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Training Camp Underway

McKelvin Hits The Field: There was no formal practice open to the public today but there was a closed walk through and Leodis McKelvin got his first work in. According to Chris Brown of the official Bills website, McKelvin worked as the number two left cornerback moving Ashton Youboty to third string. McKelvin may also get some work in the slot according to the website. He got some extra classroom work with Perry Fewell to catch up on what he missed and was showed plays in the slot. He was not shown any slot plays during the offseason workouts.

Royal In A Battle: It appears that Robert Royal is in a battle to keep his starting tight end position. He split first team reps with last year's 7th round pick Derek Schouman. When asked if Royal was just easing back to action after offseason knee surgery, Dick Jauron said no. In some practices Schouman had more reps than Royal. For that reason we are making our first training camp depth chart change.

Evans, Edwards Chemistry Grows: Last year Lee Evans made it known that he favored J.P. Losman in the QB battle. Now that the job is all Edwards, Evans has worked with his QB and developed a lot of chemistry. Evans did now work out in the offseason because of his shoulder surgery. Edwards wanted to get into sync with the receiver before camp so he spent three days in South Florida working on his timing with Edwards, Roscoe Parrish, and Justin Jenkins. It appears to be showing dividends as the two have hooked up often over the first four practices of camp.

Williams Back: Kyle Williams made a quick return after the birth of his daughter this week. He arrived at St. John Fisher in time to be on the practice field yesterday morning. Williams said it would have been better to have the baby in March so he would have had more time with her.

McKelvin Signs: After missing the first 2 days of training camp, Bills top draft choice Leodis McKelvin has agreed on a contract with the Bills and will be ready to take to the practice field in time for the first workout in pads. Terms of the deal were not oficially released per Bills policy, but the deal is reported to be for 5 years and could have a maximum value of $19.4 million. Reports also indicate that $12.6 million of the contract is guaranteed. The contract falls in line with what other rookies drafted in similar positions in the draft received. McKelvin will be with the team as they go through a closed door walkthrough today.

Saturday July 26, 2008

Evans Deal Not Close: While Lee Evans is hopeful that a deal may get done this summer on a contract extension it is far from a done deal. League sources told the Buffalo News that there still is a long way to go in negotiations. The Bills are committed to re-signing Evans however and the receiver wants to stay in Buffalo if the money is right according to the paper. That means he would like command more than $7 Million a season that Bernard Berrian got from Minnesota this offseason. He could also get more than $16 Million in bonuses in a new deal.

Offense Rolls On Day One: The defense is normally way ahead of the offense early in training camp but that wasn't the case on day one of camp yesterday. According to reports from the team's official website, by all accounts the offense shined in the first two practices. Trent Edwards was very accurate in 7-on-7 drills in the morning and afternoon sessions. Lee Evans was a star catching everything in sight and declaring that he is in sync with Edwards. With Kyle Williams out yesterday because of the birth of his child, it gave other players reps with the first team. John McCargo took the first team reps in the morning and Spencer Johnson did in the afternoon. The team has two practices today and a closed session tomorrow. This is the last day of two-a-days in camp although there will be run throughs on many of the single practice days.

Friday July 25, 2008

Evans Hopeful For New Deal: Lee Evans told the media between today's two practice sessions. He said he's hopeful that a new deal with the Bills will be worked out this summer. Evans has two years left on his current deal but he can opt out after this year and becoming an unrestricted free agent. Evans said talks have heated up in the past month making him optimistic something can get done. He feels negotiations may heat up more during training camp. He would like to have things wrapped up before the season starts so it doesn't become a distraction. He said both sides are talking and both sides are positive which is a good sign.

Royal Still Limited: Robert Royal took all the first team reps at tight end this morning during 7-on-7 drills. According to the team's website he was very limited in 11-on-11 drills as they are easing the veteran back into the lineup. Derek Schouman got more reps in his place. Melvin Fowler was also relieved for times by Duke Preston as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Will James and Terrence McGee had the first two picks of camp this morning as Trent Edwards and J.P. Losman were both victimized. Injury Page.

Williams Misses Camp: Besides the absence of Jason Peters and Leodis McKelvin, Kyle Williams also missed the team's first practice. He was excused after his wife gave birth to their second child. Dick Jauron expects him either tonight or tomorrow. John McCargo took first team reps in his place. The team practiced on the turf field at Growney Stadium this morning because the grass fields were saturated from all the rain over the past couple of days. Dick Jauron decided to play it safe and guard against potential injuries.

Peters A Holdout: The Bills took the practice field this morning without Jason Peters who is officially holding out. The team's website reports that Kirk Chambers is lining up at left tackle with the starters as the fines start on Peters. Adam Schefter is reporting on the NFL network that Peters is prepared to holdout the entire season for a new deal.

