What we learned at Bills camp: Day Two - The Buffalo News

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What we learned at Bills camp: Day Two

PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills couldn't have asked for more perfect weather for their second practice of training camp at St. John Fisher College.

It was mostly sunny, and a nice breeze kept it just cool enough for the players and a good crowd of spectators, some of whom no doubt started their weekend early to take in the mid-afternoon session.

Here's what we learned:

1. The defensive line dominated the offensive line through much of Friday's practice. Shaq Lawson showed how much he has learned since his rookie season last year -- and how much more comfortable he is at end rather than outside linebacker -- with what easily would have been three sacks (if defenders were allowed to make contact with the quarterback). Fellow end Jerry Hughes also applied a steady pressure.

2. Speaking of which … nothing is necessarily set in stone with some of the starting spots on the offensive line. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said Friday that "there's competition across the board." Now, let's not take that literally. No one is supplanting left guard Richie Incognito, the best player on the unit, any time soon. For what the Bills are paying left tackle Cordy Glenn, he isn't going anywhere, either, especially now that he seems to have recovered from the sore left ankle that kept him out of offseason workouts. But it's easy to see rookie Dion Dawkins pushing and, eventually, replacing Jordan Mills at right tackle. It also wouldn't be a shock to see Vlad Ducasse unseat John Miller at right guard.

3. LeSean McCoy is by far the most talented player on the field. You really only need to see him run once, exploding into the open field and cutting away from would-be tacklers in a blink, to recognize how much better he is than everyone around him on both sides of the ball. It says something about McCoy's long-standing status as an elite running back, but also says something about the fact the Bills have no other truly elite players on their roster. McCoy's running and receiving are what give the offense any hope for success, so the trick will be making sure not to overwork his 29-year-old legs.

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4. The quarterbacks have not been all that sharp collectively through the first two practices of camp. Tyrod Taylor, T.J. Yates, and Nathan Peterman have had some ugly misses. Granted, they found themselves frequently under duress in the face of a consistently strong pass rush. But there is plenty of room for improvement. It was notable that Peterman took some second-team reps while Yates worked with the third unit on occasion. However, in the very early going, it doesn't look as if Peterman created any significant separation between himself or Yates.

5. Although Taylor spent one year working with Dennison when Taylor was a backup for the Baltimore Ravens and Dennison was their quarterbacks coach, he doesn't yet have a full grasp of the Bills' new offense. Apparently, neither does Yates, even though he spent three years with Dennison when the Bills' OC held the same job with the Houston Texans. "I think everybody's still got a little bit of work to do," Dennison said. "I don't think anybody, by any stretch of the imagination, graduated from grad school. I think there's always work to be done, but" Taylor, "along with the other guys in room, they're willing to do that. We had an interactive meeting" with the quarterbacks "where there were a lot of questions being fired at them and they answered them very well."

6. The Bills have upped their camp game with interactive elements for fans. In the parking lot in front of Dorsey Hall, you can test your passing skills, practice your putting, play cornhole, take a photo behind a Bills Instagram frame, and get a free paper Bills helmet, complete with a facemask. There also is a fairly wide variety of food options. The setup is so impressive, in fact, that through the first two days of practice, many fans (especially families with children) chose remaining in the lot over going to watch the action on the field.

7. The reason the Bills felt good enough about Peterman to ship Cardale Jones to the Los Angeles Chargers became a little clearer Friday. Consider what Dennison had to say about the rookie: "We talked to him in a pre-draft visit and he's calm, he's confident, he's smart. I don't know if that makes him pro-ready or not, but he's picked things up, he's developed, he's doing some really good things, he's working his tail off. And I'll tell you what, the group, the three of them, have really communicated together."

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8. Coach Sean McDermott is trying to throw a little spice into practice by starting each session with a situational period. Thursday night, he had the first, second and third offensive and defensive units work against each other while running what was designated as the first play of the game. The ball would be moved to a different yard marker for each group, and the play would be called accordingly. Friday's situation was third-and-short. McDermott plans to cover as many situations as possible so that players will have a point of reference when one arises during a game.

9. Sammy Watkins made the best play of Day Two, drawing cheers when he jumped high off the ground to grab a Taylor pass along the sideline. Watkins has had two strong practices, backing up his assertion after Day One that his surgically repaired left foot is healed and no longer a problem.

10. The Bills will be putting on the pads for the first time in camp for Saturday's practice, which is scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m. Following the pattern of his mentor, Andy Reid, McDermott will gradually increase the length and intensity of each padded session. Expect the hitting to be particularly fierce during inside run drills, because that's where the coach wants the players on both sides of the ball to show him what they've got.

Watch: Our Team's Takeaway from the second day of Bills training camp

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