10 more observations from Friday’s Bills practice

Donald

Bills WR Donald Jones — yeah, morning walkthroughs lack excitment. (my photo from Friday)

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Ten other observations from the Buffalo Bills’ afternoon practice in shells on Friday afternoon at St. John Fisher College:

1. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is almost always dead-on accurate, and has made few bad throwing decisions in the three OTAs and one camp practice I’ve attended. He is wholly comfortable and confident in this offence. That goes two ways. Head coach Chan Gailey and GM Buddy Nix underscored in separate interviews with me on Friday their confidence in Fitz to lead this offence and this team to the playoffs.

Cordy

2. Cordy Glenn (right) is friggin’ huge. He’s listed at 6-foot-6, 345 pounds. He must have had one foot off the scales when they weighed him. His listed weight reminds me of a story Lee Corso once told on a USFL broadcast, about a player who weighed 345. His nickname? “Quarter-to-four.”

3. Glenn, a rookie, is battling second-year man Chris Hairston (below right) for the key left-tackle starting spot. Glenn appeared to struggle quite a bit on Friday while working with the ones. Late in the 11-on-11s, backup defensive end Kyle Moore kept blowing past him. But it’s early. Hairston worked with the twos on Friday (he and Glenn are alternating by day) and had his struggles at times too. Nothing counts, Gailey reiterated Friday, until Saturday’s scheduled first practice of the year in full pads.

Chris4. After Leodis McKelvin left practice with an illness, rookie Ron Brooks got quite a few reps with the ones at nickelback, covering the slot receiver. As defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt told me last month, Brooks is super fast and athletic. Just raw. Justin Rogers also got time at slot CB.

5. The punters were killing it. Starter Brian Moorman and undrafted rookie Shawn Powell had a healthy wind at their backs, granted. But by my count both twice launched rockets from their own 20 that landed between the 5 and the 15 of the opponent. And I wasn’t paying attention the whole time they were punting.

6. The OL with the ones in the final 11-on-11 reps on Friday were, left to right: Glenn at LT, Andy Levitre at LG, Kraig Urbik filling in for still-recovering Eric Wood at C, Chad Rinehart at RG and Sam Young at RT, with Erik Pears seemingly stretching out a leg tweak.

7. CB Stephon Gilmore, the Bills’ No. 10 overall draft pick in April, seemed to be playing less press-man coverage in 11-on-11s than I remembered from OTAs. That is insignificant, as Gailey told me earlier the coaches are mightily impressed with Gilmore’s press-coverage abilities. Gilmore made a few stellar plays Friday, including a first-rate PBU against Derek Hagan on a quick slant. Gilmore is the real deal.

8. Fullback Corey McIntyre, an eight-year man out of West Virginia, had a couple of nice grabs — including a deep one after being flanked wide, which might have gone for six in a game. McIntyre is listed at 6-foot, 245, but appears shorter and heavier than that, with remarkable agility and speed for a man so squatly built.

9. Fans and media alike got a brief, glorious chance to watch up close DL coach Giff Smith working out his players on a huge blocking sled, on the defence’s practice field. The sled was situated less than 20 feet from the end fence, where more and more people started gathering. It was a rare chance to see, hear and practically feel the violence of the collisions that occur all game long in the NFL.

10. Star DE Mario Williams stayed and signed autographs as long as any other player afterward. He was swarmed. It prompted some of the loudest yelling of the day from Bills fans.

Hopefully the weather co-operates on Saturday afternoon. At 8 a.m., it was dismal, overcast and had rained a bunch overnight. Now at 10 a.m. it’s merely overcast. We’ll see.

On Sunday, my nine-day, seven-team NFL camps trip continues. Second stop: New York Jets camp in Cortland, N.Y.

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