With McCoy and Wood out, Bills offense has struggles

A couple bright spots, but overall not a very good day for the unit

Sal Capaccio
August 01, 2017 - 2:08 pm

USA Today Sports

After a day off the Bills hit the practice field again on Tuesday morning.  Here are some notes and observations:

Participation update: 
DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring) and CB Ronald Darby (ankle) were both full participants. LB Lorenzo Alexander and C Eric Wood got a "veterans day off." RB LeSean McCoy sat out with a bug. Head coach Sean McDermott said they will monitor his progress throughout the day. Colt Anderson (foot), Ian Seau (foot), and Brandon Tate (calf) all sat out once again.

— The Bills have done more 11-on-11 work this early in camp than I can remember from earlier camps, although they still don’t take ball-carriers to the ground.  Tuesday was even more 11-on-11 than it has been for an even longer period of time.

— Maybe it had something to do with LeSean McCoy and Eric Wood both being out.  Maybe it was the day off and losing a good rhythm.  Whatever it was, Tuesday was not a particularly good day for the offense, especially the first unit. None of the QBs, including Tyrod Taylor, were very sharp. Taylor missed what appeared to be a couple of easy throws he should normally complete. At one point, the second team offense was running onto the field and McDermott waved them back to the sideline, apparently because he did not like what he was seeing from the starters and wanted them to stay on the field.

— It wasn't all bad, all the time, for the offense. They actually started the practice very good. The first three plays in 11-on-11 were all situational, as usual. Each unit - first, second, and third team - got to go against the defensive first, second and third teams with one play from the 10-yard line. The offense scored a touchdown on each of those three plays. The first was a pass from Taylor to Sammy Watkins. The second was TJ Yates to Philly Brown. The third was Nathan Peterman to Rod Streater.

— Speaking of Peterman, he usually makes good decisions on where to throw the football. But he had a couple head-scratchers Tuesday. On one play in particular, in the red zone where things are already tight, he threw over the middle, into double coverage, and high. That's checking off three "don't do" boxes all in one pass. Predictably, the ball was knocked away. The offense was lucky it was not intercepted. 

— Logan Thomas appears to be moving up the depth chart at tight end.  He’s now seeing a regular shift on the third team offense behind Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary.

— Linebacker Reggie Ragland continues to only take second team reps at MLB, behind Preston Brown. He was caught covering TE Nick O'Leary on one red zone play and O'Leary had fairly good separation going into the end zone catching an easy pass thrown by Yates.

— Tanner Vallejo continues to get more and more work at multiple LB spots. He started for Alexander at SLB. He's also been working with the second unit at WLB.

— DE Shaq Lawson continues to have an outstanding camp. Once again he was pushing the pocket and getting into the backfield on multiple occasions Tuesday.

— On one red zone play, communication issues from a year ago popped up when LBs Preston Brown and Ramon Humber got their signals crossed and RB Jonathan Williams found his way into the end zone all alone for an easy TD pass and catch. 

— Williams was the primary back with LeSean McCoy out. But Mike Tolbert also got some carries there. Tolbert is such a load when he has the ball. He creates a lot of arm-tackling, because smaller defenders don't want to get in front of him when he gets a head of steam going. 

— Rookie OG Zach Voytek had the hit of the day when he was pulling, got out on the edge, and pancaked Safety Trae Elston.

This was the second-team defense Tuesday:
DT - Adolphus Washington, Jerel Worthy
DE - Ryan Davis, Eddie Yarbrough
SLB - Matt Milano
MLB - Reggie Ragland
WLB - Gerald Hodges
CB - Shareece Wright, Kevon Seymour
S - Trae Elston, Shamiel Gary

— Safety Bacarri Rambo is on the third-team defense right now.  But he still is most likely a little behind learning the defense since he was such a late addition to the roster.

— Behind Brown and Ragland at MLB is Carl Bradford, who called the defense for the third unit.

— WR Walter Powell was helped off the field by trainers after grabbing his foot after falling to the ground attempting to make a catch, but he returned to the field later.

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