In the sweltering heat at St. John Fisher College, the Buffalo Bills wore on with another day of work at training camp
After Tyler Thigpen had stepped up his game and had his best practice of camp so far, did Vince Young do the same on Friday?
Let's take a look at some notes from the practice session:
- Practice MVP: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don't think I've talked about him a bunch in the wrap-ups, just because there's no competition for his job and he's been doing relatively well throughout training camp. On Friday however, it seemed like he was hitting more tough throws than usual. Clutch back shoulder throws to his receivers, fitting the ball in to the tightest of spots to Scott Chandler and having a command of the offense while putting the players in the spots they should be on a given play… all of these added up to one of Fitzpatrick's better performances.
- Practice LVP: WR Marcus Easley. The wide receivers for the Buffalo Bills had a major case of the drops, to which Chan Gailey confirmed after practice. Gailey called it unacceptable. While Easley isn't the only offender, he earned LVP honors for getting chewed out by the head coach during team drills. The first-team offense was in a red zone situation, and Easley had worked his man to think he was going inside, and would have had a touchdown right at the goal line had he ran the proper route. Easley didn't run the right route. Fitzpatrick saw the play developing, anticipated where Easley would be and placed it perfectly to where the wideout could have caught it for six. Instead of breaking out, he stayed on his path and heard an earful from Gailey as he walked back to the huddle.
- Marcell Dareus might be unblockable in 1-on-1 drills against the offensive linemen. He ate Kraig Urbik for lunch during the exercise, easily snapping past the guard/center to get to the quarterback. If he gets as many one-on-one's in the game as I think he may because of the presence of Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Mark Anderson, Dareus could be in line for not just a big year. He could have a huge season.
- During the day of one of his second-team rep practices, Vince Young had his strongest outing yet. He was hitting receivers in stride and making the right reads at a higher rate than he has been. While I wouldn't consider it to be a spectacular practice, Young is certainly moving in the right direction, much like Thigpen did on Thursday.
- I had a premonition ahead of practice to ask Gailey if they might think about using either Cordy Glenn or Chris Hairston at right tackle with Erik Pears continuing to miss team drills. My line of thinking was that Sam Young wasn't exactly who they wanted to be getting all this time with the first team, understanding that he's on the bubble to make the 53-man squad. As it turns out, Gailey beat me to the punch of my question. Hairston started taking reps at right tackle just in case Pears is out for a longer period of time. He looked good while doing it against defensive end Kyle Moore, who has had a strong camp in his own right.
- Backup safety Nick Saenz stood out a bit to me on Friday. He put himself in good positions to make plays for the second team defense against the Vince Young-led squad. He broke up one play and could have had an interception had he played the ball rather than played the man's hands. If the Bills don't sign a veteran safety before the season begins, Saenz is the favorite to make the 53-man roster if they elect to keep four safeties. He's an undrafted free agent out of Houston.
- Heading in to camp, I thought Dorin Dickerson had a real shot to make the team. I no longer feel the same way. As camp has continued, Dickerson has been looking slower, lost and is dropping passes that are hitting him in the hands. When you're trying to unseat a veteran player like Corey McIntyre for a roster spot, you have to earn it. Dickerson hasn't. There is still time, but he's been unimpressive in Pittsford.
- Stevie Johnson missed some team reps due to tightness in his groin. Not the side he had surgery on, but the other one. Kelvin Sheppard returned to team drills in full on Friday. Eric Wood had the most team reps that he's had throughout training camp. Chan Gailey thinks Wood is progressing quite well.
- Justin Rogers, Bryan Scott, Josh Nesbitt, Mike Caussin, David Nelson and Chris Kelsay all did not participate in any capacity. Meanwhile Mark Anderson and Erik Pears went through individual drills, but did not take part in team drills.
- Terrence McGee is coming along slowly… very slowly. Gailey said there haven't been any breakthroughs, only small gains.
- Kamar Aiken returned to practice after missing the last few.
The Bills get back in to action on Saturday at St. John Fisher College. Practice starts at 3 pm and is open to the general public.