BillsZone Training Camp Report 8/23/2006

Tonight was the final night practice of the year for the Buffalo Bills. It was also the last hard hitting practice too. The players donned full pads and made quite a bit of contact, which they most likely won't do tomorrow. As usual, the team worked on the individual drills, special teams, 7-on-7, and the 11-on-11 drill.

To start the evening off, the Buffalo Bills came out of the locker room and warmed up a bit. Some of the players tossed the football around, and others just did their own thing. Next, Bobby April had the special teams do a fake field goals. He had Kelly Holcomb behind center, while Brian Moorman was in the backfield. Moorman took the pitch and ran it in for the touchdown. They also had Moorman catch a pass from Kelly Holcomb in the end zone for the touchdown. And lastly, they practiced a field goal blocking drill with the lines.

It wasn't supposed to be a full contact drill, as none of the players were wearing helmets. They were just having Brian Moorman do some fake swings as the guys would try to get in there and block it. However Moorman decided to kick it on the last play, which wasn't a good idea as the guys didn't expect it. The ball was blocked, but it was stopped by Chris Kelsay's bare head. You could hear the sound of the ball hitting his skull and the whole crowd went "OOOHHH" as it happened. Kelsay took a knee for bit and was a little woozy but he got up and was fine for the rest of the day.

The team then loosened up with the stretches and got right to work. The players worked on individual drills with each individual unit. Then they started working together on some drills, like they always do. Next the Buffalo Bills went right to the full team 11-on-11 drills. Lionel Gates started it out with a 3-yard run up the middle. JP Losman then hit Josh Reed for 12-yards. Gates then had another carry and took it up the middle for about 10-yards. Alan Ricard made a nice crushing block to spring him. JP Losman then underthrew Robert Royal. Anthony Thomas got the ball next and ran up the middle for 3-yards. Next, Andre Davis took the ball in a reverse and gained about 20-yards. Kelly Holcomb then dumped the ball off to Jonathan Smith, who gained 8-yards and held onto the ball, even though he was levelled by Liam Ezekiel.

JP Losman then came back in and threw a beautiful bomb to Andre Davis, who dropped it. Joe Burns took the ball on the next play and ran up the middle for 5-yards. Shaud Williams tried the same thing and was stuffed for a short gain two times in a row. Craig Nall then came under center and threw a nice looking sideline pass to Josh Reed for about 30-yards.

Fred Jackson tried to do some running and was stuffed by Wendell Hunter on one play and Mario Haggan on the next one. JP came back and threw a nice quick pass to Lee Evans for 22-yards. He was then "sacked" by London Fletcher on a blitz on the next play. Losman then tried to hit Lee Evans, but Jabari Greer came in there and knocked it down. JP finished the drill with a nice pass to Robert Royal for 15-yards. Craig Nall came back for the last 2 plays and first threw a quick screen to Joe Burns for 2-yards. He then took a "sack" due to solid coverage by the defense.

The Buffalo Bills worked on some special teams. Coach Bobby April pumped in some artificial crowed noise and had the speakers blaring with music as they practiced punts. Brian Moorman was working on punting from his own end zone and was kicking the ball anywhere from 50-70 yards. Nate Clements, Roscoe Parrish and Jonathan Smith fielded the ball. They did one fake punt where Moorman threw a nice pass to Eric King for the first down. Coach April also had Nicholas Setta rush the punter each time. The drill was good, until the last snap by Ryan Neill flew about 4 feet over Brian Moorman's head.

Following the special teams drills, the team went to work on some 7-on-7 drills. JP Losman started out with a nice pass to Lee Evans for 13-yards. Next he hit Roscoe Parrish for 6-yards. Losman then hit Evans again, who made a nice leaping grab for an 11-yard gain. He then found Josh Reed for 7-yards. Kelly Holcomb was up next and threw a nice looking 20-yard pass to Sam Aiken, who made a great catch. Holcomb then hit Willis McGahee for 9-yards. Craig Nall then came in and overthrew George Wilson. But he made it up on the next play with a nice pass to Lee Evans for 12-yards. JP Losman came back in and dumped the ball off to George Wilson for 8-yards. Next, he hit Jonathan Smith for 14-yards. And then Losman found Robert Royal for 11-yards.

Craig Nall had another chance and found Willis McGahee for 7-yards. Willis showed some good hands by making the catch with his arms out. Nall then finished the drill with a quick pass to Shaud Williams for about 6-yards.

Kelly Holcomb came back and threw a pass that was almost intercepted by Nate Clements. Nate had the ball, but couldn't hang on. He kicked the ball jokingly and laughed in frustration. Holcomb then dumped the ball off to Josh Reed for 6-yards and Wendell Hunter was waiting for Reed. JP Losman came back in one last time and threw a 60-yard bomb to Jonathan Smith that was almost intercepted by Jabari Greer, but instead it got tipped a bit and Smith made a sweet one handed catch. Losman then dumped off to McGahee for 8-yards. He finished this drill with a nice bomb to to Andre Davis, but Davis didn't go after it. Kelly Holcomb then came back and hit Robert Royal for 6-yards. He then found Josh Reed for a short gain to finish the drill.

