BillsZone Training Camp Report 8/5/2006

On Day 9 of Buffalo Bills Training Camp, the players came out wearing full pads and started to have some full contact as the Bills practiced on the grass fields. As usual, the team worked on the individual drills, 7-on-7, 11-on-11, special teams and a 2-minute drill. They also did a controlled scrimmage at the end with the younger veterans and rookies who don't get a lot of practice time.

To start the day off, the Buffalo Bills did some individual drills and then stretched, like they always do. After that, the team went straight to some 11-on-11 drills. Kelly Holcomb began with the starting offense, but he took the role that Losman had yesterday and did a lot of handoffs. Willis McGahee had a couple nice runs, where he pounded through the middle. Lionel Gates also continued to impress when he got the ball. Next up was JP Losman behind center and he seemed to have some fire in his belly. He started out making a couple quick passes to his receivers. But then he began to pump fake too much and the defense was able to read it perfectly and defend it. Losman then went through his reads and threw a beautiful looking pass to Andre Davis for about 40-yards. Next, he hit Josh Reed for a 6-yard gain. He completed the drill by throwing the ball away after taking some major pressure from Chris Kelsay.

Next up was the special teams drills. The Buffalo Bills worked on kickoff returns and used the backup kicker in the kickoffs. Nicholas Setta did a nice job kicking the ball and had quite a few kicks that were within the 10-yard line. The returners were Shaud Williams, Jim Leonhard, Jonathan Smith, and Nate Clements. Terrence McGee was watching the drill. It seemed like the drill was focused more towards the gunners and trying to block them. But Shaud Williams and Jim Leonhard impressed me the most with their running. I did watch some of the blocking though and saw one play where Liam Ezekiel threw one player on the ground with a nice block. The players on the sideline were high-fiving him after the play.

Following the special teams drill, the team worked one some 7-on-7 drills. JP Losman was a perfect 10/10 in this drill. He was sharp on all his throws and drew applause from the fans a couple of times. He started out with a nice 14-yard pass to Andre Davis. Then he found Robert Royal for about 6-yards. Next he hit Peerless Price for about 15-yards. Price made a sweep leaping catch and ran a couple of yards after the catch, but then the defense force him to fumble it. He did recover his fumble though. Losman finished this series with an 8-yard pass to Jon Goldsberry.

Next Kelly Holcomb came out and threw a quick 6-yard pass to Robert Royal. He then hit Sam Aiken (who made a nice catch) for 20-yards. Holcomb finished this series with 9-yard pass to Andre Davis and then a 16-yarder to Peerless Price. JP Losman came back in for two more plays and kept it up. He first found George Wilson for 10-yards and then threw a beautiful 50-yard bomb to Roscoe Parrish that would have definitely gone for a touchdown. That crowd went nuts after that play. Kelly Holcomb came back and dumped off to Robert Royal for 5-yards. He then threw a 15-yard pass that was off a bit, but Roscoe Parrish made a sweet catch where he twisted his back to catch the pass with his hands.

JP Losman came back out there for two more tries and kept firing. He first hit Chris Denney for 8-yards. Then Losman found Josh Reed over the middle with a quick bullet for about 19-yards. Kelly Holcomb was back out there again and threw a pass that didn't have much zip and Jonathan Smith dropped it. But he recovered with a nice 10-yard strike to Peerless Price. JP came back and dumped off to Willis McGahee for about 7-yards. Then to surprise us a bit, Kliff Kingsbury came in and threw a nice 12-yard pass to McGahee. He then found Andre Davis for 6-yards in the middle of the field. Kelly Holcomb had one last shot and threw a screen to Willis McGahee for 5-yards. JP Losman completed the drill by gunning a pass over the middle to Robert Royal for about 5-yards and the touchdown!

Next, the Buffalo Bills went back to the 11-on-11 drills again. It was mainly running plays and the defense stuffed the run. The best stop was a play where Coy Wire sniffed out the run and tackled Willis McGahee for a short loss. London Fletcher had the hardest hit though. He leveled Lionel Gates for a short loss and a bunch of fans cheered. Anthony Thomas had a nice run for about 8-yards up the middle against the backup defense. But he was stuffed on the next play. The same thing happened to Shaud Williams. He squeezed through for about 5-yards on one play, but the next one he was stuffed for no gain. The team did do a couple of passing plays too. Kelly Holcomb hit Peerless Price for about 7-yards, but then he fumbled the ball after the defense stripped it. He did recover it though. JP Losman threw a pass to Daimon Shelton and it was dropped.

