As the shoulder pads went on and the Buffalo Bills took to the field, it was the first time to really see some live contact at St. John Fisher College.
And with that first day of pad popping, I focused in on the 1-on-1 drills between the offensive and defensive linemen. There were a couple that stood out, while a few left a ton to be desired. Let's take a look at notes from the third day of practice.
- Day 3 MVPs: Since I focused on the battles at the line of scrimmage, it's fitting to give out one on each side of the ball. For that, I give you Mario Williams and Andy Levitre. I know -- big shocker, right? Williams went up against Sam Young, who was with the first group because of Erik Pears aggravating his groin injury. Williams pretty much ate him for lunch all practice long. It wasn't really a fair fight, but the natural power and movement from Williams was on full display Saturday. I liked the day of Levitre in his 1-on-1 battle against Kyle Williams especially. Levitre displayed good leverage, sustained Williams' bull rush attempts and anchored down to hold him at bay. It was technical blocking at its finest.
- Day 3 LVP: Zebrie Sanders. I think Sanders has jumped early for a false start more times throughout off-season workouts and the first few days at training camp then he's gotten it right. Two straight false starts in the 1-on-1 drill clearly had him thinking about that, and then on the third attempt defensive end Kyle Moore ripped Sanders down to the ground and had an easy shot at the quarterback. Bad day for the rookie.
- I focused in on Aaron Williams on Friday so I wanted to follow up. His day on Saturday was a bit of a roller coaster. Early on he was getting beat like he had been during the first two days of training camp. Then his next rep on a 1-on-1 was against Stevie Johnson. Williams didn't bite on any of Johnson's fakes and played the route perfectly, high-pointing the ball to knock it to the ground. The talent is there, the consistency is not just yet.
- Left tackle Cordy Glenn had a very strong day as the second-team left tackle. He was matched up against Chris Kelsay for the third straight day, and got the better of one of the longest-tenured Bills on the roster throughout the day. He's got such natural talent to go alone with his size. His quicker-than-you-think feet keeps him in the right position and he can engulf the defender. He really looked the part Saturday.
- I'm not sure that Tyler Thigpen or Vince Young are trying to win the backup job. It's been an atrocious start for those two as they battle it out to be Ryan Fitzpatrick's emergency plan if he gets injured. Thigpen highlighted his day of inaccuracy with two straight interceptions thrown directly in to the arms of defenders. Rookie Ron Brooks and safety Nick Sukay were the recipients of a pair of gifts. We'll see if the night practice on Sunday can spark Vince Young in to a solid day.
- I love the way that Derek Hagan gets in and out of his breaks. The veteran wide receiver has been trying to hook on with a team and may have found a home in Buffalo. He runs hard to the spot, is in control of his body and able to break off his breakdown quite smoothly. He bobbled a couple of passes today, and immediately hit the jug machine after practice for a solid 15 minutes. He's not taking this opportunity lightly.
- I mentioned him earlier, but keep an eye out for Kyle Moore. He displays some nice moves to get to the passer in 1-on-1 drills. At 6-foot-6 and 263-pounds, Moore has the prototypical size Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey are always looking for at the defensive end position. With Merriman being such a big question mark, I would not put it past the Bills to keep Moore on the 53-man roster as a fifth defensive end.
- David Nelson had to leave practice early after injuring what appeared to be his right knee during a collision. He attempted to walk it off, but had to go back to the trainer's room to get it checked out. After practice, Chan Gailey said they didn't believe it had ligament damage, and it may be "like a bruise." I would assume Nelson sits out of practice on Sunday night.
- Shawne Merriman and Erik Pears both missed practice on Saturday. Merriman rolled an ankle on Friday, but wasn't completely hobbled by it according to Gailey. The head coach didn't sound overly concerned about the injury. Pears had minor surgery this off-season on his groin, and aggravated it on Friday. He sat out Saturday as a precaution.
- Defensive tackle Kellen Heard left the field mid-practice. He's been dealing with an ankle injury for some time now.
Practice resumes Sunday for the first night practice at St. John Fisher College. It's slated to start at 6:30 pm. It is open to the public, but you need a ticket to enter the facilities.