Buffalo Bills practice observations

July, 29, 2013
7/29/13
7:08
PM ET
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills continued their training camp on Monday afternoon, holding practice on the campus of St. John Fisher College.

Following the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, players were in light shoulder pads for a second consecutive practice. Full-padded practices can begin as soon as Tuesday.

Attendance report: After watching Sunday's practice from the sidelines, defensive end Mario Williams was off campus being evaluated by doctors, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Offensive lineman Chris Hairston was the only other player not participating. He remains on the active/physically unable to perform list and was working with the strength staff on the sidelines.

Kyle Williams remains limited: Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (Achilles) continued to be held out of team drills as he recovers from offseason surgery. In his place, the Bills again shifted personnel along their defensive line. It appeared that Marcell Dareus saw more action than he did on Sunday evening. To begin 11-on-11s, he lined up at nose tackle, flanked by Alex Carrington and Jay Ross. Another alignment saw Dareus at defensive end, with Torell Troup at nose tackle alongside Carrington.

Heavy use of sub packages, blitzing: One cornerstone of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's system is blitzes from players in the secondary, and they came frequently throughout 11-on-11 drills. Marrone said they saved the more "exotic" schemes for veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb, giving rookie EJ Manuel a chance to ease into the pressure. The biggest takeaway from the sub packages is that linebackers Nigel Bradham (second year) and Kiko Alonso (rookie) could be three-down players in the defense, as both stayed on the field with the sub defense. Another 2012 draft choice, cornerback Ron Brooks, also manned the slot for a second straight practice.

1-on-1 drills sloppier than Sunday: Marrone said after practice that he was more impressed with his quarterback in 1-on-1 passing drills on Monday than the night before. However, the drills seemed sloppier Monday, with three flags for offensive pass interference, and another for defensive pass interference (against cornerback Stephon Gilmore). Kolb, Manuel and fellow quarterback Jeff Tuel all overthrew receivers, while T.J. Graham, Brad Smith, and DeMarco Sampson (twice) all had drops. After having a couple bad drops on Sunday night, Robert Woods came close to pulling off what would have been an impressive diving catch in the end zone, losing the ball as he hit the ground.

No-huddle, shotgun work continues: The Bills may have passed on reuniting former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, but the elements of the Orange offense are making their way to the NFL. Monday's practice, especially during the 7-on-7 period, featured mostly no-huddle approach with shotgun alignments, creating a fast-paced practice session. On the plus side, Kolb and Manuel appeared to make fewer mistakes than on Sunday night, although safety Da'Norris Searcy dropped two would-be interceptions during the practice, including one from Kolb. Meanwhile, receivers Marcus Easley, Kevin Elliott, as well as rookies Da'Rick Rogers and Robert Woods all dropped passes during team drills.

GOOD DAY AT THE OFFICE FOR: Manuel. It was far from perfect, but not throwing an interception was an improvement from Sunday evening.

BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE FOR: Punter Brian Stahovich. One day after the JUGS machine did the job, there was live punting on Monday. Incumbent Shawn Powell showed a stronger leg than Stahovich, who struggled.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Bills will be back on the practice field on Tuesday morning, from 8 to 11:10 a.m. ET.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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