With the Bills getting their first full taste of game-like experience for the first time in 2016, here are some important notes to take away from the Bills scrimmage:
Cordy Glenn Leaves Scrimmage
After already receiving a scare from Reggie Ragland yesterday, the Bills got their second scare when Cordy Glenn got tangled up during the scrimmage and came up limping.
Cordy Glenn walked with two trainers to the locker room after being able to walk to the sideline. After the scrimmage, it was announced that Cordy Glenn has suffered an ankle injury. The severity of the injury is unknown, and we’ll have to wait for the official word. Nonetheless, if Cordy’s injury is anything serious, it would be a huge blow to the Bills offense.
With Reggie Ragland already a threat to miss some regular season time (knee), while mixing in the mystery surrounding Sammy’s health (foot), and the unknown aspect of Aaron Williams potential career threatening neck injury, losing another quality starter like Glenn in the wake of an important season for the Bills franchise would be a major setback. All we can do is hope for the best.
All three quarterbacks delivered during the scrimmage. First off, Tyrod Taylor, after a rusty start to camp, displayed why he is the unanimous starter heading into 2016. Taylor went 8-11 for 89 yards and a TD to cap off a solid night. Taylor’s touchdown pass was hauled in by starting wide receiver Robert Woods, as Taylor connected with Woods down the right sideline for a 36-yard touchdown.
EJ Manuel also had a solid night, overall. EJ went 3-5 for 60 yards along with TD and a INT. Manuel came out with a bang as he ignited the drive with a 25-yard pass hookup with wide receiver Greg Little, and eventually connecting with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on a beautiful 43-yard touchdown pass. Manuel’s interception came on a dropped pass by tight end Nick O’Leary that tipped in the air right into Corey Graham’s hands. All in all, Manuel’s night was solid, as he’s beginning to solidify his status as the Bills’ backup quarterback.
Finally, Cardale Jones, the supposively ‘developmental quarterback project’ on the roster, had himself a promising night of what hopefully is to come.
The Ohio State product finished the night with a stat-line of 5-for-9 and 78 yards passing, including a 52 yard bomb to Jarrett Boykin. Cardale also flashed his ability to scramble as he scampered for 28 yards on 4 rushing attempts. Although Cardale had two notable misses in the end zone, which forced a 26-yard field goal, he displayed the potential that warranted a 4th round selection by the Buffalo Bills: the arm strength, mobility, and his sheer size were all on display.
No one is doubting his physical ability. It’s the mental side of the game of football that he must grasp. With Tyrod and EJ planted firmly ahead of him on the depth chart, Cardale will have time to hone his craft, and may, possibly, one day become the Bills franchise quarterback. Nevertheless, it was a good first-showing for the rookie quarterback.
Marquise Goodwin Stands Out
One of the biggest battles many Bills’ fans have had their eye’s on heading into camp is the open competition behind starting wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. Previous to the scrimmage on Saturday night, it appears no one has had a firm grasp on the No. 3 spot.
However, Saturday night may have saw one receiver separate from the rest of the pack: Marquise Goodwin. During the scrimmage, on four targets, Goodwin hauled in three receptions for 61 yards and a TD from EJ Manuel. Going up against starting cornerbacks, Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, and roster hopefuls, Kevon Seymour and Mario Butler, Goodwin always appeared to have an extra step on his guy. It’s possible that if Tyrod didn’t throw an errant ball, Goodwin may of had hauled in all of his targets.
With Goodwin putting together a strong summer, together with staying healthy, there’s still time for him to shake his bust-status and validate his third round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. Although it was only a team scrimmage, Goodwin will need to produce in the pre-season as well to prove to the coaching staff he can remain consistent. However, you have to give credit where credit is due, and Marquise Goodwin stood out from the other wide receivers, not named Robert Woods, tonight.
Eric Striker Dominates
The un-drafted outside linebacker out of Oklahoma has shown why he was a hot pick-up after the draft. Although undersized for the position at a meer height of 5’11”, Striker makes up height for his explosiveness, and that was on display Saturday night at Bills camp. Striker was given credit for two sacks, and was mostly unblockable. No tackle as it appeared couldn’t match his speed and tenacity coming off the edge.
With the Bills only having three healthy linebackers available for the scrimmage, it certainly helped Striker attract the spotlight, and he definitely took advantage of it. With the slew of injuries the Bills are dealing with, I’d expect Striker to only improve heading into pre-season action, and perhaps his strong performances could catapult him a starting job depending on the healthy of rookie ‘backers Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland. Striker is already enjoying a strong camp, as he’s running with the first-team on a consistent basis. Eric Striker is one to keep an eye on in the following weeks for sure.
Johnathan Williams, Mike Gillislee Shine
Another intriguing battle that is ongoing at Bills camp is the fight for backing up all-pro running back LeSean McCoy. In today’s scrimmage, Jonathan Williams and Mike Gillislee hauled in impressive days. Williams showed off his speed and vision, specifically on a 19-yard gain when he hit the hole blowing by nearby linebackers and defensive backs. Williams finished with a final total of three carries for 22 yards rushing while also adding one reception for five yards, as well. Mike Gillislee also looked the part. Mike finished the day with four carries for 21 yards rushing, looking equally impressive as Jonathan Williams.
With fellow running back Karlos Williams facing a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season, this is a vital time for players like Williams and Gillislee to receive the touches they need to show the coaches they’re worth a roster spot. After Saturday’s scrimmage, it doesn’t look like the Bills are short on running backs.
Nick O’Leary’s Stock Falling
Regarding the race for backing-up starting tight-end Charles Clay, it looks like things are going south for Nick O’Leary. The former Florida State Seminole hasn’t proved to the Bills he was worth a sixth-round selection with his underwhelming play. In the scrimmage, O’Leary was targeted twice for one reception and only two yards receiving. The notable lapse in O’Leary’s game today was his drop that turned into a Corey Graham interception.
While already being on the outside looking in, it’s safe to say O’Leary has very little room for error from here on out. He’ll have to have a spectacular rest of camp and pre-season in order to have a chance to make the roster.
- Rex Ryan stated that star defensive lineman Marcell Dareus will return to practice next week after working on the sideline to start camp.
- Sammy Watkins is expected to make his camp debut next week, as well.
- Rex Ryan and the Bills medical staff will receive ‘second opinion’ regarding Reggie Ragland’s apparent knee injury. Rex states he’s “very concerned”.
The Bills will have Sunday off and will be back on the field on Monday, August 7th from 10 am to 12 pm.
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