Training Camp Opens

31 Jul

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Today in suburban Rochester, Rex Ryan will assemble his enlarged 2015 squad of players to begin the first official Buffalo Bills Training Camp of the post-Wilson era.

They will on the premises of St. John Fisher College for the next 3 1/2 weeks, conditioning themselves in the summer swelter to return to gameday fitness come September 13th when they host the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1. Four matchups will occur in the preseason as per usual:

Friday August 14: vs. Panthers (7 PM, WKBW)
Thursday August 20: at Browns (8 PM, ESPN)
Saturday August 29: vs. Steelers (4 PM, WKBW)
Thursday September 3: at Lions (7:30 PM, WKBW)

It will be a fresh start for all the players, with a new coaching staff coming in and installing their philosophies to both the returning Bills as well as rookies and the new acquisitions. In what is likely the most exciting part of the Bills team, an already stellar defense headed by an elite set of down linemen begins to acclimate to the aggressive Rex Ryan/Dennis Thurman packages.

Mario Williams, out of early sessions via jpglive2 via Compfight cc

Mario Williams c/o jpglive2 via Compfight cc

As of yesterday, three players were placed on the Active/Non-Football Injury List, two of them from the expected defensive starting lineup: DE Mario Williams and CB Leodis McKelvin. K Dan Carpenter was also given this designation. While it is unclear to what extent each player is injured, early reports have Mario Williams suited up and ready to go, so we’ll see if each of these guys actually gets on the field early.

One of the big storylines entering the 2015 season are all of the offensive additions that have been made during the offseason. Most notably, the Bills upgraded their running back corps by acquiring LeSean McCoy from Philadelphia for LB Kiko Alonso. Two other primary skill position grabs were WR Percy Harvin and TE Charles Clay. All three of these players are expected to give Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman ample options for attacking opposing defenses.

But if there is one question mark heading into this new season, it’s the quarterback hierarchy. When Kyle Orton retired after the 2014 season, it left the door wide open for any quarterback on the roster come training camp. While EJ Manuel has been a Bill the longest out of the three candidates, this could stand as his final opportunity to claim the starting job long-term. He will compete for the job against journeyman veteran Matt Cassel and a dark horse candidate, Tyrod Taylor.

There are obviously lots of questions that Rex Ryan & his staff will answer through the next few weeks. Let us know if you plan to hit Training Camp for any of the practices, or head up to stadium for a preseason tilt (or take the quick road trip to Cleveland for the Thursday night game). It should be an exciting season of Bills football ahead!

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