Bills Need Much Work After Scrimmage
As the busy summer continues the Bills ended the week with a day off after scrimmaging with the Browns on Saturday. The team struggled in many areas during that scrimmage meanwhile in Canton Ohio former Bills coach Marv Levy was getting the ultimate honor, enshrinement in the hall of fame. We take a closer look at all the news and give you our take on the issues:Marv Levy was very eloquent in his 14 minute speech as he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bill Polian was almost as eloquent in presenting Levy for induction. Many former players were in attendance including Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Darryl Talley, Don Beebe, Kent Hull, and Steve Tasker. Our Take: Levy showed the whole league his class, professionalism and the character of those great Bills teams. He deserves to be in Canton and it should help open the door for a few other inductions of Bills down the line.
The Bills meanwhile held one practice with the Browns on Friday before scrimmaging against them on Saturday. An earlier practice on Friday morning was cancelled when lightning struck in the area. The two teams only managed one score apiece during the regular part of the scrimmage. Rob Johnson led the Bills on their only scoring drive, which was capped off by a one yard plunge from Shawn Bryson. In goal line drills the Browns scored four times while the Bills only scored once making the final score an inflated 30-12 Cleveland. The Bills running game worked well gaining 126 yards on the ground but pass protection broke down allowing 11 so called sacks. Ruben Brown was ejected for fighting. The starting defense played only one series and held their own but the goal line defense was awful. Friday's practice was a prelim of what was to come as Johnson was running for his life then also. He did manage to hit Eric Moulds for a score while Alex Van Pelt hit Dan O'Leary for a score. Our Take: New season, new attitude, new regime, same old offensive line problems, same old scrambling by the quarterback. They need to get the old habits out of the players systems fast! The best news from the scrimmage was that nobody got injured.
In other practice news, Jeremy McDaniel suffered a sprained ankle during the prime time practice on Monday night. The crowd was very enthusiastic for the night session. John Fina is also out with a sprained calf muscle. All of the other injured players are still out with various minor ailments except Corey Moore who was activated off of the PUP list after lobbying effectively for his re-instatement. Matt Davison pulled a quad muscle and then left camp. Antoine Winfield grumbled that all the extra running may have contributed to the rash of injuries, joining the ire of Coach Williams. The players continued to practice various situations including full contact goal line drills, and a two minute drill with the offense trying to hold on to a lead. The club continues to practice at a high intensity level. Johnson continues to have a good camp and was rested on Thursday so he would be ready to go at full strength for the scrimmage. Our Take: The injuries seem to have settled down a bit as there were less of them this week. Davison had no chance of making the team so his leaving camp is a non-factor. Moore's activation was definitely needed. Winfield needs to be quiet and do what the coach says.
Rob Johnson talked to the media on Tuesday and said his struggles during the Monday night practice was because of the absence of injured Jay Riemersma and Jeremy McDaniel. He talked about how he needs to pick up the offense this year and he doesn't have the luxury to take two or three years to learn it like others have. Johnson says he does feel good about his progress in learning the new system. Our Take: Johnson seems to be putting a lot of pressure on himself, lets hope he can hold up under the stress of being the man.
Other notes from the week on the field, Coach Williams said he plans on using Phil Hansen inside more often as a tackle next to Pat Williams. He played there on obvious passing downs last year but he may play inside on 2nd downs also. That will open up more playing time for Aaron Schobel and Bryce Fisher while taking time away from Shawn Price. At linebacker, the coach is impressed with this group and said the 4-3 defense lends itself to the speed of players like Jay Foreman, Kenyatta Wright and Junior Robinson. Our Take: Hansen playing inside more seems to be a logical fit. The club has more rushers on the end than tackles and Fisher, Schobel, or Corey Moore can play at Hansen's end spot. We expect Foreman to play very well as the starter at weakside linebacker.
The death of Vikings star Korey Stringer sent shockwaves through the entire league. Coach Williams made strength and conditioning Coach Rusty Jones available to the press to tell about the in-depth program the Bills have to protect the players against the heat and dehydration. The players and coaches said a prayer for his family after Wednesday morning's practice. Our Take: This is a tragedy and hopefully players will listen to the coaches more about drinking plenty of liquids. It won't change how the team trains however.
Tickets for the second prime time practice were gone from Wegmans stores an hour before they were expected to be handed out. This snafu prompted the Bills to schedule full team autograph sessions five times over the next few weeks of camp. The full team sessions will take place after the afternoon practice on Aug. 10th, the morning practice on Aug. 11th, the afternoon practice on Aug. 16th and 17th, and after both practices on Aug. 21st. Our Take: This is a good move by the Bills considering the mess of things Wegmans made of the ticket distribution. Expect more primetime practices next year since it is such a hit.
The Bills opened up their much anticipated 2,000 square foot merchandise store on Wednesday. It is located in front of the fieldhouse and will specialize in exclusive merchandise like previously worn player jerseys. Our Take: It will quickly become a must stop on gameday.
The Bills announced on Tuesday that Sam Cowart will serve as the spokesperson in a combined effort between the Bills and Verizon Wireless. The program Cowart will be involved with is the urging of people to donate used cell phones so they can be distributed to victims of domestic abuse. Our Take: A good cause for Cowart to be involved with.
Eric Moulds had a 30 day jail term hanging over his head for failure to pay child support. That case is now over. Moulds avoided jail as the Mississippi supreme court directed a judge to recalculate how much money Moulds owes. Moulds was accused in 1999 of failure to make three payments. Our Take: He can now concentrate fully on the task at hand, playing football.
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