Position Battles Expected In Training Camp
Pick Comes To Terms: KFFL is reporting that the Bills have reached a contract agreement with 7th round draft pick Derek Schouman. The deal is reportedly a four year deal with a $55,000 signing bonus and a $285,000 base salary for the coming season. The Bills haven't confirmed the signing but he would be come the third of seven picks to sign with camp opening on Thursday.
Smith Back? Reports say the Bills have claimed WR Jonathan Smith off of waivers from the Patriots. New England released the former Bill last week. He was a 7th round draft pick by the Bills in 2004 and is a solid punt returner. The team has not confirmed the report as this time.
RB Battle Big: The battle to see who will be the starting running back will be a fun one to watch and is pivotal to the team's offensive success this year. Anthony Thomas is penciled at the top of the depth chart at this time but that can change over the next month. He is most likely keeping the seat warm for 1st round pick Marshawn Lynch who will likely either win the job in camp or see his reps increase as the season goes on. The wildcard in this mix is fourth round pick Dwayne Wright. He is likely to take some touches away from Lynch and Thomas, especially on the goal line. No matter who wins the job the question may be about how much of a committee approach the team uses. They definitely will spread the ball around more then in the past but how much is still to be decided. They probably would like to see Lynch take over the roll and get the majority of the reps in the second half of the season. Who do you think will be the starting running back? Take our poll on our homepage and let us know!
Friday July 20, 2007
MLB Battle: Another open position entering training camp is middle linebacker. Ralph Wilson said after the draft that he expects Paul Posluszny to start from day one. Nobody told second year man John DiGiorgio that. He has taken most of the first team snaps in the OTAs and minicamps and performed very well and leads the battle at this point. The middle linebacker position is even more important in the cover two defense because they make all the calls. DiGiorgio has the edge there since he knows the defense and made the calls very well all off season. Posluszny struggled a bit with the calls but that is to be expected by a rookie. Expect DiGiorgio to start camp as the starter but Posluszny to win the starting job at either the end of camp or take it over early in the season. Who do you think will be the starting right corner? Take our poll on our homepage and let us know!
Thursday July 19, 2007
All Home Game Expected To Sellout: The great advance ticket sales lead the Bills to be very optimistic that all eight home games will sellout this year. Season ticket holders were able to buy tickets before they went on sale to the general public. Group sales also were strong before individual tickets went on sale last Saturday. The team then had 15,000 tickets sold on just that one day alone. The result as we have been reporting is that five games are virtually soldout or down to single seats. You can still get tickets to those games by buying season tickets. The Bills hope this will push more fans to buy season tickets and put the final numbers for season tickets to the highest total since 1995 and get closer to the goal of 50,000 season ticket holders. The trickle down effect also will help the team sellout the remaining three games as people will look to go to those games since they can't get tickets for the marquee matchups. The Cincinnati game has only 2,500 tickets left and the two december home games against Miami and the Giants have around 10,000 tickets left.
Right CB Spot: As we continue our look at the big training camp battles we look at the right cornerback spot. This is the position that was manned for six years by Nate Clements and it is a gaping hole in the Bills defense at this point. The team caught a break when the Falcons released Jason Webster after drafting his replacement in April. Webster is a veteran who has started over 60 games in his career but has succumbed to injuries the past few season in Atlanta after a glorious start to his career in San Francisco. He showed up for the OTAs and minicamps and immediately made his presence shown. He is clearly the front runner to be the opening day starter. His main competition is second year pro Ashton Youboty and veteran Kiwaukee Thomas. Youboty has more talent but has a lack of experience after getting little playing time as a rookie last year. He eventually figures into the plans to start at the position but not right away. Thomas is a natural in the slot in the nickel and dime defenses but was slowed by injuries in the offseason workouts to hamper is shot at starting. Who do you think will be the starting right corner? Take our poll on our homepage and let us know!
Wednesday July 18, 2007
Right Guard Spot: We begin our look at the big training camp battles with a look at the right guard spot. Duke Preston is the incumbent and the leading candidate to win that spot but he does have competition. Free agent signee Jason Whittle has a lot of experience in the league and played for OL coach Jim McNally with the Giants. Brad Butler was a fifth round pick in the 2006 draft and played tackle last year but barely saw the field because he was still recovering from shoulder surgery. The current regime picked him and are high on him. They moved him to guard this year where they think he could flourish. Our bet is Preston will hold off his competitors and win the job since he has more experience then Butler and Whittle was signed more for insurance purposes. Who do you think will be the starting right guard? Take our poll on our homepage and let us know!
Tuesday July 17, 2007
5 Games Considered Sellouts: The Bills said that five of their eight home games are now considered soldout this season. The team originally considered the games against Dallas, The Jets, and Denver as sellouts. They now say the Ravens game is soldout and the Patriots game is down to single tickets. Tickets for all eight games are available by buying season tickets. Individual game tickets remain for the November 4th contest with Cincinnati, the December 9th game against Miami, and the December 23rd meeting with the Giants.
Camp Battles: With training camp just over a week away we will be highlighting several battles that we will be watching at St. Johns Fisher College over the next month. The starting position battles are for the right cornerback spot, middle linebacker, running back, H-Back, and right guard. All other starting positions are pretty much set barring injuries or someone just catching fire over the summer. There are many backup jobs to look out for to including the backup RB spot, TE spot, nickel and dime corners and backup safeties. So it will be an interesting month of training camp and we will keep you updated as always here at Bills Daily. Which battle do you think will be the best to watch? Take our poll on our homepage and let us know!
Monday July 16, 2007
Camp Begins Next Week: The start of training camp is just around the corner now as the team will hit the practice field for the first time in 10 days. They still have some business to take care of off the field as five of the seven draft picks remained unsigned. Look for them to start wrapping up the contracts with the second day drafted players this week and then the top two picks will likely come down to the wire next week.
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