When the Buffalo Bills hired Mike Pettine away from the New York...
Bills Training Camp: 3 Thoughts
1. Now that training camp has arrived, so too have the injuries. Torell Troup, Terrence McGee, and Erik Pears continued to be limited, while David Nelson (bruised leg), Kellen Heard, and Shawne Merriman (rolled ankle) have been added to the list of those held back from participation in practice. While none appear to be huge, it is worth a single raised eyebrow that Merriman has rolled his ankle, considering he is coming off a surgery repairing his achilles tendon. Merriman being injured is not shocking, but if he were to contend with yet another injury that kept him off the field, that would leave the Bills with only 3 DEs with any real success at the NFL level. Some of last year’s OLBs will also compete for a DE spot, such as Danny Batten, Robert Eddins, and Spencer Johnson (I still can’t believe Spencer Johnson, a 3-spins on the weight scale DT, played OLB). Batten looked very lackluster last year, Eddins made the team last year but never saw the field, and Spencer Johnson is a DT. Kyle Moore, who you may remember from spot work at DE at the end of last season, but he’s never managed to accomplish anything in his NFL career.
Point is, if the Merriman injury is (yet again) serious, we are one injury away from seeing a repeat of the parade from last year of mediocre DE that can’t pressure the pass. Never thought Chris Kelsay would be that important, did you?
2. A lot has been made of how neither back up QB candidate has looked passable so far (John Kucko called Vince Young “awful”, Joe Busacglia said Tyler Thigpen’s day was “one to forget.”) HOWEVAH, Buddy Nix mentioned recently that Vince Young strengths are never going to show up in camp, referencing his ability to extend plays on the ground. Buddy quickly hedged, trying to avoid tipping that perhaps Vinsanity doesn’t have to look quite as sharp as Thigpen will have to in order to win the 2nd string QB job and not be cut. However, to me this revealed exactly that; the coaches are liking determining if they are comfortable with Vince running the office. If he succeeds, Thigpen’s gone.
3. Safety depth still needs to be addressed. With Bryan Scott moving full time to his hybrid nickel linebacker role that was created for him, the Bills have only 3 safeties with any experience on the team. Jairus Byrd is a stud who needs to be resigned, George Wilson is passable if overrated due to timely interceptions overshadowing coverage deficiencies, and promising if inexperienced Da’Norris Searcy. After that, Josh Nesbitt was on the practice squad at safety last year after being moved over from QB, although he left practice early yesterday.
Basically, the Bills need another player with some experience to play safety. Some talk has been made of bringing back former Jets/Ravens/Bills safety Jim Leonhard (not a fan of this idea, he’s slow in coverage) or Nick Collins who the Packers chose not to bring back. I think the more likely route the Bills will go is to pursue the waiver wire, especially on cuts weekend at the end of next month.