On the second straight day in which the Buffalo Bills faced the hottest conditions the weather has had to offer during training camp, the team went live in hitting during a goal line drill to end practice.
With players clamoring for the hitting to begin at training camp, head coach Chan Gailey finally gave them their wish. Eight plays, with the defense getting the better of the offense five times to three.
Who shined in that drill and through the rest of practice? Let's break down Saturday's activities:
- Practice MVP: CB Aaron Williams. Maybe it's because both Stevie Johnson and David Nelson weren't practicing on Saturday, but I thought Williams had his best practice of training camp. He slipped on a couple of occasions, but for the most part he was stuck to the receivers' hip pockets like glue and made some impressive plays on the ball when it was approaching its target. He's had a rough camp to this point, and you have to wonder if Saturday was the kind of breakthrough he needed to get himself back on track for the start of the season.
- Practice LVP: G/C Kraig Urbik. Urbik has been pretty solid for most of training camp, but when the Bills got to the goal line drill at the end of practice, Urbik was no match for one man in particular. Kyle Williams was a man on a mission during the live hitting exercise. He blew through Urbik on a run play, and struggled to deal with him on the other three reps. Williams is very talented, but Urbik has some pop to his run blocking as well. Just a bad four plays for him.
- Speaking of Kyle Williams, it was refreshing to see the switch go on for him. It was the first time the defensive line went really 100-percent it seemed, and Williams was back to his old ways. His quickness off the snap to fire through the neutral zone as it was being hiked in to the quarterbacks' hands is something that really sets him apart. At least for one day, Kyle Williams looked like he was back in a big way.
- It was a bit of a tough day for Da'Norris Searcy in the coverage aspect of his game. In a red zone situation of team drills, twice within three plays he seemed just a step behind of where he needed to be and allowed a pass to get to his man for a big gain. He's done a ton of good so far through camp, but left some to be desired on Saturday. He atoned a bit for it by picking up a Tashard Choice fumble and running it back for a touchdown as he was chased down by Ryan Fitzpatrick.
- A two steps forward, two steps back type of afternoon for Bills first round pick and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. At the beginning of practice, Gilmore did a solid job at covering most of his assignments during 1-on-1's. During 7-on-7's, he even picked off a pass after his receiver fell down and ran it back for a score. After that though, Gilmore had a couple of rough patches. Derek Hagan set him up beautifully and beat him clean on a back shoulder throw in the front corner of the end zone for a score. Hagan got in his face a little bit and talked some trash, to which Gilmore just walked away. Then on a team drill with the offense's back to the end zone, Gilmore dropped back to the deep right third on a Cover-3, and just got lost on a play that had Arthur Moats mismatched against C.J. Spiller in coverage. It should have been his job to come up and help. Instead he was lost in space.
- The Bills aren't going to say it, but it sure does seem like they're doing everything in their power to help Cordy Glenn win the job at left tackle. With Erik Pears down, it's given the Bills a bit of an excuse to give Glenn the lion's share of reps at the position for the past few days while his combatant, Chris Hairston, gets some reps over at right tackle. Chan Gailey said they haven't even considered giving Glenn some reps at left tackle. Getting him every rep at left tackle possible sure seems like they may have a favorite as to who they'd like to see win that job. It's just his job to go out and earn it now.
- He's probably an afterthought to most Bills fans anyway, but wide receiver Derek Session just can't seem to hang on to the ball. Drops have plagued him all camp long. He's shows some positive signs every once and again, but for the most part it's been the ball hitting the turf in front of him that's been the tale of the tape. A major, major long-shot to make this team.
- Stevie Johnson sat out of practice Saturday for precautionary reasons. With an off day on Sunday, Gailey said they didn't want to chance anything and just have him back for Monday. The same story goes for Fred Jackson, who dressed for practice but took zero reps in 7-on-7's and in team drills -- he'll likely be back Monday as well.
- Erik Pears continued to not take any reps in team drills. The Bills used both Sam Young and Chris Hairston with the first unit at right tackle in his absence. Defensive end Mark Anderson got back to taking team reps after missing a pair of days. He's been battling through a minor injury.
- Not practicing on Saturday in addition to Johnson were Justin Rogers, Josh Nesbitt, Mike Caussin, David Nelson, Chris Kelsay and Torell Troup. Troup didn't even come out for practice, spending the day with the trainers inside. That sounds like a significant step back for the 2010 second round pick.
- Bryan Scott and Kellen Heard both returned to practice on Saturday.
The Bills have Sunday off, and resume practice at St. John Fisher College on Monday afternoon at 3 pm. The practice is open to the general public.