McGahee's hands need work; Winfield plays nickel

The Bills opened mini-camp today with just two players missing: right tackle Mike Williams, who had a family engagement, and cornerback Jason Bostic, who is rehabilitating a torn knee ligament. The Bills expected Williams to return to Orchard Park on Wednesday. Here are some other interesting notes from the day …



The team practiced from 11:25 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on the practice field behind the stadium, on the side close to Southwestern Boulevard. It's a fenced-in field that's rarely used, although it looks like the Bills might use it more to give the outdoor field behind the field house some time to recuperate so it lasts throughout the season …

Willis McGahee wore No. 21 instead of the No. 2 jersey he wore at the first mini-camp in early May. It's not known whether he'll keep the No. 21, but in the NFL he can't wear No. 2, his college number, because he's not a specialist.

McGahee did not practice, but worked on the Jugs machine with running backs coach Les Steckel, and he dropped a lot of passes. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt because he's not in football playing shape, but he's going to have better hands if he's the complete back he – and most people – envision.

Travis Henry, on the other hand, caught nearly everything that was thrown at him. Henry is in great shape and is also sporting what looks to be a short-dreadlocks look. Actually, he's among three Bills sporting new hairstyles: Ruben Brown shaved his head and is bald, and Trey Teague grew long hair. Henry's hairdo is the most stylish of the trio …

Defensive tackle Sam Adams wore a red brace on his right knee, but practiced. In warm-ups, when the team was jogging, Adams walked. But like McGahee, Adams deserves the benefit of the doubt because it is May 27 and it's technically the off-season. Adams is not in football playing shape either, looking really wide in the middle. Adams won't be playing many third downs this season …

The Bills offense switched between standard two back, two wide receiver and one tight end sets, to one back, three wide receiver and one tight end on third downs, and one back, two wide receiver and two tight end sets on some regular downs. Steckel said the team would alternate between two back and one back sets as equally as possible …

Quarterback Travis Brown fumbled a snap that middle linebacker London Fletcher recovered, and he threw an interception to Coy Wire. Strongside linebacker DaShon Polk intercepted an Alex Van Pelt pass and returned for a touchdown, prompting Fletcher to yell, "Oh yeah! Good (crap)!" …

Nose tackle Pat Williams, in one-on-one drills against left guard Ruben Brown, got the best of Brown one time, using his leverage to go around and get at the would-be quarterback. In the same drill, strongside linebacker Jeff Posey, playing left end – and looking more like he'll be a passing situation end – went around rookie tackle Justin Sands with ease. Posey has an excellent burst off the line that Buffalo should utilize …

Left corner Antoine Winfield covered the slot receiver as the nickel back on third downs. Kevin Thomas took over corner for Winfield on that down. Winfield should never have stopped playing there under Gregg Williams. I remember Wade Phillips used to say that Winfield – even as a rookie – was one of the NFL's best nickel backs. I remember I asked Phillips when Winfield assumed the starting cornerback spot in 2000, whether he would continue playing in the slot. Phillips looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "Why would you want to change that? He's good there. If you change that, now you're changing two defensive back positions (this year)." …

First-year wide receiver Clarence Coleman beat Dainon Sidney in man coverage during the 11-on-11 and turned a 20-yard pass into a touchdown …

Drew Bledsoe dumped off a lot of passes to fullbacks, running backs and tight ends. He threw underneath quite a bit, showing signs that the wild and crazy home run ball days of last year might be history. There were a lot of short out patterns being thrown.


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