Five Things From Wednesday’s Bills’ Practice

1. Leodis McKelvin leaves practice with groin injury ESPN’s Mike Rodak has the lowdown on McKelvin’s injury and how it affects the cornerback depth chart:

Until Wednesday, Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin appeared to be on track to make his preseason debut Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers That might have changed Wednesday when he left practice with a groin injury. His status for Saturday’s game is unclear.  “I have no idea. They haven’t told me that yet,” coach Doug Marrone said.  McKelvin had been limited throughout organized team activities, minicamp, and training camp as he recovered from offseason hip surgery. He practiced fully Tuesday, lining up on the first team across from Stephon Gilmore If McKelvin can’t go Saturday, the Bills could turn to either Corey Graham or Ron Brooks as their starter. Graham began to see time at safety this week upon McKelvin’s return.

For those who were hoping to catch a glimpse of what Buffalo’s cornerback rotation would look like healthy with all of its components before the regular season, it appears unlikely as of now. It’s tough to envision a scenario where McKelvin, who would only have tomorrow’s practice and three days between the game against Tampa Bay, would get ready to play with a tricky injury like a groin, and he definitely wouldn’t play in the preseason finale against Detroit. 2. End of practice scuffle frustrates Marrone’s Matthew Fairburn captured a fight between players near the end of practice today. Training camp scuffles do occur, as several this summer have been documented in some form, including one between safety J.J. Wilcox and receiver Dez Bryant. That being said, Marrone said after practice that he doesn’t “think there’s a place” in football for scuffles. “I don’t want to speak about it,” said Marrone. “It hurts the integrity of our game the more we talk about it. That’s how I feel about fighting.” Fairburn has details on how the scuffle occurred:

The Buffalo Bills have been at training camp for more than a month, and tensions are starting to boil over.

There have been skirmishes in practice already this year. Most weren’t serious, even last week when scuffles broke out between the Steelers and Bills at joint practices. But the brawl that took place at the end of Bills practice on Wednesday was a bit more than “boys will be boys.”

During a goal-line drill, undrafted rookie defensive end Bryan Johnson stayed engaged in a block with center Eric Wood for a bit too long. Wood let him know it, and Johnson ripped Wood’s helmet off. Scott Chandler and Chris Williams were among those who got involved, but Wood and Johnson were at the center of it. Johnson hit Wood with two punches while Wood’s helmet was off and Johnson’s helmet was on.

This is the second time Johnson has been at the center of a training camp fight. A few weeks ago, he was throwing haymakers at rookie center Macky MacPherson, who apologized but wasn’t exactly sure what he did to spark that in Johnson. Johnson again lost his cool on Wednesday and had some choice words for Wood (language in video not safe for work).

 The Bills have had the league’s longest training camp this summer, and the physicality and competition may have gone a little bit too far. Hopefully for the final practice tomorrow, cooler heads will prevail. brandon spikes 3. Run defense improvement One big positive out of this preseason has been the performance of the defense, especially in the ground game. In the first three preseason games, Buffalo has allowed only 225 rushing yards, with 121 by the New York Giants, 69 by the Carolina Panthers, and 35 last week by the Pittsburgh Steelers. After teams rushed for 128.9 yards per game against the Bills, the fifth-highest mark in the league. Marrone said that  the run defense has “been good”, and was complimentary of several of his linebackers for their role in the constant improvement. With the linebacker concern with the injury to Kiko [Alonso] and then not having been with Brandon Spikes before, but obviously played against him, Brandon’s done a nice job with leadership,” said Marrone. “I think Nigel (Bradham) has really stepped up his game and is playing well. Keith Rivers is a guy that has been in this league, so you know what you’re going to get. He’s an ultimate pro.” “But then the other players, Preston Brown, Ty Powell, Randell [Johnson] you never know what you’re going to get with younger guys. They’ve come in and done a heck of a job. They’re young, they’re excited, they’re playing, they’re tackling. The thing that I’ve been most impressed with and why we’re doing such a good job, we’re tackling better now at this time of year than we did last year. We need to continue that during the season.” While it is only the preseason, and teams probably have yet to show their best gameplans for running the football, Buffalo’s ability to limit the power combination of LeVeon Bell and LeGarrette Blount was very impressive, especially with how Blount ran all over the Bills in the regular season finale for New England. Marrone also said defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has done a “good job”, and his schemes give the team the ability to be great against the run. Despite instability and movement along the interior of the defensive line with inactive periods for both Marcell Dareus and Alan Branch, along with the loss of Alonso, the run defense appears to have better contain and limiting of big plays. Jim Kelly_Buffalo Bills 4. E.J. Manuel’s quest for perfection a positive and negative General manager Doug Whaley was interviewed by WGR 550 this morning, and revealed the team’s only issue with its second-year quarterback. The interview is available online here. Second-year offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett expanded on what Whaley said. “That’s always been a tough thing for him from the very beginning,” Hackett said of Manuel being a perfectionist. “He wants to get things right every time. Sometimes you have to sit back there and be like, “Okay, EJ, you’re still young, you’re still learning, you’re still developing.” He just wants to be perfect every time and he sometimes will hold it against himself. He gets mad at himself and you have to remind him, “Next play, next play.” “That’s something he’s improved on a lot and he’s been able to start going through his progressions, believing and believing, knowing he can do it, and also knowing that it’s not going to be perfect every time. For me, as a coach, you install a play, it’s all in front of you, then once you’re out on the field, there is chaos everywhere, and it’s never going to be as perfect as you want. The more that he can move around, use his athletic ability and understand that that is perfect and that’s okay, just checking it down or something like that, that’s great.” Manuel has shown a pretty good ability to move the football, but has been a little off or slow to connect on key third-down and fourth-down passes in the preseason. Some of that can be attributed to making sure that he is going to the correct read, but for the former Florida State Seminole to establish himself as the franchise quarterback, he has to be willing to let it loose in terms of both throwing downfield and taking chances. 5. Jim Kelly’s cancer is gone! WGR 550′s Joe Buscaglia reflects on the news that Kelly’s doctor has found no cancer left after three months of radiation and chemotherapy treatments for the Hall of Fame quarterback:

Jim Kelly has gone through many battles throughout both his playing career and life to earn the respect and adoration from many around the country. Upon finding out that Kelly’s cancer had returned, the support and prayers spilled out for both he and his family in the extremely trying time. After an enduring stretch of both radiation and chemotherapy treatments, the initial tests for the former Buffalo Bills quarterback and Hall of Famer have come back with the results everyone had been hoping for.

In a statement from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, it was revealed that in the three months after the conclusion of the treatments that Kelly, his family and Bills fans everywhere had something to cheer about.

“The treatments so far have completely eliminated Mr. Kelly’s pain, and his level of function has essentially returned to normal,” said Dr. Peter Constantino. “Further, on physical examination, there is no evidence of cancer.”

The former Bills quarterback will now undergo some additional testing over the course of the next week.

“It is possible that no further treatment will be required, and the testing over the next week will define the issue.”

In an offseason that has seen an eventual change in ownership, the loss of Kiko Alonso, and the return of Kelly’s cancer, the positive news regarding the franchise’s best signal-caller is right before the end of training camp and heading into the regular season. Kelly winning in his second battle with cancer again proves his toughness and willingness to defeat every obstacle. The ESPN feature below showed Kelly’s fight with the disease and the great moments he shared with former teammate Andre Reed on Hall-of-Fame weekend.

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