Bills' Easley shines, DBs struggle in Day 2 of mini-camp
by Joe Buscaglia,posted Jun 20 2012 6:52PM
Basting under the stifling sun in Orchard Park, the Buffalo Bills took part in the second leg of mandatory mini-camp Wednesday.
As with any practice there were some standouts, and those that weren't necessarily enthralled with their performances.
I thought the star of the day was Bills' third-year receiver Marcus Easley. Whenever the ball was thrown his way he high-pointed it and put himself in position to come away with the ball, and did. His most impressive display came during the 11-on-11 portion of practice. With rookie cornerback Stephon Gilmore draped over him and dragging Easley, the wideout fought through and rose up for the catch in the end zone.
He also had another touchdown reception from Vince Young with Isaiah Green in coverage. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw him the first touchdown I mentioned.
Third-round pick and receiver T.J. Graham had a strong afternoon. He started off the day catching a slant route from the slot position for a touchdown. He doubled up his scoring efforts when running a simple hitch. Gilmore, in coverage, was late to react, allowing the speedy Graham to turn it upfield and get right by him.
You're probably noticing a trend here, which sums up how the day went in my opinion. The secondary, while making a nice play every now and again, struggled for the most part against the Bills' offense. Gilmore had his roughest practice that I've been allowed to see, second-year man Aaron Williams had a couple of miscues, Leodis McKelvin was beat in the slot for Graham's first touchdown, rookie Ron Brooks was burnt down the sideline on a fly route by Ruvell Martin. All in all, it was a day the secondary will likely want to improve upon.
To his credit, however, McKelvin picked off a Fitzpatrick pass that wasn't necessarily the quarterback's fault. The throw, maybe a tad low, bounced off the normally sure-handed David Nelson directly in to the bread basket of McKelvin for the interception.
Filling in for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, who did not take part in team drills on Wednesday, Arthur Moats looked rather comfortable during his time with the first unit. Moats wasn't always in there, with Nick Barnett assuming the role of the 'Mike.' During 7-on-7's with Moats though, he stayed with his assignment and made some plays to break up a couple of passes.
For a player that has been in between positions since he got in the NFL, he had to view Wednesday's session as a positive step towards trying to make the roster.
One player that struggled along the line of scrimmage was fifth-round selection Zebrie Sanders. The Florida State product was in at left tackle with the second-team, and preemptively began his kick-slide before the ball was even snapped a couple of times. He did the same thing on Tuesday. Buffalo's offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris visibly and audibly was not a happy camper with the second unit as a whole during 11-on-11's.
Starting left guard Andy Levitre sat out of the practice to rest his knee. Speaking with him after practice, he said there's a chance he'll be able to practice on Thursday but concluded that it was up to the trainers.
Without Levitre, the offensive line from left to right was as follows:
Cordy Glenn - Chad Rinehart - Colin Brown - Kraig Urbik - Chris Hairston
Joining Sheppard and Levitre as non-participants Wednesday were Terrence McGee, Eric Wood, Kellen Heard, Erik Pears, Mike Caussin, Torell Troup, Lionel Dotson and Dwan Edwards.
The Bills have one more day of mini-camp before they get their final one-month break in the off-season.