although he’s an outstanding athlete, he’s slow to recognize routes and gets beat for both small and long yardage during OTAs. It is only four days into these voluntary workouts so mistakes will be made by young players like these two. However, as time goes on they need to start showing improvement in that specific area… Johnson especially.

5) New long snapping options?
- Garrison Sanborn has been the long-term option at long snapper for the Bills. Up until training camp last year, Sanborn was an absolute rock for the team and never wavered when called upon. Last year in training camp, he wasn’t as accurate as he would have liked which led the Bills to bring in two tryout players during training camp in 2013. While it’s unclear whether or not to take the following seriously, but two players took reps at long snapper during the special teams portion of practice. Tight end Lee Smith and recently signed center Macky MacPherson each took reps along with Sanborn. The exercise was on punt team and the entire unit ran down the field in coverage, so perhaps it was done to keep Sanborn fresh. However, they have looked for other options in the past, so maybe they’re trying to turn over every stone in house just for the sake of completeness.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

Doug Marrone's Bills playlist - June 3
With many other things going on for the Buffalo Bills off the field, the team got back on the field with a bit more variation from what we heard last week.

DJ Doug Marrone took a lot into consideration ahead of the upcoming practice, and this was the result for keeping his team up and at 'em:

1) Who Do You Love - YG featuring Drake
2) Feeling Alright - Joe Cocker
3) Good Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard
4) Poker Face - Lada Gaga
5) Ramble On - Led Zeppelin
6) Round Here - Counting Crows
7) I’m Walkin’ - Fats Domino
8) Run Around - Blues Traveler
9) Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry
10) Highway Star (live) - Deep Purple
11) Mrs. Jones - Counting Crows
12) Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ - Michael Jackson
13) Fancy - Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX
14) One Week - Barenaked Ladies
15) Started From The Bottom - Drake

Playlist Grade for June 3: 8.1/10
- Marrone earns some major points for introducing Michael Jackson for the first time since these reviews started and also gets credit for erasing his mistake from last week of trusting The Hit Crew one too many times. His downfall today was artist repeating once again (Counting Crows got on there twice), and this is the third time Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy' has played. He needs to mix it up a little bit from that genre in today's scene. All in all, he's improving.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

Bills without nine at Tuesday's OTAs
While the events surrounding Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus have been dominating the headlines over the past 24 hours, the team also stepped back on the field for their fourth day of Organized Team Activities. The Bills and Dareus each came to the conclusion that it would be best if he didn't attend OTAs over the next two weeks, and the defender was joined by eight others on the roster that didn't practice.

Dareus was one of six players that were not spotted on Tuesday, joined by defensive end Mario Williams, defensive end Manny Lawson, defensive tackle Alan Branch, tight end Mike Caussin and cornerback Darius Robinson. Caussin has spent some time with trainers during previous OTA sessions, while Robinson suffered an injury last week which led to his absence on the field on Friday.

Through the first three days, Williams was primarily working on the field during positional drills and taking occasional reps with the team during 11-on-11s. He was not on the field in any capacity on Tuesday. Lawson and Branch have each been absent from all offseason workouts to this point. Head coach Doug Marrone indicated that he has had no contact with either player on their absences.

Running backs Bryce Brown and Ronnie Wingo, along with offensive guard J.J. 'Unga all were around the field, but did not participate in team drills on Tuesday. The trio worked along the side with trainers for the majority of practice.

The Bills get back on the practice field on Wednesday for the day five of OTAs.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

Bills' Hughes the second driver in Dareus incident
The Buffalo Bills have had to deal with two separate run-ins with the law from defensive tackle Marcell Dareus over the course of the past month. As it turns out, the most recent incident is bigger than just Dareus and involves yet another starter along the defensive line.

According to a source, the alleged drag racing incident that resulted in Dareus' most recent charges was with none other than teammate Jerry Hughes. Head coach Doug Marrone acknowledged that the second driver was indeed a member of the team.

"I do have knowledge of it, but I cannot disclose that information at this time because of the legal process."

Before the news of Hughes' involvement, which was originally reported by The Buffalo News, the defensive end spoke to a few reporters briefly on the incident. When asked if he had any involvement, this was Hughes' response:

"I can't elaborate too much on that."

In the statement provided by the Hamburg Police Department, it outlined the second vehicle as what could be described as a black Camaro. While not exactly evidence of his involvement in the Dareus incident, a video posted in January of 2014 showed Hughes' black Camaro being driven at high speeds.

