Buffalo Bills Night Practice: 5 Notes from Saturday’s Blue-White Scrimmage

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Randell Johnson (#58) and members of the Buffalo Bills linebackers corps at St. John Fisher College/ Before edit from @Iceyvick

 

Buffalo Bills night practice at St. John Fisher College on Saturday featured the teams first real live scrimmage of the summer with pads. While Rex Ryan only kept the players out on the field for a little over an hour due to a lack of depth, it was a competitive and entertaining session from the start.

Both sides of the ball had its moments as the defense wore Blue and the offense donned white, hence the name of the intrasquad matchup. It’s too early for any definitive conclusions but from key players returning to pre-injury form to new faces making an impact, here are five takeways from Saturday’s Buffalo Bills night practice:

 

1. Aaron Williams looks healthy and aggressive

After handling a scary neck injury that lingered for most of last season, the starting safety is back and not shying away from contact. As he’s done since the beginning of training camp Williams made a number of big hits that you could hear from the stands.

Even when the offensive busted off a decent gain #23 was there to lay a thud at the end of the play before going out of bounds. This is a great sign for a Bills defense that struggled mightily without Williams one season ago.

 

2. Tyrod Taylor working intermediate passing routes

T-Mobile started off the scrimmage with a 3 and out on offense but quickly got into a rhythm to finish out a solid night. Taylor was able to connect on most of his intermediate throws and worked well with receiver Marquise Goodwin (except on a missed slant) as the two hooked up for a couple notable gains.

Tyrod finished the scrimmage 8-11 with 89 passing yards and one touchdown. His one scoring toss went to Robert Woods for 36-yard touchdown on a slick double move by the receiver.

 

3. Eric Striker is Fast

The undrafted rookie linebacker’s success is predicated on speed as he’s considered undersized for the position. Striker definitely utilized that quickness on Saturday night as the Bills offensive line had issues blocking him on numerous occasions.


I’m not quite sure if that was the offensive line playing poorly or Striker just playing that good, but I’ll bet its a mixture of both. With all of the hype the former Oklahoma Sooners standout has garnered since signing with Buffalo, he hasn’t dissapointed. Any contributions this season let alone making the final 53-man roster would be a good deal for both Eric and the Bills.

 

4. Randell Johnson and Zach Brown to the rescue?

If last year’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year Reggie Ragland misses any substantial game time with his recent non-contact knee injury, Randell Johnson and newly-acquired Zach Brown will have to play anext even more pivotal role on defense. Brown is already noted as one of the fastest linebackers in the league as the Bills got a first hand look at that last season when he intercepted Tyrod Taylor along the sidelines during week 5. He was making plays again on Saturday.


Johnson, a former seventh-round pick in 2014 has a promising set of skills but missed last season due to injury. He got heavy reps with the 2nd and 3rd team defense during the scrimmage and will be a player to keep an eye on as camp continues.

 

5.  Flash Flashes, Again

As he seems to do just about every training camp, Marquise Goodwin had a a few big plays during a productive night session. He started with the first team offense and was able to hookup with Taylor on a couple passes.

When running with the second team offense he used his speed to break past the defense and haul in a 40-yard touchdown from E.J. Manuel. The kid is effective when healthy. Hopefully he can stay that way the rest of the summer and throughout the fall.

 

More:

-Cordy Glenn injured his ankle on a 4th and short play in which the offense failed to convert. The starting left-tackle walked off the field on his own as the injury doesn’t appear to be terribly serious.

-Rookie running back Jonathan Williams showed flashes on Saturday night including a 20-yard scamper that he finished by running over the defender.