#1. Today’s practice began with several reunions between former teammates who now play or work for the other team. Former Panthers/Current Bills players are DT Star Lotulelei, CB Captain Munnerlyn, S Dean Marlowe and S Kurt Coleman. Former Panthers defensive coordinator/current Bills head coach Sean McDermott, former Panthers assistant general manager/current Bills general manager Brandon Beane and former Panthers linebacker/current Bills director of player personnel Dan Morgan.
#2. Player sitting out practice due to injury: TE Ian Thomas (rib contusion), CB Kevon Seymour (hamstring) and C Tyler Larsen (unknown). Player returning to practice from injury: LB Jermaine Carter Jr. (leg issue).
#3. Players getting reps as a punt returner: WRs Terry Godwin, Jaydon Mickens, Rashad Ross and Chris Hogan. Players getting 1st team reps on defense: S Tre Boston at FS, DB Rashaan Gaulden at big nickel and CB Javien Elliott at small nickel.
#4. Players who stood out during joint special teams: DB Ross Cockrell and CB Corn Elder did very well on keeping the “gunners” away from Panthers punt returners. WR Rashad Ross was the “gunner” for the Panthers punt team who was unable to be contained by Bills punt return blockers.
#5. Players who stood out during 1 on 1 drills of Panthers DL vs. Bills OL showed off the speed of LB/DE Brian Burns, the power of DT Kawann Short and the quickness of DT Gerald McCoy. LB/DEs Christian Miller and Marquis Haynes also displayed speed and elusiveness on Bills blockers. In 1 on 1 drills of Panthers TEs vs. Bills LBs the coverage was very good by the Bills. However TEs Greg Olsen and Chris Manhertz caught every ball thrown their way. TE Jason Vander Lean showed that he has long speed to pull away from his defender downfield. In 1 on 1 of Panthers DBs vs. Bills WRs Safeties Eric Reid, Tre Boston and Rashaan Gaulden had multiple pass deflections. CBs Donte Jackson, James Bradberry and Javien Elliott showed effective press and jam techniques at the line of scrimmage to give Bills WRs difficulty getting off to run their routes.
#6. Players who stood out during team drills of Panthers defense vs. Bills offense: On the 1st play LB Shaq Thompson and Miller forced a fumble on Bills WR Cole Beasley and recovered it. Reid got a nice pass deflection in the end zone on a ball intended for TE Tommy Sweeney. Elder broke up a pass in the end zone while covering a Bills RB. Jackson made a flashy pass deflection while going stride for stride with WR Zay Jones. Bradberry initially got beat deep by WR John Brown but recovered nicely to make a last second break up in the back of the end zone. The Panthers front seven stuffed every run by the Bills offense. Four yards may have been the longest run given up. The Bills offense did make a few plays in the passing game. WR Zay Jones beat Elder for a TD pass. A Bills RB caught a very low ball for a TD over Carter Jr. The Bills best play was when WR Beasley juked the shoestrings out of Tre Boston after he caught a slant pass. If sacks were allowed the Panthers would have had at least eight of them.
#7. Players who stood out during team drills of Panthers offense vs. Bills defense: On the 1st play QB Cam Newton threaded the needle to hit Greg Olsen for about a 20 yard reception. Newton connected with WR Curtis Samuel for a deep 60 TD pass which created the loudest cheer of the practice. WR DJ Moore made some smooth catches that were first downs. WR Torrey Smith made a heck of a one hand catch to beat press coverage by a Bills CB. WR Terry Godwin had a lot of success catching short and intermediate passes. RB Christian McCaffrey made about 3 nice catches out of the backfield as well as breaking off 2 long runs. One was right up the middle and the other was a toss sweep to the right side. The best run of the day belong to FB Alex Armah who ran right off the left side for about 30 yards. Next play Newton hit Olsen in the end zone for a TD. One of the best catches was done by TE Chris Manhertz on a low ball by QB Kyle Allen. The Bills defense did make some plays. Both Newton and Grier were intercepted. If sacks were allowed the Bills would have had at least three of them.
#8. LB/DE Brian Burns left during the middle of team drills with a right ankle issue. He had ice put on it and came back out but did not practice the rest of the day. There were a few hard hits by both teams but no fights broke out. There was plenty of trash talking going on throughout the entire two hour practice. Rivera’s dog Tahoe was seen running around on the sidelines after practice.