The team went back to some 11-on-11 drills. JP Losman started it off with a 13-yard pass to Lee Evans, who made another leaping grab to haul it in. Lionel Gates took the next snap and ran up the middle for 7-yards. Next, Nate Clements made a nice play to knock down the pass intended for Lee Evans. Losman then threw a nice screen to Willis McGahee that went for 15-yards. Andre Davis dropped another pass in his hands. Kelly Holcomb came out there and threw a quick pass to Jonathan Smith for 9-yards. Lionel Gates ran the ball around the right tackle for an 11-yard gain. Holcomb then hit Josh Reed for 10-yards. Next, Craig Nall came in and threw a pass to Lionel Gates, but it was dropped. Lionel Gates made up for that with a 10-yard run up the middle. Nall then dumped the ball off to Gates for 5-yards and Wendell Hunter was there and levelled him.

JP Losman came back under center and dumped off to Josh Reed for 8-yards. Anthony Thomas then took a crack at running the ball and gained 6-yards on the first place, and then was tackled by London Fletcher immediately after a 4-yard gain. JP Losman then found George Wilson, but Wilson dropped it. Kelly Holcomb came back in and hit Chris Denney for 8-yards. Shaud Williams tried to run on the next play, but was stuffed. Holcomb then had one more chance in this drill and found George Wilson for 5-yards. JP Losman came back on the field for 2 more plays. He first hit Lee Evans for 9-yards, while feeling some intense pressure from the defensive line. JP then finished it off with a pass to Martin Nance for 11-yards. Craig Nall got the last snap of this drill and found open Sam Aiken for 10-yards.

Following the drill, the team went back to work on special teams. This time field goals was their specialty. Bobby April again used the music and crowd noise to get at the kickers. This time Rian Lindell had to listen to the music blaring and the fans shouting. The players even stood behind him shouting and raising their arms to get the crowd to start cheering. It didn't distract Lindell one bit. He nailed the 48-yard field goal and the players then mobbed him.

The Bills worked on some running plays using the 9-on-7. Willis McGahee started it out with a nice run to the outside for 8-yards. He had more problems running up the middle, gaining only 2-3 yards each on the next two plays. Then JP Losman threw a nice pass to Roscoe Parrish for 18-yards. Willis tried running up the middle again, but had no room to run and had only a short gain. JP then hit Parrish one more time, for 10-yards. Anthony Thomas tried his luck up the middle and only gained 2-3 yards too. Craig Nall then threw a pass to George Wilson (who made a great sideline catch) for 17-yards. Lionel Gates took the ball next and gained about 4-yards, but was hit really hard by Donte Whitner. They actually hit eachother pretty hard. Whitner's helmet came flying off. Craig Nall then threw a pass to Sam Aiken, who couldn't hang on to it. Nall finished the drill with a screen to Andre Davis for 10-yards.

Following this drill, the offense worked on trying to chew up the clock, while the defense tried to stop the run and take timeouts. They started out with JP Losman and Lionel Gates facing some backups and third teamers. Gates ran up the middle for 4-yards on the first play. But then he was stopped for a loss of 5-yards by Takeo Spikes on the next play. JP Losman finished it off with a pass to Roscoe Parrish in the middle of the field for 4-yards. Joe Burns struggled in the next series against the backup defense and was stuffed on all 3 plays. Finally, Craig Nall and Fred Jackson faced the starting defense. They started out nicely with a 4-yard run for Fred Jackson. But he was stopped by Chris Kelsay for no gain on the next play. They finished it off by moving the chains when Craig Nall hit Roscoe Parrish for about 8-yards to end the night.


Extra Points:

1. JP Losman had an average night. He made some nice throws, but also threw some dangerous passes too. In my opinion, he threw off his back foot too much and was a little bit uncomfortable in the pocket. Kelly Holcomb did the usual, and Craig Nall was okay.

2. Andre Davis may have played himself off the team tonight. He had a chance to show his stuff while Peerless Price was out, but he had too many drops and wasn't in sync with the quarterbacks at all.

3. Lee Evans is going to be fun to watch this year. He has a good connection with JP Losman on the field and is also looking really fast. It was nice to see all the Losman to Evans passes tonight. I can't wait to see that more often this season.

4. Willis McGahee didn't see a lot of action tonight as they were probably trying to rest him a bit to see what the backups have. I still think that it's down to Anthony Thomas and Lionel Gates for the #2 and #3 job. I will be shocked if Joe Burns and/or Shaud Williams stays.

5. Takeo Spikes is almost there. I have watched him each week and noticed that his speed is coming back. He is starting to make plays and is penetrating the backfield the way he used to. I think he will be 100% ready for the season opener against the Patriots.

6. Jabari Greer has locked up the starting nickel spot just based on training camp. He has shown a nose for the ball and was all over the field tonight. I think he's going to be a really good corner and might even be the replacement for Nate Clements next season.

7. Wendell Hunter is another player that impressed me tonight. I liked what I saw from him all training camp, but I really like him now. He is roaming the field and making tackles left and right. He may turn out to be another gem like Crowell.

8. Props to London Fletcher, Willis McGahee, Donte Whitner, Brian Moorman, Robert Royal, Craig Nall, and of course JP Losman for coming to the fence to sign autographs for the fans. JP Losman definitely made a couple fans happy when he signed his cleats and threw them in the crowd.

Overall, it was another great night at St. John Fisher College. The night practices are always a fun time as there is more of a crowd and sometimes they really get into it. I can't believe that tonight was the last one. The team will have one last walk-thru tomorrow and then will head back to Buffalo. I'll be back with a final wrap up from Buffalo Bills Training Camp next week.

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