The video is below:

Hughes is the team's projected starting right defensive end and is entering the final year of his contract. In his first season with the Bills after being acquired from Indianapolis in a trade, the former first-round turned his career around in 2013 and had a career-high 10 sacks.

His teammate, Dareus, is facing three separate misdemeanor charges and four traffic violations stemming from the incident. The defensive tackle was already issued two felony charges from an early May arrest in Alabama.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia
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Topics: Sports
People: Doug MarroneJerry HughesMarcell Dareus

Report: Dareus faces 3 charges in alleged drag racing incident
The offseason has gotten a bit more hectic for Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. According to The Buffalo News, Dareus is facing more charges after a drag racing incident in Hamburg, NY.

The Pro Bowl defender has been charged with three misdemeanors and four vehicle and traffic violations after an incident last week. The charges he's accused with are reckless endangerment, reckless driving and participating in an illegal speed contest, according to the report.

The vehicle and traffic violations that Dareus is facing are leaving the scene of a property damage accident, failure to keep right, speeding and moving from lane unsafely, once again according to The Buffalo News.

These three charges come not even a month after he was issued two felony charges in Alabama for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. In that instance, he was initially pulled over for speeding.

After the first day of Organized Team Activities, Dareus spoke with the media and said that the incident was not "what you guys think." He even said he's learned from the incident, and understood that the Bills have been preaching maturity to him after his first run-in with the law.

""It’s behind me, it’s behind me. I mean, I’m not a trouble guy, I don’t cause any problems nowhere. I’m not a loud guy, I don’t do anything, just have fun and be myself. If things happen, things happen," he said. "I feel like I’m on the straight and narrow. Things happen; young, dumb. You’ve got to correct it and just work through it."

The Bills have yet to comment on the most recent accusations of their star defensive tackle.

Keep checking back for the latest information as it becomes available.


**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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Locations: AlabamaHamburgNew York
People: Marcell Dareus

Friends, former teammates show support at Jim Kelly Classic
Over the past 27 years, the Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament has been quite the spectacle for all those involved. In the 28th year, the same vigor was brought by many that made the trip to Terry Hills Golf Course in Batavia, NY, except there was one notable absence.

The man that the very event is named after, Jim Kelly, was advised against attending for health reasons following the conclusion of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Speaking on his behalf, Kelly’s brother Dan addressed the media as the tournament kicked off on Monday morning.

“Talking to him yesterday, he really wanted to figure out if there was a way he could be here,” Dan Kelly said. “For his best interests, it was important that he didn't come today, as much as he wanted to.”

One of his closest friends and teammates with the Bills, Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas spoke one his pal not physically being in Batavia.

“I think you can still feel the presence of him being here and not being here because all of the players that have shown up, it's the biggest outing I think we've had over the history of his celebrity golf tournament,” he said. “We knew there could be a chance that he wouldn't be here, but I think with all the players showing up, his presence is here and his presence is missed.”

With 57 celebrities in attendance, many join Thomas in the belief that this year’s tournament is the one with the biggest turnout since they started it 28 years ago. Dan Kelly estimated that anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000 will go to western New York charities because of the money raised by the Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic.

Former Bills players such as Thomas, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith, Steve Tasker and Phil Hansen were all in attendance, as was former Bills general manager Bill Polian. From the current Bills regime, head coach Doug Marrone and center Eric Wood were each there among others from the 2014 version of the franchise. The current controlling owner of the Bills, Mary Wilson, showed up with her support and took part in the festivities as well.

They even gave a personal touch to the event, with a chair and a haircutter station right outside the clubhouse. Jim Kelly recently shaved off all his hair after much of it fell out following his treatments for cancer, so many sat down and showed their support by getting their hair shaved off as well.

For each person that went through with it, a donation was made to Camp Good Days. Kelly’s brother Dan was the first of likely many to do so.

Despite the hardship that Kelly is going through, he made sure that this event went on without any questions asked.

“From day one when Jim was diagnosed, one of the first things he said was ‘make sure we have the golf tournament and make sure we have the football camp no matter what happens,’” Dan Kelly told reporters. “We're committed to that for Jim, and with Jim.”

Click below for specific interviews from the Jim Kelly Classic:

Dan Kelly
Andre Reed
Thurman Thomas
Bill Polian
Steve Tasker
Phil Hansen
Dan Marino


**Photo courtesy of WGR's Joe Buscaglia

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