Kim is a Rochester, NY native and West Virginia University Grad. She is the Producer of the "John DiTullio Show" weekdays from 3pm-6pm on Sports 1280 WHTK as well as a Bills reporter for WHAM1180.
Bills Beat Reporter
Dan is a Webster, NY native and SUNY Cortland Grad. He's been a member of the WHAM 1180 family since beginning as an intern in January 2009. Dan Produces the "John DiTullio Show" 3pm-6pm weekdays on Sports 1280 WHTK as well as the "Bob Matthews Show" 6pm-8 weekdays on WHAM 1180.
Pictures from the Bills last practice at St. John Fisher
Pictures from Tuesday night's Bills practice at St. John Fisher
Check out pictures from Bills practice at St. John Fisher on August 18th
By: Dan Moriarty (@moriartysports)
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER INJURY
Days like today or weeks like this week are why Buffalo Bills fans feel the team is snake bit. Another day of Bills camp, another key injury. It’s now the third in the first week of camp. Mario Williams, Stevie Johnson and now quarterback Kevin Kolb. The injury to Kolb today just so happens to be the strangest of them all. While the quarterbacks and wide receivers were leaving the practice field and running over to use the field at Growney Stadium, Kolb slipped on the mats between the two fields injuring his knee. Kolb was clearly frustrated as he was being tended to by head trainer Bud Carpenter. After spending a couple minutes on the ground, Kolb took his shoulder pads off, hit them against the fence and limped slowly off the field and into the locker room. Bills coach Doug Marrone said after practice that he didn’t believe the injury to be serious: "He (Kolb) bumped his knee and he’ll just be day by day."
That’s good news for the Bills but bad news for Kolb. Whether he’s the starter or the backup, Kolb is a key part of this year’s team because he’s the only quarterback with experience. He’s been outplayed by EJ Manuel during camp so far but is still an important player even as a backup. This injury sets Kolb back in the race to become the starting quarterback. Kolb had been getting a majority of the first team reps with Manuel getting more and more every day. I talked earlier this week about how precious first team reps are and now if Kolb misses a few days he’ll be playing catch-up. This has to be incredibly disappointing for Kolb, who was coming off his best practice of camp on Friday night. The rookie may have been nipping at his heels but he definitely had a chance to win the number 1 job at QB. He still can but that task now becomes more difficult, especially with the way Manuel performed today.
MANUEL MAKES MOST OF EXTRA REPS
Despite being without the team’s number 1 wide receiver (Stevie Johnson), EJ Manuel made the most of his opportunity today when Kolb went down with his knee injury. Manuel has been getting more reps with the 1’s each day but today he was forced into taking over all the first team reps when Kolb had to leave practice. Manuel was locked in today and so was the rest of the offense. They’ve looked pretty good now two straight days after a very solid Friday practice as well. The offensive line had their best day of camp so far and this happened to be the most important one for them because they went live for short yardage and goal line.
Manuel found Robert Woods often and looked sharp throughout the practice session. He used his legs on a couple of occasions, both eluding the blitz and on designed roll outs. His most impressive run being a 20+ yarder along the left sideline on a designed keeper. He also showed he’s willing to slide when necessary. There is something to be said about a player that’s ready when their number is called and Manuel showed that today.
Marrone: "…you look to see how EJ [Manuel] and Jeff [Tuel] would react, both of them, to see where you are. It was a very smooth transition, which is a positive…And the team just went on with practice. And I think that certain other situations when you have that quarterback and those things happen, it can affect a team. Where I didn’t see that (today). And I didn’t see it affect the two guys behind him. So that’s a positive."
STEVIE OUT "AWHILE"
The Bills practiced today without their top receiving threat, who "pulled" his hamstring near the end of Friday’s practice during a red zone session. Stevie Johnson began his day off to the side working with the training staff and riding a stationary bike before being relegated to spectator on the sideline during practice.
Doug Marrone said after practice it’ll be some time before he’s back on the field…
"He’s going to be out for a while. We’re going to make sure we work hard to get him back as soon as we possibly can. He’s going to be out for a while and what I mean by a while is it’s going to be at least a week and after that I’ll probably come out with something and see where we are by then."
Johnson is obviously an important piece because of his consistency over the last 3 seasons. He’s the first wide receiver in Bills history with three straight 1,000 yard seasons and he hasn’t missed a game during that span. This is also a very young receiving corps behind the veteran Johnson. Robert Woods, TJ Graham, Marquise Goodwin and Da’Rick Rogers are all talented WR’s but have a combined 31 receptions. All of which belong to second year wideout TJ Graham. So the Bills are going to need Johnson to be healthy when the season gets underway and he believes that’ll be the case…
"Yeah, definitely. The season is where the money is made and I’ll be out there to play."
Now Johnson hasn’t missed any games the last three years but he has struggled with nagging injuries in training camp on a fairly regular basis…
"It has happened every training camp. Every training camp I’ve had an injury but working with the guys they’ve always got me out there for Week One and for the rest of the season. Hopefully it is the same thing, just something that affects me for this amount of time and then when the season comes, I’ll be ready to go."
TIME FOR YOUNG WRS TO STEP UP
With Stevie Johnson going down, the pressure is now squarely on the shoulders of the young wide receivers behind him. That young group stepped it up in their first practice without their leading receiver. Robert Woods continued to impress. He’s lining up in the slot and on the outside at the X & Z. The versatility when paired with his ability is going to get Woods on the field a lot as a rookie.
Marrone: "It is important because you need that versatility. When you have that versatility, you don’t have to slot someone in. You can take your best five or your best six and they can make the squad…When you look at Stevie (Johnson), Robert (Woods) and Marquise Goodwin, those are three guys that can play all three."
After practice Robert Woods talked about Stevie Johnson’s injury and how the young guys can take advantage of the extra reps…
"I think this opportunity is great for us rookies to come in and all the other receivers as well. It is a great opportunity to put more on film and get more reps. Stevie is down right now, more stuff to put on film for the coaches to look at for their review."
Johnson agreed that the added reps will help the other WRs. He talked about Woods specifically, raving about his ability: "You guys see what he does out there. Even the little things we watch are amazing. I’m happy that we have him on our team."
Marquise Goodwin continues to improve each practice and was another guy who benefited from the Johnson injury. Wide receivers were rotating in and out but the three that were out there the most were Graham & Goodwin on the outside with Woods in the slot.
Woods also had the chance to lineup on the outside against Stephon Gilmore, an opportunity that he relished….
"I definitely love that part of it, going out here and competing against one of our best corners. He’s going to give me the best challenge out here, so every chance I get to compete against him, I love that opportunity and try to make a play against him."
OFFENSE > DEFENSE
The offense got the better of the defense today, especially in short yardage and goal line situations. The offense scored 7 of the 8 times in goal line. Fred Jackson got the goal line session started with an off tackle run to the left side where he powered through a tackle to squeeze into the end zone. Two of the TDs came on tackle eligible plays with Thomas Welch & Sam Young each catching passes. The goal line and short yardage was the best showing from the offensive line all camp and is a positive sign for them. Obviously that’s not a great sign for the defense which struggled mightily in those situations. The offense has really stepped up their play the last two practices.
Practice begins at 2pm and is open to the public.