Inside The Bills

Hopkins kicks well

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2014 – 10:49 am

He’s seen by most outside the building at One Bills Drive as a potential kickoff specialist for Buffalo with Dan Carpenter signing a sizable free agent deal with the Bills this offseason. But Dustin Hopkins is working to make the place kicking job a stiff competition as well. On the last day of minicamp Hopkins may have provided a sign of things to come.

Erratic in last year’s training camp, Hopkins’ performance on Thursday was in stark contrast. Both he and Carpenter had the opportunity to kick field goals in the final special teams segment of minicamp practice Thursday. Carpenter after going 8-for-8 on attempts Wednesday went 5-for-6 on Thursday with his only miss coming from 50 yards out. Hopkins meanwhile was a perfect 5-for-5. Below are their attempts kick by kick along with the results.

Carpenter                                           Hopkins
28 yards – right hash – good        32 yards – left hash – good
30 yards – left hash – good          35 yards – right hash – good
37 yards – right hash – good        41 yards – left hash – good
39 yards – left hash – good          48 yards – right hash – good
50 yards – right hash – wide rt.  53 yards – right hash – good
53 yards – left hash – good


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Marrone guiding Henderson

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2014 – 7:32 pm

Marcell Dareus is not the only personal project for Bills head coach Doug Marrone this offseason. Marrone said earlier this spring that he’s in conversation with Dareus every day whether it’s in person or by phone to help him through his issues which are mainly off the field. Marrone is also working closely with rookie OT Seantrel Henderson, but his assistance with the seventh-round pick are mainly on the field.

Thrown into the fire in the minicamp as the starting left tackle with Cordy Glenn sidelined by illness, Henderson was still adjusting on day one, but on Thursday he got his feet under and won his share of plays against Jerry Hughes and Manny Lawson.

What has Henderson encouraged about his progress is having a head coach who has an offensive lineman’s background.

“Coach is always helping me with my technique,” said Henderson. “It’ll be the smallest things that a rookie can do wrong like myself and he’ll see it just because he’s been in the game for a long time in college all the way up to the NFL and he played offensive line. So this is his craft and he’s helping me all the time and I’ve never had a head coach who was into the offensive line like that so I feel like that’s a good thing for me.”

Henderson fell a long way in the draft mainly because of his off the field issues, but it’s clear that his new teammates in Buffalo recognize his immense physical talent. That’s why when interviewing Henderson Thursday, Anthony Dixon’s chime in comment on the way by myself and Henderson was most telling.

“He’s going to be a beast and we’re going to get him right,” Dixon said.


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EJ finishes on good note

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2014 – 7:23 pm

Even EJ Manuel will tell you that some days were better than others with his passing game exploits and reading of coverages in the spring practices, but his last two days were probably among his most effective. Head coach Doug Marrone felt the same way.

“I think in these last couple of days, we’ve had some good results with yesterday probably being the best day that he’s had on third down when he was here,” said Marrone. “There are a lot of things that are going on that you get excited about and we have to carry that on and do that when the preseason comes.”

When asked how much further Manuel is ahead of where he was at this time last year, Buffalo’s head coach felt the difference was significant.

“Quite a bit further, especially with the amount that we have in and the amount that was given to him,” said Marrone. “I think it’s always this stage in a young quarterback’s career, especially one that hasn’t practiced as much as him because of the injuries. Out of everyone on the football team, make no mistake about it, that position has the most.

“He’s put in a lot of work. He has a much, much better understanding and it’s exciting. What you hope to see as training camp and the installation goes in, you hope to see it better the next time around. What happens after that is that is starts getting better because now the playbook starts reducing to what you’re going to do. So, it’s a natural reaction. The thing that we were concentrating on, like I said before, was to make sure that he had the fundamentals that a lot of people might not be able to see because we’re always looking for the end result.”


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Marrone: Felt bad Stevie couldn’t work

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2013 – 3:56 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone naturally was eager to see Stevie Johnson in action during the team’s three-day voluntary veteran minicamp, but that didn’t happen. But Marrone felt worse for Johnson than anything else knowing how hard the receiver has worked this offseason.

“Is there an area of disappointment? Absolutely. But my disappointment is not that I wanted to see Stevie Johnson out there,” said Marrone. “My area of disappointment was Stevie worked extremely hard. When he came back and was with our weight coaches, really from what I heard he’s the best he’s ever been and really put a lot into it. And we had conversations prior to this and I was very excited. My disappointment is for him because he put a lot into it to get himself ready to get out here with a new staff.”

