Inside Training Camp  

 

Buffalo Bills training camp: Rex Ryan still searching for a QB

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The road to success in the NFL begins each year with the hard work and wide-open possibilities of training camp. As teams around the league gear up for the 2015 campaign, NFL Media reporters will be checking in from all 32 camps around the league. For our next stop, Kimberly Jones visits the Buffalo Bills.

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Since 2000, the Bills have held training camp at picturesque St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York, an eastern suburb of Rochester. The setup is fan- and kid-friendly, from the slides and bouncy houses to the funnel cakes and milkshake trucks, and the temperatures have been pleasant -- it was 78 degrees Thursday, with low humidity.

Observations

1) When the Bills split out Marquise Goodwin, Percy Harvin, LeSean McCoy, Charles Clay and Sammy Watkins, they believe they can put as much speed on the field as any offense. With Tyrod Taylor at QB, that group is lightning fast.

2) The Bills' decision-makers are waiting for a quarterback, any quarterback, to separate himself from the group. That hasn't happened yet, as Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Taylor battle. This competition likely lasts long into the preseason.

3) Rookie cornerback Ronald Darby may have to contribute immediately, as Leodis McKelvin is still sidelined after ankle surgery, with Rex Ryan saying he'll be "back at some point." Darby has taken most of the snaps at left cornerback, opposite Stephon Gilmore, and has had "a really strong camp," Ryan said.

New additions

LeSean McCoy, RB: McCoy looked like, well, LeSean McCoy during team drills Thursday. The Bills know they have a motivated player and a game-changer. In 2009, Rex's Jets rushed 59 percent of the time. These Bills might top that percentage.

Tyrod Taylor, QB: Taylor has flashed with some fine throws, but not enough of them, and he has impressive speed. Ryan offered the unsolicited assessment that Taylor practiced well Thursday for the second day in a row. Taylor's skills intrigue Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Percy Harvin, WR: Harvin is unlikely to ever see a snap at cornerback, barring an unforeseen development or perhaps a Hail Mary situation. But his willingness to play corner is viewed by the Bills as another example that Harvin has been a model citizen. They see him as a kickoff returner and offensive game-changer.

Overheard

"Well, 'cause he can block somebody! So that's probably the real reason."

-- Rex Ryan, explaining why DT Kyle Williams got a few reps at tight end.

Extra points

» Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas have all stopped by camp, to the delight of Ryan. "You kind of wish we could roll back the clock a little bit and let them get back in there," Ryan said. "I don't know if we'd have a quarterback controversy if Jim was in his prime; I don't think we'd have that. No disrespect to the guys we've got; he was pretty good."

» In the coming days, Ryan will start to rest veterans, including Kyle Williams, pass rusher Mario Williams, Harvin and running back Fred Jackson. "Just to protect them, save their legs a little bit," Ryan said. UPDATE: On Friday, Ryan revealed Jackson will be out for a couple of weeks while dealing with a hamstring injury.

» Receiver Sammy Watkins left team drills Thursday, telling reporters it was because of soreness in his surgically repaired hip, and that he and the coaches were just being cautious. Watkins was never fully healthy as a rookie last season, but he got off to a strong start in camp. Bills people were raving about his ... blocking. Yes, his blocking!

Follow Kimberly Jones on Twitter @KimJonesSports.

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