PITTSFORD – The Buffalo Bills have been giving the main grass field here at St. John Fisher college a workout.
So much so that the team gave it a break, conducting a good deal of Thursday’s seventh training camp practice on the secondary field that is mainly used for positional work. The team has yet to practice on the artificial turf inside Growney Stadium.
Here are the top takeaways from Day Seven of camp:
1. Cordy Glenn sits out. The Bills’ franchise left tackle didn’t practice with what coach Sean McDermott called “a little bit of foot soreness.”
Glenn has been practicing on a limited basis since the start of training camp. He wore a walking boot during spring practices for what the team said at that time was an ankle injury. McDermott said Thursday the injuries are related.
"He's done a good job to this point, he's been moving well," the coach said. "So we're just going to continue to evaluate. I am concerned about it. It is concerning, because it's gone on so long, so we'll see where it goes.
"He's practiced, he's done a good job. At this point what we believe it to be is just general foot soreness. So we'll see.”
Seantrel Henderson practiced with the first unit in Glenn’s absence.
2. Charles Clay gets a veteran’s day off. The Bills continue to try and manage the tight end’s chronic knee condition with built-in rest days. The second of those since training camp started came Thursday.
“Nothing new,” McDermott said. “Just again us being proactive trying to stay ahead of it.”
Nick O’Leary worked with the starters with Clay out, with Logan Thomas behind him. In the competition for the No. 3 tight end, Thomas appears to be ahead. Based on the first week of practice at camp, the tight ends are going to be heavily involved in the Bills’ passing game.
During the three-play situational drill to start practice, which Thursday worked on two-point conversions, O’Leary caught a pass from Taylor for a score.
3. Micah Hyde, Philly Brown also miss practice. Hyde suffered a hip injury Wednesday making an interception of a Taylor pass, while Brown had an illness. Defensive end Ian Seau (foot) also remains out.
Asked if there was any concern about Hyde, McDermott said “I’m always concerned with guys that are hurt, held out of practice. At this point, we’re going to continue to evaluate. Generally speaking, no. At this point, just want to give him some time here – he hit the ground pretty hard there.”
Shamiel Gary got most of the starting reps with Hyde out.
4. Ryan Groy staying put for now. If Glenn’s injury keeps him out for an extended amount of time, the Bills might have to do some shuffling along the offensive line. Henderson is suspended for the first five games of the season, so the most likely solution is moving rookie Dion Dawkins back over to the left side – where he practiced in the spring – and having Jordan Mills play right tackle.
McDermott said the team has not considered moving versatile backup Ryan Groy outside. Groy has been working as the backup center.
“We know he’s got some background at guard and obviously center,” McDermott said. “We know there’s some flexibility there. Right now, he’s with a new system. He’s mastering that new system, working on that. … At this point, no.”
5. Nathan Peterman leads a touchdown drive. The Bills closed practice with an 11-on-11 session that saw the starters, second team and third team all play out a series (as opposed to rotating after three plays).
The only group to score was the third-team offense, as Peterman connected on a deep ball with tight end Wes Saxton for a 34-yard gain on their first play.
“I love it when we get the play it out situations. That’s getting to play football,” Peterman said. The reps are very few sometimes, so you’ve got to take advantage of opportunities when you get it.”
The pair hooked up again for a 13-yard touchdown pass four plays later.
“Double move, so you’ve got to hold the safety a little bit but he did a great job,” Peterman said. Wes really did good today. He put himself on the map.”
6. Eddie Yarbrough gets a chance with the starters. One of the unheralded players who has turned heads at camp this year is Yarbrough, a defensive end who played collegiately at Wyoming. He spent training camp last year with the Denver Broncos, but was released during final cuts.
He was on the third team until recently, but earned some snaps with the starters Thursday and immediately took advantage of the opportunity, batting down a Taylor pass during the final 11-on-11 session.
A botched snap on the next play ended the starting offense’s drive.
7. The linebacker rotation continues. The starting linebackers remained Preston Brown (middle), Ramon Humber (weak side) and Lorenzo Alexander (strong side) on Thursday, but behind them the team continued to look at different options.
That meant giving Gerald Hodges some snaps at middle linebacker, which is where Reggie Ragland has been working exclusively. Hodges also played some on the weak side.
8. They’ll do it live. The Bills return home to New Era Field for a ticketed night practice Friday. The intensity level should be high given that it will be the first time on the home field in front of fans for the newcomers to the roster.
“It’s live action. We’re going to heat things up a little bit,” McDermott said. “It’s been mostly thud here. We’ll probably throw in a live period or two in there.
“We’re looking forward to getting home, in terms of being back in our stadium, getting in front of our fans, changing the venue just a little bit. I think it will be a very interactive, fun night for players and fans alike. It will be good for us to get back home, throw some music on the loud speaker and it should be a great night.”
With possible storms in the area, the Bills will monitor the weather.
“I’m praying that we get a great night underneath our belt, both on the field and off the field tomorrow,” the coach said.