As the Buffalo Bills wrapped up training camp at St. John Fisher College this week, they did not look anything like a team ready for week one of the regular season.
They looked more like a team ready to go 12-rounds with one another, as a flurry of fights highlighted the last week of practice. The most notable fight took place on Wednesday, as rookie Bryan Johnson and veteran centre Eric Wood exchanged punches with one another.
Goodwin and Miller went helmet-to-helmet after a pass, leading to a few choice words for one another after the play. But the jawing between the players didn’t end there, as something said on the following play triggered head coach Doug Marrone to abruptly stop practice.
Marrone then tore into the team with a verbal tirade, telling the players to “get your (expletive) together”, as the players were ordered to line up for wind sprints.
During the discipline session of wind sprints, defensive end Jerry Hughes exchanged words with Marrone, leading to another verbal tirade from the Bills head coach. Marrone appeared to suggest that Hughes directly, and other players, should head to the locker room and pack up their stuff if they want to fight.
Doug Marrone and Jerry Hughes exchanged words. The defensive end didn’t back down when challenged by the coach about fighting.
While Marrone’s words may sound like nothing out of the norm in an NFL training camp, it was his reaction to Hughes specifically that raised an eyebrow. The two had a one-on-one conversation after practice wrapped up, and Marrone denied to the media that he was barking at Hughes directly during the teams discipline session.
While head coach Marrone may have put an end to the fights after Thursday’s practice, the problems for the Buffalo Bills continued to mount.
Defensive tackle Alan Branch was arrested early Saturday morning for drunken driving.
Alan Branch reported to the Bills that he was arrested. — Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) August 23, 2014
According to reports, Branch was arrested after he was noticed vomiting out of the driver’s side door of his vehicle. Police said Branch had a blood-alcohol level of .14 percent, .06 percent higher than the legal limit of .08 percent.
After signing a three-year extension last December, Branch’s roster spot on the Bills appears to be anything but safe.
After skipping voluntary workouts in the spring, the defensive tackle has spiraled in the wrong direction ever since. Branch’s list of issues continues to grow, as he failed the team’s conditioning test when he first reported to camp, he has looked sluggish in practice, forcing the coaches to play him with the backups in their pre-season games, and has now been arrested.
Quite the checklist for any player.
What the Bills do next with Branch is anybody’s guess, but he is scheduled to meet with Marrone today. With the mandatory 53-man roster cut looming, I would guess that we receive more clarity on Branch’s situation in the coming days.