Pittsford, NY (WGR 550) -- Two practices down, and only one to go before the Buffalo Bills enter their second preseason game on Friday night against Minnesota. On Tuesday, the Bills once again returned to a padded practice.
It was also the second straight day the oldest quarterback on the roster was back to practicing in full with the team. He, along with many others on the field at St. John Fisher College left lasting impressions based on their performances Tuesday.
EJ splitting reps once again
- With his main competition to start back in full at practice Tuesday, Manuel has shifted back into the role of splitting first-team reps. By no means should it be thought of as a step back for the rookie quarterback, but a move that the Bills must make in order to give both players an equal shot at winning the job. On Tuesday, Manuel found some early chemistry with Marquise Goodwin for a pair of receptions, but then forced a touch pass down the left sideline to a well-covered Robert Woods that was intercepted. During 11-on-11s, Manuel started by completing just 2-of-6 passes for 27 yards and an interception. He finished the day strong completing five of his next six attempts, with the lone incompletion being a borderline call by the referees along the sideline. His final stat total on the day (unofficially) was 7-of-12 for 98 yards and the interception, but his best pass was a 32-yard strike to wideout Chris Hogan along the right sideline.
Goodwin, Good luck
- It seems like a daily occurrence at Bills camp now, but Marquis Goodwin got loose for another long completion in Tuesday's practice. This time, the Bills attempted to disguise their coverage by putting safety Aaron Williams over Goodwin. The defensive player ran back with him for about 8 yards and then released him to the back defender on the play, which this time was Crezdon Butler. The cornerback was a quarter of a second late in reacting to Goodwin being sent on a fly route, and that's all the Olympic athlete needed. Goodwin burned down the middle of the field and brought in a perfectly thrown ball from Kevin Kolb for a touchdown. He also contributed a pair of intermediate receptions early on in practice. The rookie wideout is getting more and more time on the field with injuries to Stevie Johnson and T.J. Graham, and he's flourishing.
Punting competition no more
- It took only one preseason game and 12 practices for the Bills to make their decision on one of the many battles in camp. The team announced that they released punter Brian Stahovich, effectively making Shawn Powell the winner of the competition. When punting normally on Tuesday, the second-year player had some booming punts and a couple of shorter ones that he'd like to have back. However, when he was asked to perform the Aussie-kick on shorter distances, Powell really shined. On all six attempts, Powell landed the ball between the 4 and 10 yard line, with an average hang time (unofficially) of 4.22 seconds. That gives his gunners ample time to get down the field and potentially pin the opposition deep in their own territory.
Gilmore flashes once again
- The lone interception of the morning was from the arm of the rookie Manuel, but it was also a spectacular play on the part of second-year cornerback Stephon Gilmore that led to the turnover. Gilmore had Robert Woods covered up along the left sideline perfectly while facing the ball. Just like in past practices, Gilmore high pointed the ball and came down with the interception. Later on in the practice the Bills tried a deep ball to Da'Rick Rogers, but Gilmore was in perfect position once again had the ball actually been catchable. He hasn't made many mistakes in camp this year.
Hogan's time to shine
- Just like Marquise Goodwin, wide receiver Chris Hogan has a big opportunity to run with the first-team because of injuries. Hogan got a lot of time on the field, even getting a couple of wide receiver reverse run plays called for him. He proved to be a consistent target for the quarterbacks attempting to get him the ball, and was robbed of a pretty completion down the left sideline that was called out of bounds by the official of the play. From one vantage point, it appeared as though Hogan had both feet in when he made the catch from the arm of EJ Manuel. Even still, Hogan corralled four receptions in 11-on-11s throughout the day including a 32-yard catch from Manuel.
No Kiko during team drills
- For the first time in this training camp, the first-team defense during team drills did not have rookie inside linebacker Kiko Alonso on the field. Instead, Arthur Moats stood alongside Nigel Bradham with the top unit while Alonso stood on the sidelines with his helmet off. When asked about it after practice, Head Coach Doug Marrone said there is some general soreness with some of his players so they're giving some players some rest time. He then confirmed that Alonso fit into that category, so it appears as though there is little to worry about for the linebacker's absence in 11-on-11s.
Undrafted linebacker making up for lost time
- An injury derailed the training camp of strongside linebacker and undrafted free agent Keith Pough early on, but the quick-twitch defender is attempting to come back with a vengeance. In his second day back from injury, Pough flashed a few different times blowing up one run play in the backfield to C.J. Spiller and looking comfortable in coverage as well. It will likely be a struggle for Pough to make the active roster, but more solid play will put him right in contention for a spot on the practice squad this year.
Third-string wideout making waves of late
- With all the focus on Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley and Da'Rick Rogers, it's easy to overlook some of the other wide receivers on the roster. That's what has happened with DeMarco Sampson, who has had two straight practices where he's made some tough catches. Although he had one drop on Tuesday, Sampson has shown good hands and had a pair of receptions during team drills Tuesday. His odds of making the roster are not good at all, but he's putting some good tape together for other teams.
Day 13 MVP: QB Kevin Kolb
- Despite only attempting a pass eight times during 11-on-11s, veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb had his best performance of training camp and not a moment too late. Sensing that the quarterback competition was nearing a conclusion had he not been available to play against Minnesota on Friday, Kolb has been pushing to get back on the field and he took advantage of it in the morning session. He completed two deep passes, one to Goodwin and the other to Da'Rick Rogers, for a pair of touchdowns during team drills. On the day, Kolb completed 5-of-8 for 162 yards and the two scoring plays. It was just a simple reminder that he wasn't dead in the quarterback competition just yet.
Day 13 LVP: C David Snow
- The least valuable player honors goes to backup center David Snow not only for his poor play on Tuesday, but for it being a continuation of a major problem stemming from Sunday's game in Indianapolis. Late in the practice, Snow was a part of a combination block attempt that allowed Mario Williams and Arthur Moats to get into the backfield with ease for the sack. Even worse though, Snow botched yet another shotgun snap attempt. This time around Jerry Hughes fell on it for the turnover. Snow had two separate times in the Colts game where his poor snaps were an issue. He's a legitimate practice squad candidate, but he needs to iron that part out of his game and quickly.
The Bills get back on the practice field Wednesday night for their final session ahead of the Minnesota game. Practice begins at 6 pm, and fans need a ticket to enter the facilities.