PITTSFORD – The Buffalo Bills look like they've had enough of training camp.
Tensions were high during Monday's practice at St. John Fisher College, with coach Sean McDermott calling the team to the middle of the field to chew them out near the start, followed by several skirmishes between players near the end.
"We're what? A day away from breaking camp? It was going to happen sooner or later," said right tackle Jordan Mills, who found himself in the middle of one of those skirmishes, with defensive end Shaq Lawson. "It was a little hot today. We've been grinding for what, two weeks, 14-plus days? Hitting the same person day in and day out. ... That's with every training camp, it's going to have a couple days where you just get after each other."
Here are our observations from the Bills' penultimate camp practice:
1. Jordan Matthews is going to miss some time. The Bills' newest receiver suffered a "chip fracture" in his sternum and is week to week. General Manager Brandon Beane told The Buffalo News that Matthews, who was acquired Friday along with a third-round draft pick from Philadelphia for cornerback Ronald Darby, is expected to be recovered in time for the Sept. 10 regula-season opener against the New York Jets. Matthew could play in the team's final preseason game at home against Detroit on Aug. 31, but Beane said there would be no rush to get him on the field by then.
Matthews finished his first practice with the Bills on Sunday, but a team spokesman said afterward he was being evaluated for a chest injury. He was apparently hurt when he collided with cornerback Shareece Wright within the first 15 minutes of practice. Matthews is expected to be one of the Bills' top three wideouts in 2017.
2. Wright is also out at the moment. The cornerback did not practice Monday after suffering a sprained thumb during Sunday's session. Left tackle Cordy Glenn did not practice because of ongoing foot soreness, while safety Bacarri Rambo sat out with a hamstring injury. Tight end Charles Clay was given a "maintenance day."
Cornerback Kevon Seymour practiced on a limited basis as he returns from foot soreness. During practice, defensive tackle Adolphus Washington suffered lower-back spasm, while newly acquired cornerback E.J. Gaines left with trainers. Gaines, however, was not listed on the injury report provided by the team after practice.
3. The first skirmish of training camp was between safety Colt Anderson and wide receiver Walt Powell. Those two got facemask-to-facemask after a run play. It would be far from the only one, though, on a chippy day. As mentioned above, Lawson and Mills exchanged words, as did starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor with defensive end Jerry Hughes (surprise, surprise). After practice, coach Sean McDermott had a one-on-one talk with Hughes, who has a history of such incidents (and the personal foul penalties that come with them).
4. Goal-line situation raises the stakes. The Bills adopted a scrimmagelike setting with the defense on one side of the field and the offense on another, which seemed to raise the intensity level. So, too, did the goal-line segment near the end of practice.
"It's like the trenches, man," Lawson said. "We don't want to get knocked back on the goal line and the offense wants to punch it in. So when that goal line comes, it's very competitive out there and both sides of the ball want to win."
"They just tell me to go in, so I go in," Peterman said about what looks to be his promotion. "That's about all I know."
After reviewing his performance in the preseason opener against the Vikings, Peterman said "it was a good starting point – an OK starting point – but I think I just have to keep rising from here."
6. Zay Jones had a tough day. With Matthews out of the lineup, the Bills used Jones on the outside with Anquan Boldin in the slot with the starters. It was a tough day for the rookie receiver, however, as he had a good throw from Taylor go through his hands for a drop. Jones was targeted twice more by Taylor, and each time was unable to come up with the catch.
The Bills mixed Rod Streater and Andre Holmes in with Jones and Boldin on the first team. Holmes made one of his better plays of training camp when he made a diving catch of a pass from Taylor on the sideline and got his feet down.
7. Stephen Hauschka is good ... from the sideline. The Bills' kicker was knocking field goals through the uprights from an interesting spot – on the sideline. It wasn't clear whether Hauschka was just having some fun or it was an actual drill, but it was impressive to watch nonetheless.
8. Marcus Sayles just misses. The rookie undrafted cornerback probably should have had what should have been a pick-six of veteran quarterback T.J. Yates. Sayles read Yates perfectly and jumped the route to the flat, but couldn't come down with the interception.
9. Lawson shows off some impressive athleticism. Earlier in camp, Lawson talked about how he had slimmed down this year. The result is a faster player. That was shown when he chased down Taylor on a bootleg for what looked like it would have been a sack. There aren't many defensive ends in the NFL who are going to keep up with Taylor, so Lawson's effort on that particular play was quite impressive.
10. Matt Milano makes a positive impression on Leslie Frazier. After reviewing the tape from the Bills' first preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Bills' defensive coordinator came away impressed with the performance of the rookie linebacker from Boston College.
"There were some guys in the second and third units that stood out a little bit," Frazier said. "I really liked the way Matt Milano ran around and competed."
Milano had just one tackle against the Vikings, but he has consistently been a part of the second team during training camp.
11. Jason Botterill takes in practice. The new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres visited camp. After practice, Botterill huddled with a group that included owner Terry Pegula, President Russ Brandon, Beane and McDermott.
12. The Bills say goodbye to training camp for another year with a final practice at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. The team will then pack up and head back to its Orchard Park headquarters. Buffalo's second preseason game is Thursday in Philadelphia.