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Day 1: Offense starts fast, grinds to finish

By Mark Gaughan

PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills' offense got off to a wild start then settled into a typical, unspectacular training camp debut Sunday night at St. John Fisher College.

The Bills treated a capacity crowd to nine straight "go routes" during the evening's opening one-on-one drills between receivers and defenders. The two fastest Bills receivers -- T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin -- look blazing fast. Rookie QB EJ Manuel hit Graham on a bomb vs. Justin Rogers down the right sideline. Then Manuel hit rookie Robert Woods in stride down the left sideline but Woods dropped the pass. Then Manuel hit Graham (again vs. Rogers) and Goodwin (vs. Nickell Robey) on successive throws. Goodwin showed off an extra gear that gives him late separation from defenders, even if he's well covered off the line.

But once the Bills went to 11-on-11 drills, the defense mostly had the upper hand.


• The offense worked in up-tempo no-huddle mode all night.

• Kolb took 36 snaps, Manuel 28 in 11-on-11 sessions, by unofficial count.

• Rogers worked with the starting defense, ahead of Leodis McKelvin, who was on the second unit.

• With Mario WIlliams sitting out (sore foot), here was the starting front seven on defense: Alex Carrington, Marcell Dareus and Jay Ross on the defensive line; Manny Lawson and Jerry Hughes at outside linebacker; Kiko Alonso and Nigel Bradham at inside linebacker. But there were plenty of rotations happening. Torell Troup filled into Ross' spot at times. So did Alan Branch. Jamie Blatnick and Marcus Dowtin got a few snaps with the starters, too. Blatnick had two would-be sacks in the final team portion of the night.

• The second-team front seven the first time around was: Jarron Gilbert, Branch and Corbin Bryant on the defensive line; Blatnick and Dowtin at outside linebacker; and Arthur Moats and Bryan Scott at inside linebacker.

• Colin Brown was the starting left guard. The second-team offensive line the first time around was: RT Sam Young, RG Keith Williams, C David Snow, LG Doug Legursky and LT Thomas Welch.

• Backup receivers who made a couple nice plays in 11 on 11 work included Marcus Easley and 6-foot-3 Kevin Elliott. Easley out-leaped Rogers for a deep sideline ball from Kevin Kolb and caught a couple of quick slants late. Da'Rick Rogers laid out for a good diving catch along the sideline in one-on-one drills. He was out of bounds on the play, but he showed good hands.

• The offense ended on a little bit of a high note when Kolb hit C.J. Spiller out of the backfield for a 25-yard gain, then beat a blitz with a dump-off to Spiller for another 20 yards, then hit Easley on a slant.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |