PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Buffalo Bills training camp:
After a lighter workout Saturday, the Bills ramped it up for a full-pads practice Sunday that lasted well over two hours. The session featured 38 plays in the red zone (split between seven-on-seven, nine-on-nine, and 11-on-11) as well as a four-play live tackling drill at the goal line. That's a significant and much-needed red zone workload for a team that lacked an ability to punch it in the end zone on Friday night against the Carolina Panthers.
The results of the red zone work were mixed. EJ Manuel's first six reps came in a nine-on-nine drill where there was a half-offensive line on the right side. We scratched our head when Manuel was pressured from the right side, tucked the ball, and scrambled to the left. Doug Marrone has previously emphasized the point of the seven-on-seven drill (or its cousin, the nine-on-nine drill) is to throw the ball downfield, so scrambling to the side of the field with no offensive or defensive linemen -- by design -- is a questionable decision. In 11-on-11 red zone work, Manuel was sacked on two of his first four reps and didn't record a touchdown in any of his seven total reps in that period. In the final seven-on-seven series, Manuel's first two passes didn't score points but he finished on a strong note, hitting Lee Smith and Mike Williams for back-to-back touchdowns.
Manuel's best friend on the field continues to be Sammy Watkins, who made a great adjustment to catch a ball over cornerback Ross Cockrell in the first 11-on-11 period. In the next 11-on-11 series, Manuel threw a pass behind Watkins on a quick-out route, but Watkins snagged it out of the air with his left hand, back-handed. WGRZ's Jonah Javad posted a still frame of the impressive catch.
Safety Aaron Williams continued to line up with the second team Sunday, with Duke Williams and Da'Norris Searcy as the first-team pairing. Marrone said not to read into Aaron Williams' placement as any sort of indication of his performance.
With Chris Williams remaining out with a back injury, the Bills cycled through guards Sunday. Kraig Urbik, Doug Legursky, and Antoine McClain all saw time at left guard, while Urbik and Cyril Richardson were the top right guards. Marrone said he doesn't have long-term concerns about Williams' back injury. Other players who remained out Sunday: cornerback Leodis McKelvin, tight end Tony Moeaki, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, cornerback Ron Brooks, safety Jonathan Meeks, and linebacker Ty Powell.
The Bills have an off day Monday before returning to the practice field Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET. They then travel to Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for joint practices with the Pittsburgh Steelers beginning Wednesday afternoon.