Johnson was again held out of practice Thursday, but he believes there’s plenty of time to get up to speed with the new offense.

“We’re still early.  I’ll have time, they’ll have time also to get the chemistry down,” said Johnson. “It’s still early. Nothing too big I guess to worry about.”


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Marrone’s assessment of QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2013 – 2:17 pm

With the Bills first voluntary minicamp under head coach Doug Marrone in the books, the Bills sideline boss was asked for his impressions of the top two quarterbacks on his roster after watching them in action for three days.

“For the amount of volume that we have in on both sides of the ball, for a quarterback in Kevin who was injured and hasn’t played a lot lately to Tarvaris who wasn’t available to play last year and to come into a camp where they’re not out throwing on 7-on-7 before a camp or they’re not at a high school field, I was very impressed with how they handled themselves in the classroom with
excellent questions,” Marrone said. “I was very impressed with how themselves on the field especially with all the stuff that was going on the field on both side. I was very happy with how they handled themselves in light of what they’ve dealt with the past
year.”

Both Kolb and Jackson appeared to execute better on the final day of the minicamp than they did earlier in the practice sessions.

“It’s good. It really is,” said Kolb. “I think for a new system in all three phases, a lot of new players, I think practice has gone fairly smooth for our situation. Obviously a lot to build on, a lot to correct, but it’s all making sense for everybody and everybody is kind of catching on phase by phase.”


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Some honorable mentions

Posted by Chris Brown on June 22, 2012 – 9:05 am

There were some close calls with our Minicamp-OTA awards that we handed out today (Friday) with the spring workouts now over and done with. So here are a few honorable mentions from the May-June practices of players that had some encouraging play, keeping in mind that it’s hard in an OTA-minicamp setting for linemen on both sides of the ball to really shine since it’s still not real football.

Bryan Scott – the veteran is a subpackage specialist that will have a defined niche in the defense. He was around the ball consistently in the underneath zones.

Marcus Easley – He made some of the most difficult catches in the spring practices. Showed he has the strength and size to make plays in traffic and with DBs hanging on him.

Donald Jones – With Stevie Johnson missing most of workouts, Jones was a frequent target of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Arthur Moats – Playing two different linebacker positions in base and subpackages, Moats looked very good in coverage for a LB that played up in college.

Young players that flashed
Here are some rookies besides those mentioned on our awards list that flashed some encouraging potential.

T.J. Graham – His speed is obvious, but he made a handful of plays towards the end of minicamp that made you feel like things are starting to sink in for him.

Nigel Bradham – For a long angular LB he has pretty good cover ability and got some valuable reps at times with the top unit in subpackages and base.

Ron Brooks – He’s got the quickest feet in the whole secondary and made plays on the ball. We’ll have to see how he fares when the pads go on.


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Thurs. non-participants

Posted by Chris Brown on June 21, 2012 – 1:09 pm

Here are the non-participants for the final minicamp practice.

Terrence McGee
Josh Nesbitt
Robert Eddins
Kelvin Sheppard
Andy Levitre
Eric Wood
Kellen Heard
Erik Pears
Torell Troup
Lionel Dotson
Dwan Edwards


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Stevie gets involved

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2012 – 5:39 pm

His reps on Wednesday were again extremely limited in the team setting, but Stevie Johnson pulled in his first catch of the spring.

It came right at the end of practice during 7-on-7. Johnson took a deep route down the right side of the field and Ryan Fitzpatrick hit him for a 20-25 yard pickup.

“I think for him, just for us to be able to hook up and for him to feel like he’s part of it again and out there will be important for him to get a few catches,” said Fitzpatrick. “I know the relationship we have and he knows the relationship and rapport we have on and off the field. The big thing is getting him out of minicamp healthy and feeling good and confident. Then I promise you he’s going to catch plenty of balls in training camp and the season.”


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Talk now paired with Aaron’s walk

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2012 – 5:35 pm

Bills CB Aaron Williams has been more apt to voice his feelings along with his play as he enters year two of his NFL career, and there’s a reason for it.

“Like I always say that first year you want to listen more than you talk,” said Williams. “When you get used to everybody’s personality and the chemistry of the team the talk starts to come out especially in minicamp and training camp too. It’s all just competing and grinding and getting each other better. The trash talking is just keeping the confidence up. Even when there’s a bad play I’m not going to let you know that you had me on that play. I’m going to keep going.”

