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Mini Camp Wraps

Drew Bledsoe The Bills concluded their last week of organized team activities and the players are now off until the beginning of training camp on July 24th. The team came away from the camp with a lot of enthusiasm, a great attitude, and goals for the playoffs and beyond. The front office was busy signing two of the eight draft picks. They also lost a player that decided not to sign with the team after agreeing on a deal. Here is our take on all the issues from the week:

Mini Camp concluded and the team is very optimistic about the coming season. Drew Bledsoe said the team chemistry is gelling very well and feels nothing less than a good, solid playoff berth is acceptable. He feels the team can beat anybody in the league and doesn't feel there will be a drop off at TE despite the loss of Jay Riemersma. He also feels the speed of James Jett will be an asset. Our Take: The attitude and enthusiasm are great, but it is still mini camp, there is a long way to go before the bullets fly for real. I do agree with Bledsoe that TE will not be much of a drop off since Riemersma was under used last year.

Other news to come out of Mini Camp, the final practice was suppose to be open to the public so they can see the new turf on the stadium field but inclement weather forced the Bills to cancel the event. Willis McGahee continued to learn from the sidelines while catching passes from the JUGS machine. He wants to do more but is patient. He acknowledged he won't be ready for the start of training camp and that will likely land him on the PUP list. Our Take: McGahee on the PUP list at the start of camp is not a surprise. It's too bad the weather didn't cooperate one time for the open practice.

The team was busy signing 25% of their draft picks this week. Two of the eight draft picks are now under contract. Their second of two fourth rounders, Sam Aiken and sixth rounder Lauvele Sape are now under contract. Terms were not disclosed but the Bills are looking at giving low round picks four year deals instead of three year deals to stave off them getting scooped up in restricted free agency after year three. Our Take: It's good to get these players in the fold earlier rather than later when they will be buys signing the top picks. Especially, with complicated negotiations ahead on McGahee, although his agent said it will get done by the start of camp. Four year deals aren't a bad idea if they are high on the later round picks.

One player that was headed to Buffalo is not coming after all. Last week, the team agreed to terms with free agent safety Chad Cota but this week Cota decided not to sign the contract and is contemplating retirement. Our Take: Better the team found out now, instead of in July, so they can look elsewhere for safety help.

The NFL Europe season came to an end this week, and Bills allocated RB Ken Simonton was named the league's offensive MVP. He won the rushing title thanks to 151 yards in the season finale. He also led the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,074, 720 of them on the ground. Our Take: The team has no choice but to at least give him a viable look in training camp. Hopefully he isn't too exhausted from the Europe season to perform in training camp.

In other team news, reports say the Bills are talking about a contract extension for punter Brian Moorman. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Bills would like to wrap up a new deal before training camp. Tom Donahoe also said this week that the team would not re-sign unrestricted free agent Bill Conaty. Former Steelers RB Barry Foster will join the Bills coaches this summer as part of the NFL Minority Fellowship Program. Our Take: Get the Moorman deal done now. The team has cap space and that would be one less important unrestricted free agent next offseason. I would bring Conaty back, he would provide experienced depth at center. The Minority Fellowship Program has give many good coaches a good start.

Get your tickets early. Individual game tickets go on sale on July 12th but don't expect to find many or any tickets for the opener against New England, the Philly game on Sept. 28th, and the Washington game on Oct. 19th. Those tickets have been gobbled up by the season ticket holders and group sales. Our Take: With 41,000 season ticket holder, tickets will be a bit scarcer this year.

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