Bills Training Camp Recap and Photo Gallery

Halfway through 2015's training camp, I got out to St. John Fisher College on a cloudy Tuesday morning.  Here's the highlights:

- The running backs looked good but the receivers looked better.  While the throws were average for the most part, receivers were getting separation all day including a nice catch by Deonte Thompson from Matt Cassel in the 11 v. 11 drills.  Also, despite not taking part in early team drills, when Sammy Watkins did come in, he looked good.

- On the quarterback front, the it's clear that Matt Simms is #4 and that Matt Cassel has #1 by a nose right now.  Simms barely had any time with first team offensive guys while Cassel edged out EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor in total time.  He also edged them out is his play.  Cassel was accurate all day and made few mistakes while EJ fumbled a handoff and both he and Tyrod made questionable decisions at times.  That said, both were able to extend plays in the 11 v. 11s and full contact at the end.  The short answer is that it's obvious why Rex can't make up his mind.  Do you want every play to be a 6 out of 10 (Cassel) or do you want 50% to be 7 out of 10 and 50% 4 out of 10 (Manuel and Taylor)?  It says something that I almost miss Fitzpatrick.

- Once things went full contact, it's clear why it's the defense that has the spotlight.  Granted, it was clear that the play calling was all runs, but no running back made much headway against the Defensive line.

- Marcell Dareus wants to be a referee.  On one of the last plays of the day, Taylor faked everyone out, held the ball and broke left.  Everyone except Dareus, that is, who was held by the offensive lineman.  After the play, getting no sympathy from the official, Dareus went over, plucked the flag from the official's pocket and threw it himself.  I wouldn't try that one during the regular season, Marcell.

Photo timeline of the entire day:

If you head out to training camp without buying VIP parking, you'll park in one of two free nearby high school lots and take a bus over to practice.

If you head out to training camp without buying VIP parking, you'll park in one of two free nearby high school lots and take a bus over to practice.

Bills fans board school buses to ride over to the Bills practice.  The bus costs $1.

Bills fans board school buses to ride over to the Bills practice.  The bus costs $1.

Practice opened with special teams practice.  This ball will not be punted.  Rather the punter, Colton Schmidt, will go through the motion and the Bills assistant will launch a ball from the machine for consistency's sake.  Several players received the punts including Percy Harvin and Marquise Goodwin.

Practice opened with special teams practice.  This ball will not be punted.  Rather the punter, Colton Schmidt, will go through the motion and the Bills assistant will launch a ball from the machine for consistency's sake.  Several players received the punts including Percy Harvin and Marquise Goodwin.

Sammy Watkins, being eased back in after his offseason hip surgery did drills on his own on the sideline for the first half of practice.  Here he does a cutting drill under the direction of Andre Reed.

Sammy Watkins, being eased back in after his offseason hip surgery did drills on his own on the sideline for the first half of practice.  Here he does a cutting drill under the direction of Andre Reed.

Sammy Watkins and Andre Reed.

Sammy Watkins and Andre Reed.

The Bills switch from punting return to kickoff return practice.

The Bills switch from punting return to kickoff return practice.

The quarterbacks and running backs work on their handoffs.  Everyone rotated for equal reps.

The quarterbacks and running backs work on their handoffs.  Everyone rotated for equal reps.

EJ Manuel throws to MarQueis Gray

EJ Manuel throws to MarQueis Gray

There was a full crowd for practice despite starting a 10am on a Tuesday.

There was a full crowd for practice despite starting a 10am on a Tuesday.

Next the quarterbacks worked with the tight ends.  Pictured is Matt Cassel and Matthew Mulligan.

Next the quarterbacks worked with the tight ends.  Pictured is Matt Cassel and Matthew Mulligan.

Matt Cassel is under center first in the 11 v. 11 drills.  Cassel had the edge on the day in reps and time with the first team offense.  Manuel and Tyrod Taylor were not far behind though.

Matt Cassel is under center first in the 11 v. 11 drills.  Cassel had the edge on the day in reps and time with the first team offense.  Manuel and Tyrod Taylor were not far behind though.

"Break!" (Sorry, I've always wanted to say that.)

"Break!" (Sorry, I've always wanted to say that.)

Referees need practice too.  Plus someone has to keep the players honest.

Referees need practice too.  Plus someone has to keep the players honest.

Deonte Thompson catches one of the nicer receptions of the day.  This one was for about 35 yards.  Matt Cassel was on the other end, one of several accurate long throws on the day from the veteran.

Deonte Thompson catches one of the nicer receptions of the day.  This one was for about 35 yards.  Matt Cassel was on the other end, one of several accurate long throws on the day from the veteran.

Easley about to receive another from Cassel.  The offense ran this play several times.

Easley about to receive another from Cassel.  The offense ran this play several times.

Andre Davis makes a catch downfield.

Andre Davis makes a catch downfield.

Fans stand on the sidelines along the fence next to a sign that says "no standing along fence."  Ah well...

Fans stand on the sidelines along the fence next to a sign that says "no standing along fence."  Ah well...

Cassel gets ready to throw.

Cassel gets ready to throw.

The last 20 or so minutes of practice were spent on full contact two-minute drills.  The plays were  almost exclusively run plays.  It makes sense that the Bills want to make sure the run game is in shape as it looks to be the dominant sector of the offense this year.

The last 20 or so minutes of practice were spent on full contact two-minute drills.  The plays were  almost exclusively run plays.  It makes sense that the Bills want to make sure the run game is in shape as it looks to be the dominant sector of the offense this year.

Rex Ryan talks to the media after practice.

Rex Ryan talks to the media after practice.

Actually, $6 for a Buffalo chicken hoagie doesn't seem too bad!

Actually, $6 for a Buffalo chicken hoagie doesn't seem too bad!

Of course there is a team store where you can buy all the Bills memorabilia you can handle.

Of course there is a team store where you can buy all the Bills memorabilia you can handle.

Why not?

Why not?

Pittford NY is a beautiful setting for a morning of football.

Pittford NY is a beautiful setting for a morning of football.