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Bills Hold First Mini-camp

Willis McGahee The Bills held their first mini-camp this past weekend and 73 players were in attendance. It was called a voluntary organzined camp for rookies, first year Bills, and young veterans. It also marked the arrival of Willis McGahee in Buffalo. He spoke about what it meant to become a Bill. Travis Henry also addressed the media this week, and did an about face on his thoughts of the McGahee drafting. Here is our take on all the issues from the week:

Despite the fact that this weekend's mini-camp was for new Bills, rookies, and players with three years or less experience many other veterans made up the 73 players in attendance. Those that weren't there included, Drew Bledsoe, Ruben Brown, Eric Moulds, Dave Moore, Pat Williams, Travis Henry, Tony Driver, Antoine Winfield, London Fletcher, Trey Teague, Marcus Price and the three players over in NFL Europe. Some of the younger players not in camp were excused by the coaching staff. Rookie Ken Hilliard showed up on Saturday. Coach Williams said that the coaches did not need to see the veterans since they know what they can do. Williams called the camp a success saying that got a lot of things accomplished. The theme of the weekend was enthusiasm as everyone had it. Takeo Spikes said he hasn't been this excited since his second season in the league. Sam Gash said the energy and enthusiasm reminded him of the Ravens just before their Super Bowl run. Our Take: It's nice to see the great attendance and all the enthusiasm but it is a long way to go before the bullets fly for real. The key to this camp, and it seemed to be successful, was the building of team chemistry.

On the field at mini camp, Chris Kelsay showed signs of why the Bills picked him. He was taken to school however by last year's top pick, Mike Williams who handled him easily. Willis McGahee spent the camp on the sidelines with the exception of catching some passes from the JUGS machine and taking a few walking handoffs. Our Take: Kelsay has to learn how to handle big, mammoth lineman like Williams. McGahee was itching to get on the field and may grow impatient on the sidelines but the Bills have his best interests at heart.

Speaking of McGahee, RB Olandis Gary said he will be the steal of the draft and competition at the position will help the team. McGahee was introduced to the media upon his arrival on Thursday. He said he feels real good to be a Bill and is happy to be part of the organization. He feels he will return better than he ever was and he has the mentality to make his comeback happen. Our Take: Gary's attitude was refreshing and we believe McGahee will make it back, but there is no rush to get him on the field this season.

Travis Henry also addressed the media regarding the Bills top pick. He said he was shocked by the pick, that is why he called it a slap in the face. After talking to the coaches he said he feels a whole lot better about the situation and he is the starter. He also said he still would have signed the one year contract extension even if he knew the Bills were going to draft McGahee. He feels the pick was for the best available player in he will help make the team better. Henry did not meet McGahee since he missed the mini-camp to conduct his own football camp. Our Take: The coaches got to him and he is now towing the company line, I'm sure he is still very upset about the pick.

The Bills made some roster moves this week. They released OL Ronald Boldin and CB Chris Watson while signing OL T.J.Watkins. Watson was picked up by Detroit where he hopes to challenge for a starting job. Bolding was a free agent acquisition in January from Florida State. Watkins was in the Seahawks camp last summer. Our Take: Hopefully a change of scenery will do Watson good. Boldin did not fit in the Bills plans because of the talent on the line and Watkins probably won't either.

Those moves were in addition to the The 9 undrafted free agents the team signed hours after the draft ended. The newest Bills are QB Jason Johnson, Offensive tackles Gary Byrd and Justin Sands, Long snapper Jon Dorenbas, Safety Jerton Evans, CB Ken Hilliard, wide receivers Paris Jackson and Jerel Myers, and TE Raymond Thomas. Our Take: The Bills took players that filled holes not addressed in the draft as they did not pick a QB, safety, or any offensive tackles. Johnson was a two year starter in Arizona and has a quick release and good arm strength. Thomas is the pass receiving TE thay did not get in the draft. Meyers was a four year starter at split end. Most of these players are just camp fodder but you never know who will be a diamond in the ruff.

Ken Simonton continues to impress in Europe as he had 174 all purpose yards in Scotland's 34-17 victory over Berlin. Jason Wiutczak had a 50 yard field goal and LB Merceda Perry had an interception. Our Take: Don't expect any of these players to make the team but the practice squad is a possibility.

In other news, the Bills rookie cap figure is set at $3,356,039. That is the amount of money they can spend on signing the rookies, it is part of the overall salary cap. The team also scheduled their next mini-camp. The players will workout four days a week for the three weeks starting May 27th. This is a different schedule than in years past. Coach Williams said the three weeks will give the team some added continuity and give the coaches a good evaluation Our Take: We like then new mini-camp schedule it allow more time to build team chemistry.

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