One of the offensive players that makes sure he dishes right back to Williams is his fellow native Texan Fred Jackson, who is often the “spokesperson” for the offense during practice. He was warning Williams that they were targeting him frequently.

“We’re coming to you all day,” said Jackson after Williams likely committed a pass interference penalty on a pass to the end zone intended for Derek Hagan.

But Williams turned in three pass breakups on the day and more than held his own.

“Fred is the biggest kid I know whether he’s 30 or 29, but he keeps me humble and keeps me level-headed. He’s my older brother in the locker room always beating me up,” said Williams. “But he has my back. He took me under his wing when I got here so I’m really blessed to have him.”

Williams is just hoping his performance in training camp can convince the coaching staff that he deserves one of the two starting outside cornerback jobs.


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Shep sitting

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2012 – 2:19 pm

Bills MLB Kelvin Sheppard was participating in individual position drills, but he’s a spectator now.

Shep is not getting reps in team work. We’ll try to get an update after practice.


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Wednesday non-participants

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2012 – 1:54 pm

There’s a new addition to the minicamp mon-participation list here on Wednesday.

Andy Levitre is a spectator with an undisclosed ailment. Here are the others.

Terrence McGee
Eric Wood
Kellen Heard
Erik Pears
Mike Caussin
Torell Troup
Lionel Dotson
Dwan Edwards


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Stevie to clear mental hurdle

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2012 – 6:08 pm

Stevie Johnson was back in the practice setting taking part in 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 team work. Only getting 10 snaps however, Johnson still has to get his mind convinced that coming off of groin surgery his body is healthy again.

“They say it looked good,” said Johnson of the review from the athletic trainers. “I felt like I was a bit slow. Then coming in and cutting to the right it felt heavy. It’s just a mental thing because I didn’t feel any sharp pain like I did last year. That’s why I felt like I’m good. So hopefully tomorrow I’ll just be able to go out there and focus on plays and who is lined up across from me and defense and all that other stuff. Today it was more of if I cut right here will it pop or what is going to happen next? I just feel like if I get a few more plays then I’ll be good.”

Johnson said there was a reason he targeted minicamp to return and it was to get any concerns about his groin out of his head before training camp.

“That’s why I wanted to come out for this minicamp so I can get acquainted to running routes and try to get over the mental aspect of being out there and cutting on my left leg and trying to trust it,” he said. “I don’t want to go into training camp thinking like I’m thinking now out there. I think this is a big step.”

 


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Stevie still going

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2012 – 2:56 pm

WR Stevie Johnson looks like he’s got no restrictions today coming off groin surgery.

Johnson for the first time this spring is taking team reps in practice. More on this later on Buffalobills.com.


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Handful return from injury, absence

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2012 – 2:45 pm

A few Bills players are back in action as Bills minicamp begins.

Stevie Johnson is doing individual position drills. We’ll see if his work goes beyond that as he anticipated.

Aaron Williams is back as is Spencer Johnson as both were dealing with knee irritation according to Chan Gailey.

And Marcell Dareus is back after missing two voluntary days for personal reasons last week.


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Minicamp non-participants

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2012 – 2:37 pm

Here’s the list of non-participants for day one of Bills minicamp.

Terrence McGee
Eric Wood
Kellen Heard
Erik Pears
Mike Caussin
Torell Troup
Lionel Dotson
Dwan Edwards


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Afternoon update

Posted by Chris Brown on June 24, 2010 – 4:51 pm

The minicamp report has been updated with afternoon practice information and highlights. Also check back later in the media lounge for exclusive video highlights of the best plays of the day from Bills minicamp.


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Bills spring camp schedule

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2010 – 10:47 am

Here’s the rundown of Bills OTAs and mandatory minicamp for the upcoming spring.

May 7 – May 9 – Rookie mini-camp (Voluntary for Veterans)
May 25 – May 27 – OTAs
June 1 – June 3 – OTAs
June 4 – June 6 – Mini-camp (Voluntary for Veterans)
June 8 – June 10 – OTAs
June 15 – June 17 – OTAs
June 21 – June 22 – OTAs
June 23 – June 25 – Mandatory mini-camp (Mandatory for all players)

Buffalo’s spring sessions run into late June this year. In previous years the players were usually done by mid-June affording them six weeks off before training camp. Their summer vacation this year will be more like four weeks off.


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