Camp Observations: The players have a day off today, under the CBA they now have to be given a day off every five days in training camp. With four practices in the books it is a good time to make a few very early observations. As it usually is this early in camp, the defense is ahead of the offense. It is a bit troubling how much EJ Manuel is struggling but very encouraging how great Sammy Watkins looks. Kraig Urbik has really struggled at right guard and he may lose his job to former starting tackle Chris Hairston who is trying to make a comeback after missing all of last year with an illness. The kicking battle is over before it started but the punting battle is a good one. Jeff Tuel had a very good offseason on the field and now has a chance to win the backup QB job. Nickell Robey and Jerry Hughes stand out on the defensive side of the ball as Robey looks to lock in the nickel spot for a second year and Hughes looks to put the drag racing incident behind him.
Day 4 Of Camp: The Bills practiced in pads for a second straight morning today. Chris Gragg, Evan Rodriguez, and Brandon Smith did not practice for a second straight day. Smith is out indefinitely with a lower body injury. Gragg and Rodriguez are sidelined with cramps. Both men were in the hospital. Rodriguez has been released but Gragg remains in the hospital as of the end of practice. Marcell Dareus was working on the side on a stationary bike with Alan Branch. The offense rebounded from a poor performance on Tuesday and Sammy Watkins made a beautiful one handed grab for a score. That was one of many fine catches including a TD reception by C.J. Spiller and a nice catch against his helmet by Robert Woods and a solid grab by T.J. Graham. J.J. 'Unga limped off but quickly returned. Chris Hairston got some first team reps at right guard after Kraig Urbik struggled mightily in practice yesterday. Doug Marrone said after practice that the spot is up for grabs. There is no practice tomorrow as the players are off. Injury Page.
Dareus Statement: The Bills have released a statement from Marcell Dareus that stated: "After dealing with a personal matter in Alabama, I am excited to return to training camp to rejoin my teammates in our preparations for the 2014 season. Right now, my focus is on earning the trust of my teammates, coaches and the fans while continuing to improve as a football player. I have a passion for this game and I want to be here to help this organization achieve its goals. There are things I need to work on professionally and personally to make sure I can be accountable to myself, my family, this team and this community. My focus will remain on achieving that goal one day at a time. I want to thank the Bills organization, coach Marrone and the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans for their continued support."
Bills Swap LBs: The Bills have released injured linebacker Darrin Kitchens and replaced him with Xavius Boyd. Kitchens was carted off the field yesterday after injuring his leg. He will likely reach an injury settlement with the team.
First Morning Practice: The Bills held their first morning practice of training camp bright and early at 8am today. It was also their first practice in pads and by all accounts the offense struggled mightily. Brandon Spikes returned to practice after leaving with cramps yesterday. Cordy Glenn and Randell Johnson remain on PUP lists but both were seen walking around the practice field. Missing practice today were Darrin Kitchens, Brandon Smith, Evan Rodriguez, and Chris Gragg. Kitchens was carted off yesterday and Smith left early with a leg contusion. Both players will be sidelined some time with lower body injuries according to Coach Marrone. Anthony Dixon and Kenny Ladler both got nicked up near the end of the practice. Dixon seemed ok according to twitter reports. Seantrel Henderson left with trainers after practice. Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis alternated 2nd team reps at QB and the coach confirmed it is an open competition. Dan Carpenter has won the kicking job after going 15 of 16 on field goal attempts so far in camp. The coach said Dustin Hopkins will have to play is way on the team as a kickoff specialist. Marcell Dareus was due back last night but didn't make it because his flight was cancelled. Injury Page.
Dareus Accepted Into Program:Marcell Dareus was accepted into a pre-trial diversion program in Alabama. Once he successfully completes the program his two felony counts could be dismissed. Under a new Alabama law he could also have his record expunged. He would still enter the NFL's substance abuse program and provide the court with periodic updates.
Henderson Back On The Field:Seantrel Henderson returned to practice today after leaving early yesterday with a hip injury. He was back with the first team at left tackle pushing Chris Hairston back to the 2nd team at right guard. Marquise Goodwin was also back on the field after leaving early because of Asthma. Nigel Bradham once again took most of the first team reps at weakside linebacker while Stefan Charles took first team reps at defensive tackle a day after Corbin Bryant got most of Marcell Dareus frist team reps. Sammy Watkins and Jerry Hughes seemed to shine today according to media twitter reports. Watkins gave everyone a scare when he got poked in the eye and was slow to get up. He did return after the special teams drill. ESPN broadcasted the whole Watkins injury incident live. Darrin Kitchens was carted off the field during practice while Brandon Smith limped off. Brandon Spikes didn't make it through the practice as he was taken to the cooling tent. Da'Norris Searcy and Robert Woods got into the first tussle of camp. Marcell Dareus was excused from camp to deal with personal stuff but is due back tonight. Injury Page.
Bills Make Roster Moves: The team continues to tweak the roster as they added two more players including bringing in some depth at the defensive tackle position and bringing back an old friend. Perhaps as some training camp insurance for Marcell Dareus the team has signed DT Landon Cohen and brought back former UB WR Naaman Roosevelt. He caught 25 passes for the Bills in 2010 and 2011 and was most recently with the Lions this offseason. Cohen played for Jim Schwartz and appeared in 14 games for him in Detroit in 2009. The Bills will be his fifth team in the past five years. He played in 12 games for the Bears last year. To make room on the roster the team released WR Ramses Barden and LB Nathan Williams. Front Office Page.
