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Mini Camp Concludes Successfully
The club continued to install the offense in week two of mini-camp and gave some of the backups more reps. On Monday the Bills returned to the practice field but were missing many players including Keion Carpenter, Jamie Nails, Joe Panos and Ted Washington, all were excused by Wade Phillips. This gave the backups a chance to play. Washington missed the whole week because of charity obligations. The rest of the missing were back on Tuesday. John Fina, Steve Christie and Chris Mohr also missed the second week of camp. Our Take: Getting the backups some work at mini-camp can only help down the line.
On the field, Travares Tillman practiced better in week two and showed he is starting to grasp the defense. He was inconsistent as expected, having a solid practice Monday morning but dropping an interception chance in the afternoon. He is still way behind Carpenter and Daryl Porter, who has the edge for the spot. In other DB news, David Byrd went out with the hamstring injury that hampered him in the April camp. This helped open the door for two other rookie free agents, Reggie Durden and Jay Hill to help themselves. Our Take: Mini-camp went along way in shaping the defensive back battles, but there is a long way to go before they kick it off for real.
On the offensive side of the ball, Kwame Cavil continues to impress as he stood out again this week. He was stellar on all days but Wednesday when he dropped two balls and heard it from Charlie Joiner. Not to be outdone, Jeremy McDaniel also practiced well. TE John Jennings was inconsistent this week having up and down days, Bobby Collins proved this week that he will be a big downfield threat for the club. Sheldon Jackson may like the fullback position as he rumbled 60 yards in a non-contact drill during Monday afternoon's workout. The starting tight end, Jay Riemersma, practiced sparingly again this week but shined on the Tuesday morning workout along with starting WR Peerless Price. At the quarterback position Rob Johnson had the edge over Doug Flutie all week, highlighted by the two minute drill practice on Tuesday. Our Take: The player that were impressive need to keep up the intensity during training camp.
The Bills tried to take advantage of having a kicker in camp by practicing kickoffs, coverage, and returns. Dan Giancola didn't help himself win a job, as none of his kickoffs reached the end zone. Giancola is used to using a 3" tee in Canada and not the 1" tee in the NFL. The Bills are trying to get him to deepen his drop and approach of the ball. Our Take: Giancola thought he would help himself by showing up when Steve Christie didn't. Unfortunately for him, he didn't.
The club actually picked up a player this week. WR Scott Pingel was signed and quickly given the number Corey Jones was assigned to. Jones has decided not to play football and the Bills are negotiating his release. Pingel broke seven division III records including several held by Jerry Rice. Pingel didn't get a chance to show what he could do since he missed some practice time with a sore hamstring. Our Take: Pingel has along way to go to catch up to the other free agents.
It appears the club will let Antoine Winfield's natural talent grow this year, as they practiced some corner blitzes with some success on Monday. John Holecek and Coach Phillips showed confidence in the young linebackers. Holecek said he is confident and excited. Phillips said he will be able to fill the holes left by the departed backers with Sam Cowart playing as the dime linebacker and Keith Newman filling Gabe Northern's shoes. Our Take: Blitzing Winfield is intriguing and the confidence in the young backers needs to be translated on to the field.
As the team broke camp, Phillips had more t say to the media. He felt they were able to implement everything they attended to, and he says he sees no drop-off in talent between last year and this year with an increase in team speed. Along with being pleased with the linebackers, the coach feels the club has more depth at other question mark positions, wide receiver and cornerback. Our Take: Take the coach's optimism with a grain of salt.
Sam Rogers revealed this week, that his torn labrum in his right shoulder from last season is still bothering him. He hopes to be at full strength by training camp. Our Take: The pain that Rogers was suffering in mini camp is some cause for concern, this need to be watched in training camp.
It was a quiet week for ex-Bills, the only news came from Andre Reed. On the topic of him going to Denver, he felt there was no way a player of his status should have to audition for a job. Our Take: If Reed doesn't check his ego, he may be without a job this year.
As the week came to end there were two television notes. There is speculation that Jim Kelly will end his 13 year run on WGRZ-TV. Along with his departure from ESPN leaves Kelly out of the television field. Coach Phillips made a cameo on the HBO series Arli$$ on Sunday. Our Take: Kelly's TV departure is of his own doing, he needs the time to take care of his family. Phillips shouldn't quit his day job.
In-depth Mini-Camp Analysis - Positional look at who helped themselves and who didn't.
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