Mike Williams: The early story of training camp

Buffalo Bills' OT Mike Williams seems to be generating the most headlines in the early part of training camp in Pittsford, NY.

The former first round pick made news when he was demoted, by new head coach Mike Mularkey, to the second team on the first day of training camp. Mularkey claimed that part of the reason that he benched Mike Williams was to allow him to catch up physically and mentally. This is most likely a result of Williams' missing the team's voluntary workouts in June during which the team installed much of the new offense. The coach went as far to say that Williams won't start until, "I get to a level of confidence that we're all on the same page." In the interim veteran Marcus Price has assumed the role as starter at right offensive tackle.

Yesterday, Williams made even more news when he was excused from both practices for "personal reasons" which were the same reasons the former Texas standout claimed to miss the aforementioned workouts. Team spokesman Scott Berchtold said Williams missing practice had no connection to his demotion. "None whatsoever," Berchtold said.

Today, Williams missed practice again although this time he was not excused by the team which will likely result in a fine or two. This isn't a good situation as the Bills' offensive line was question mark at the start of camp and Williams was thought to be one of the answers. As since entering the league as the fourth overall draft pick in 2002 he has started 27 games of a possible 32.

The more time Williams misses the less he and new offensive guard Chris Villarrial will have to work and develop together which could be critical to help the team reduce the league high 51 sacks they allowed last season. Williams has also been called the team's best run blocker and helped RB Travis Henry rush for over 1300 yards the past two seasons.

Under Mularkey, the Bills are expected to run more in their offensive approach this season and Williams' play could be vital to launching a rushing attack that could be among the best in the league with both Henry and the addition of last season's top draft selection, RB Willis McGahee, who missed all of last season recovering from an ACL injury. One would hope that whatever is wrong with Williams will soon go away as his abscence leaves the Bills with a huge void, both literally and tactically on the offensive line, given his 6'7/375 lb. size at right offensive tackle.

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