Bobby April got some more time to work on special teams. He is getting more practice time than I have seen him have before and it's nice to see. This time the unit worked on reverses during kickoffs. They started out where Terrence McGee caught the kickoff and then passed the ball to Sam Aiken. Aiken did have a nice return and it probably would have been a nice gain. Shaud Williams was up next and tried to hand off to Matt Bowen, but it was dropped. McGee then came back and handed it off to Rashad Baker. To finish the drill, Shaud Williams tried doing the reverse again and this time handed off to Kiwaukee Thomas with no problem.

Following the special teams drill, the team worked on the 2-minute drill in the 11-on-11. JP Losman did a great job moving the team down the field and had his best 2-minute drill of the camp. The offense started out on their own 30-yard line. Terrence McGee started it out with a nice pass breakup on first down. On second down, JP threw a 17-yard pass to Peerless Price. Next, he threw a 5-yard strike to Josh Reed. Losman then found Peerless Price down the field for about 20-yards. Peerless made a great leaping grab for the ball. Losman then hit Sam Aiken for a 19-yard gain, which set up 1st-and-goal with a little more than a minute remaining on the clock. He then spiked the ball on 1st-and-goal to stop the clock. On 2nd-and-goal, Losman's pass was incomplete. On 3rd-and-goal from the 9-yard line, JP Losman hit Peerless Price for a 7-yard gain after the defense made a nice stop near the goal-line. And on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line and Losman found Price again, this time in the end zone for the touchdown!

To finish the day, Head Coach Dick Jauron had the rookies and younger veterans work on a controlled scrimmage. I didn't take many notes, but I did watch a few things. Fred Jackson was very involved in the drill and had 9 carries. He also had a couple catches too. Jackson didn't get much room to run, but did squeeze thru for a few extra yards at times.

I also saw Chris Denney made a nice catch along the sideline. Kevin Everrett also got some time out there and had a nice catch and run where he kept going until he got the first down. I also watched some of the defensive linemen and saw one play where Kyle Williams had Greg Jerman beat and would have had the sack. John McCargo also had some nice penetration in the middle.

Extra Points:

1. JP Losman had a great day today. I know that I have worried about him before, but today he showed what I was hoping he would. He was on target all day and made some great long bombs. He also stepped up in the pocket a couple times today. I hope to see him get more reps now because today showed that when he gets comfortable, he really starts to do good.

2. Peerless Price is back! I know that many people were worried about the Peerless Price that we saw in Atlanta and Dallas, but it appears he has been reborn. This is the receiver I remember seeing here in 2002, catching long bombs from Drew Bledsoe. He really is doing a good job and in my opinion has almost locked up the number 2 receiver spot.

3. It appears that Lionel Gates might push Anthony Thomas out of here. I know that Thomas is here to be the backup, but Gates is wowing everybody and is now starting to get a lot of the #2 running back reps. I think that it will come down to him and Shaud Williams because I can't see Anthony Thomas staying here if he isn't the #2 back.

4. Terrence McGee is our best cornerback. He really has improved big time since last year at training camp. He is getting in and breaking up plays left and right and he is also covering the receivers nicely.

5. Melvin Fowler and the starting offensive line looked much better today. I noticed that he did a solid job at snapping, especially in the shotgun formation. He also has been getting better at holding his own in the middle. Tutan Reyes also had a few solid blocks and opened up some holes for the running game today. Let's hope they can keep this up!

6. Major props go to JP Losman for campaigning for the fan support. I have been to camp almost every day and I always see him out there signing autographs for the fans or coming over the the wall at Growney Field and signing for the fans there. Today, the players had a team session for the Junior Bills Backers. JP Losman was the last one to sign autographs and was there for a while. Even after he got done, the fans standing near the rail at the Growney Stadium wall called him name and chanted "JP! JP! JP!". Losman looked over and smiled and then headed over. He signed stuff for everyone who was over there.

Overall, it was another good day at St. John Fisher College. It was nice to see the offense rebound today. The receivers were running their routes perfectly and making some great catches. Let's hope that they can keep this up for the rest of camp.

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