Camp Gets Underway Today: The time has finally arrived as the Bills hold their first two practices of training camp today. The first one begins at 8:30 and there is an afternoon session at 2:15pm. At this point it appears practices will start without Jason Peters and Leodis McKelvin. Peters has not been seen at St. John Fisher yet and McKelvin still is not signed.

Thursday July 24, 2008

Hardy Signs: Then there was one. Just 12 hours before the team is to hit the practice field for the first time in training camp, James Hardy has signed a contract. That leaves just top pick Leodis McKelvin without a contract at this time. Russ Brandon said earlier today that he is hopeful to have a deal done with the top pick in time for camp but admitted he was closer to a deal with the 2nd round wide receiver. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the Bills were definitely shooting for a four year deal. In other contract news, Chris Ellis confirms his deal is a four year deal with the team.

Hardy Close: Russ Brandon spoke as players begin to report to training camp today. He said he hopes to have both Leodis McKelvin and James Hardy on the field tomorrow morning but indicated they are closer to a deal with Hardy then McKelvin. The parameters appear to be set for both players as draft picks around both of them have been signing over the past couple of days.

No Contact With Peters: Russ Brandon told reporters today that he has had virtually no contact with Jason Peters this offseason so they don't know what he wants. While indicating the team isn't opposed to talking a new contract with Peters it is hard to do with a player that isn't participating in what the club likes to do. Peters has until midnight tonight to report to camp or faces some pretty steep fines. The maximum daily fine is over $15,000. It's interesting to note that Peters has the same agent has James Hardy. Brandon said the two have been talking extensively about a deal for Hardy but haven't really discussed Peters that much.

Two More Picks Signed: The Bills now only have the top two picks unsigned. They reached an agreement on contracts today with 3rd round pick Chris Ellis and 6th round pick Xavier Omon. Terms of the deals were not disclosed but the Bills are trying to lock all lower round picks to four year deals. The Omon deal was reportedly close this morning. The team is still looking to lock up James Hardy and Leodis McKelvin in time for the first practice tomorrow morning.

Players Report Tonight: The players will begin to trickle in to St. John Fisher College later today as they hit the field for two-a-day practices tomorrow and Saturday. Four picks remain unsigned but the Buffalo News reports that 6th rounder Xavier Omon is close to a deal. The hold up on many contracts is that players want three year deals this year. The Bills have stuck to their guns and have reportedly signed six draft picks all to four year deals. It appears likely that camp will start with the top three picks unsigned. It is also unknown if Jason Peters will show up. He held out all offseason in a contract dispute. If he missing camp it will cost him a lot in fines so many feel he will show up. Stay tuned, Bills Daily will have complete camp coverage all month long.

Wednesday July 23, 2008

Bowen Signs: The Bills announced late this afternoon that they have signed fifth round draft pick Alvin Bowen. That leaves four picks that need to be signed with training camp starting on Friday. The top three draft choices have yet to sign along with sixth round pick Xavier Omon.

Russert Gets Street: The President signed into a law a bill that re-names a stretch of route 20A by Ralph Wilson Stadium Timothy J. Russert Highway. The stretch of road runs to the south entrance of One Bills Drive. The Bills was sponsored by both New York Senators and a local congressman. No word yet on when a dedication will take place.

Will Hardy Win Starting Job? Training camp opens in two days and at this time the Bills still have to sign five of their 10 draft picks. One of those players is 2nd round pick James Hardy. Assuming he gets into camp in a reasonable timeframe will he be the starter opposite Lee Evans? Hardy has had some off the field issues but they may be behind him as he has spent some time this summer visiting hospitals and trying to clean up his image. On the field, he has a golden opportunity to be the Bills only rookie starter if he can beat out Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish. He has a good chance at being starter on opening day but Reed has had a solid offseason and won't go down easily. Dick Jauron likes using veterans and may lean towards Reed. Even if Hardy doesn't start, he will definitely get to use his 6'5" frame down by the goal line where the Bills surely need his help.

Tuesday July 22, 2008

TE Position In Flux: Yesterday we took a look at the battle for the 2nd starting cornerback spot. With just three days to the start of training camp there are many other things to watch this summer. The battle at tight end is an interesting one. Is Robert Royal going to be 100%? Will Derek Schouman take the backup job or will Derek Fine or Courtney Anderson take charge.

Monday July 21, 2008

CB Spot Number One To Watch: With training camp kicking off on Friday there aren't too many position battles to watch. There are even less battles for starting spots that seem up in the air. According to the results of the poll on our homepage the majority believes the main battle is for the number two cornerback job. Terrence McGee is locked in the top spot. The starter opposite him will be a battle between incumbent Jabari Greer and first round pick Leodis McKelvin. Veteran free agent signee William James is also in the mix but he likely will be the number one guy in the slot regardless of who wins the starting job. Eventually McKelvin will be the guy but Greer has the ability to hold him off at the start of the season.

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