Dareus Due Today: ESPN's Sal Paolontonio reports that Marcell Dareus is due at training camp today. He is not expected to take his conditioning test until Thursday or Friday at the earliest. The team is off on Thursday so the first chance he will practice would be Friday or Saturday night. Depth Chart.
Goodwin Ok:Marquise Goodwin left practice early yesterday but he later tweeted he wasn't hurt. It was a medical condition saying his asthma and sickle cell anemia got the better of him. He should be ok for today's practice that begins at 2pm. Chris Gragg likely will be on the field as well he suffered a cramp during last night's workout. It is unknown if Seantrel Henderson will be available after leaving early with a hip injury last night. Injury Page.
Dareus Fails Conditioning Test; Henderson, Goodwin Hurt: Doug Marrone addressed the media before tonight's first practice of this year's training camp. He said that Marcell Dareus failed his conditioning test so that is why he ended up on the Active PUP/Non-Football Injury List. He doesn't expect it to be a long term thing but it is disconcerting that he is out of shape after his troublesome offseason. Marrone would not elaborate on the illness that has Cordy Glenn sidelined and wouldn't give a timetable for his return. 7th round pick Seantrel Henderson got first shot at left tackle but left the opening practice early after suffering what looks like a hip injury. Chris Hairston immediately moved back to his natural tackle spot to take over the QBs blindside. Marquise Goodwin left practice early after getting looked at by trainers, he then headed to the locker room before the rest of the team. Nigel Bradham appears to be getting the first shot at weakside linebacker in place of Kiko Alonso.
'Unga Activated: The Bills hit the practice field for their first full, open practice tonight at 6pm at St. John Fisher College. You need a ticket for tonight's practice and they are free but they are also all gone. The moves on and off the various PUP lists continue. J.J. 'Unga was placed on the PUP/Active Non-Football Injury list yesterday but taken off this morning leaving Marcell Dareus, Kiko Alonso, and Randell Johnson on that list. Cordy Glenn and Aaron Branch remanin on the PUP/Active Non-Football Illness list. The team was waiting on some more test results before activating Branch.
Dareus, 'Unga On PUP List: The Bills held conditioning drills on Saturday. Mike Williams said he is 100% healthy as he has recovered from a bad hamstring injury suffered in Tampa Bay last season. The team has placed Marcell Dareus and J.J. 'Unga on the PUP/Active Non-Football Injury list. They took Leodis McKelvin off of the Active PUP list.
Bon Jovi Group Change Of Heart? The Toronto Sun is now reporting that sources tell them the Toronto based group led by Jon Bon Jovi, Larry Tanenbaum, and the Rogers family plans to keep the team in Western New York. Of course they have to say that to have any chance at winning the battle for the team. It is doubtful anyone will really believe that they wouldn't be just biding their time until they could move the team North of the border.
Bills Sign Two: The Bills filled the two open roster spots on their 90 man training camp sqaud today. They announced the signing of WR Tori Gurley and DB Kamaal McIlwain. They take the spots of Cordell Roberson and Darius Robinson who were released yesterday. Gurley and McIlwain took part in the minicamp tryout. Gurley played in three games last year with the Browns making one catch. McIlwain spent time with the Chiefs last summer. Front Office Page.
Bon Jovi Confirmed Interest: Associated Press and the Buffalo News confirmed yesterday that Jon Bon Jovi is indeed part of a Toronto group interested in buying the Bills. That group also reportedly has Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Entertainment and perhaps the Rogers family as well. That would be a powerful financial group that most assume would be looking to move the team to Toronto the first chance they get.
Glenn Day To Day: Doug Whaley said that Cordy Glenn is day to day as he remains on the Active/Non-Football Illness list. He said they are still waiting on some reports and will see how it progreses. When asked if the illness could threathen his season, Whaley said he hopes not but they still have to wait and see how it progresses. In other injury news, Kiko Alonso had to successful sugery on his torn ACL and will rejoin the team after training camp in Orchard Park.
Two Released: Before training camp even gets officially underway the Bills have released two players. WR Cordell Roberson and CB Darius Robinson. Both players were longshots to make the roster and they both battled injuries throughout the offseason workouts. The roster is at 88 players leaving them two open spots on the 90 man training camp roster. Depth Chart.
Players Shuffle In: Today was the day that everyone's twitter timelines were cluttered with pictures of players walking through a parking lot to a dorm room with luggage and electronics in tow. Fred Jackson created a buzz when he showed up in his Mercedes mini RV with his whole family. Aaron Williams took some time to play with one of Jackson's children. Williams said he is sick of losing and the entire attitude of the team needs to change to make them winners. He is learning from Jackson on how to be a leader. Jackson was soaking it all in as he enters in ninth year. Marquise Goodwin didn't bring a lot with him saying he doesn't need a TV just his playbook and bible.
Players Report: Today is move in day at St. John Fisher College as the Bills are the first team to report to training camp. All of the players are expected on campus today and the first practice is Sunday night at 6pm. You need a ticket for that practice. Bills Daily will have you covered with the latest news and notes from training camp each day.