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Sean McDermott 'impressed' with Jonathan Williams

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Buffalo's backfield depth is concerning, but the team can take stock in what Jonathan Williams put on film in Thursday's preseason clash with the Vikings.

With LeSean McCoy in rest-mode, Williams made the most of his start with a hard-running night that saw him blast for 39 yards at 9.8 yards per clip.

After quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed his first three passes to wideout Sammy Watkins -- a boon to Bills fans everywhere -- Williams blasted through the heart of Minnesota's defense for a nine-yard gain. The scamper was called back by penalty, but last year's fifth-rounder came back to rip off a 17-yard volt over guard on an impossible third-and-31.

"I was impressed. He ran hard, secured the ball," first-year Bills coach Sean McDermott told The Buffalo News. "We have to evaluate the whole game, though. What happens in pass protection. We'll get a better chance to do that tomorrow. That said, I thought he did some good things with the ball in his hand."

Williams returned on the following drive to gash the Vikings with another 15-yard burst before later hauling in a pass from Taylor for seven yards. The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder also tweaked his hamstring in the game, but later said the injury was "not bad at all."

McCoy is ticketed to lead the way for Buffalo, but Williams has the chance to vastly top his 27 carries from 2016, especially with so little else around him. Joe Banyard, Cedric O'Neal and Jordan Johnson currently rest as zero threat to steal away the No. 2 role.

"Running back is a physical position where -- no matter who you are -- you can't take every snap during the season, so whenever I come in, I just want to be able to help out and help this team win," Williams said. "The more reps I get, the more comfortable I get and the more confidence I have in myself. It's definitely growing."

Preseason often reveals itself to be a wasteland for player evaluation. Low-wattage no-namers shine in August, only to vanish forever come September. Williams, though, used Thursday night as a first step toward carving out a legitimate role in Buffalo.

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