PITTSFORD, N.Y. — The first week of padded practices brought a growing list of injuries to the Buffalo Bills, including a potentially severe knee injury to rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland and an ankle injury to left tackle Cordy Glenn that has put him in a walking boot.
Coach Rex Ryan is just happy that his quarterback is still standing after Monday’s practice.
Tyrod Taylor showed off his impressive athleticism in an 11-on-11 red zone drill, ending a scramble with a hurdle-turned-backflip over a defender at the goal line and landing in the end zone without a scratch. It is a play that must be described in words because cameras aren’t allowed to photograph that portion of practice. But for the Bills’ sake, Ryan is hoping it’s a stunt never seen again this training camp.
“Oh, like the rest of us, [I was] like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Like, please. You know? ‘Don’t do that,'” an animated Ryan later said. “You literally hold your breath because we think that we got a really good one there. We got a fine, outstanding quarterback, and you’d hate to see something like that happen where something would happen with him. So he’s got to take care of himself, too.”
Ryan isn’t kidding. Taylor wowed fans (and fantasy owners) by making plays with his feet last season, amassing 568 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. But as Taylor became more effective as the Bills’ quarterback, he became more important to their short-term and potentially long-term success, which made moments like Monday’s cringe-worthy for everyone in attendance.
Moreover, the gap between Taylor and backup quarterback EJ Manuel appears to be widening, so the Bills could ill afford an injury to their starter. Manuel connected on a beautiful touchdown to Marquise Goodwin in Saturday’s scrimmage but took a step backward Monday by telegraphing a pick-six to cornerback Sterling Moore in the two-minute drill.
Taylor made quick work of the first-team defense in his run at the two-minute drill, extending the drive with a third-and-10 sideline completion to Charles Clay and finding an open Greg Salas down the middle of the field for a 48-yard gain. LeSean McCoy later walked into the end zone for a touchdown.