PITTSFORD -- Here are some observations from the Bills' second practice of training camp at St. John Fisher College Sunday:
>It only took two practices for a very familiar problem for Rex Ryan's Bills -- too many penalty flags -- to rear its ugly, yellow head. The officiating crew working practice was kept busy by both sides of the line. There were at least four offside calls on the defense and three false starts on the offense. Almost all of the defensive players who jumped were promptly pulled to the sideline and replaced, a policy of new D-line coach John Blake.
"I wasn't real happy about (the penalties)," Ryan said. "That's something where, you look back on last year, some of the things that we've got to get a heck of a lot better on and that is obviously the penalties. And the self-inflicted ones, which (are) jumping offsides, false starts, late hits. Those are things we know we can clean up and have to clean up. ... We used to do the push-ups. We're going to start running laps." Outside linebacker IK Enemkpali was made run one after jumping offside on Saturday.
>The penalties certainly did nothing to help excite a smallish crowd (especially for a Sunday) that showed the same general lack of enthusiasm evident on Saturday, when the stands were fuller but the turnout far from overwhelming for the first day. The lack of a quarterback competition is an obvious factor. There also is no Camp Ryan curiosity. Additionally, the Bills haven't done much during two no-pads, non-contact drills to generate a whole lot of noise. The pads will be on Monday for the first full-contact workout, although tackling to the ground won't be permitted until Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage.
>After a fairly solid performance Saturday, Ronald Darby struggled. Badly. He was consistently beaten on long and short routes. He had an especially tough time against taller and stronger veteran wide receiver Greg Little, who twice out-jumped him to pluck the ball out of the air, once while falling backwards. On another play, Robert Woods made an excellent sideline catch of a throw from Tyrod Taylor between Darby and linebacker Preston Brown.
"I know the competitor that he is," Ryan said of Darby. "He probably can't wait to get to practice tomorrow."
>Tyrod Taylor has been OK the past two days, but not nearly as crisp with his throws as he was through an outstanding offseason. He had a rougher outing Sunday than Saturday. As Ryan pointed out, the defense played far more off coverage in OTAs and minicamp workouts. Here, Taylor is seeing much smaller windows in the secondary. He also doesn't have Sammy Watkins, who is recovering from foot surgery, to catch his passes.
>When they weren't jumping offside, the defensive linemen and outside linebackers pretty much had their way with the offensive line. They were consistently pouring through the middle and off the edges. If sacks were allowed, they would have had many of them. They also consistently had great penetration on rushing plays, although in a couple of instances, they were a bit overzealous and ran past running backs who otherwise would have been tackled for losses.
>As was pointed out in my 3 Bills Thoughts for Sunday, Ryan is being extra cautious about keeping players as healthy as possible through training camp and the preseason. That's largely why tight end Charles Clay was spending plenty of time Sunday with the physical conditioning staff on the sidelines stretching out his back and running on his own.
"We're just being smart with him," Ryan said. "Some position coaches now know we're backing off on guys. We're not rolling them in and getting those type of reps that he really got last year. We want to be at our very best come that opening (day). And if that means we've got to cut back on a few guys, then that's what we'll do."
>During a one-on-one drill, LeSean McCoy was twice lined up wide against linebackers. After darting off the line in a blink, he gave a little move that turned each defender around and blew past him for wide-open catches. Kevin Reddick might still be looking for McCoy after being singed on a double move. However, Brown did do a nice job of covering McCoy one-on-one to deny him a catch in a red-zone drill.
>Rookie tackle Adolphus Washington is an imposing presence as an interior rusher. It's going to be interesting to watch how he performs in pads.
>Little and Woods were the receiving stars of practice. They provided about the only form of true entertainment for fans when each out-jumped a defender for a catch while falling backwards.