The 2018 edition of the Buffalo Bills completed their first practice, and things are very similar to last year’s practice at St. John Fisher. The practice kept a quick tempo and the fans came out in droves.
Here are the major headlines from Thursday night’s practice, in case you weren’t able to follow along live.
Josh Allen makes his debut, with mixed results.
It seemed like every fan in the crowd was eyeing Allen, with loud cheers sparked every time he completed a pass Thursday night. Allen mostly played with the third string, but took a few snaps with the starters as the Bills rotated through quarterbacks. He continued connecting with Robert Foster, and completed two good passes midway through practice. By the end of practice, he started to fall apart, overthrowing his receivers on two consecutive screen passes, and he was visibly frustrated by his results at the end.
Injury news centers around Zay Jones
The first day of practice was a relatively clean slate of injuries. The only player of note is Zay Jones, who has been placed on the Non-Football Injury list as he rehabs from an offseason surgery. The surgery was needed when Jones ended up with a deep laceration under his kneecap after trying to smash through a window during a mental breakdown this spring. Other than that, things were clean Thursday night.
Bills offensive scheme looks modern and multiple
This was our first view of Buffalo’s new-look offense with Brian Daboll’s playbook, and while offensive execution is far from dialed in, the plays did show some of the new identity for Buffalo’s offense. The early dividends were encouraging. The Bills mixed in some run-pass options, a common note from Daboll’s Alabama offense last season. They split running backs and tight ends wide, used 3x1 formations to create rub routes and isolate receivers, and installed plenty of shifts, alignments, and personnel groupings. Something to keep an eye on as more gets installed.
Bills add defensive tackle John Hughes during practice
Having cut Tenny Palepoi on Wednesday, the Bills had an open slot on the roster. They decided to replace a defensive tackle with a defensive tackle, adding John Hughes in time for the first practice. The seven year veteran was a backup for the Saints last season, and is primarily a run stopper in his skillset.
Plenty of questions for LeSean McCoy
The other element that stood out from Buffalo’s practice was a common theme from the day’s press conferences: What is happening with LeSean McCoy? The Bills punted on most questions, mentioning that the investigation into his potential assault case was still ongoing with the police departments. Sean McDermott mentioned that they’ll discuss the issue among the team, and that they spoke with the Pegulas to make sure it was okay to keep McCoy on the roster during his ongoing investigation. For now, though, neither the police nor the NFL have shown any indications of acting, so McCoy will keep practicing and focusing on football.