The second training camp practice for the Buffalo Bills is complete, and there was plenty to discuss throughout the practice session. The coaching staff played with some different lineup configurations, and they seemed to do some different things scheme-wise, especially on the offensive end.
Here are the major headlines from Friday afternoon’s practice session.
A.J. McCarron starts with the ones
After Nathan Peterman began yesterday’s session with the first team in 11-on-11 drills, it was McCarron’s time to shine with the starters today. He was not the only quarterback to see reps with the first team (more on that below), but McCarron acquitted himself well on the afternoon while working with both the first-and-third team offenses. He was able to hit a few big passes, including this gorgeous deep ball to Kelvin Benjamin, who had beaten Tre’Davious White. Overall, McCarron had a steady day where he looked to be in control throughout.
Ryan Groy is first-team center
While newcomer Russell Bodine was the starter at the pivot on the first night of training camp, it was Groy’s turn to run with the first team this afternoon. Expect this pattern to continue as the Bills allow both men to battle for the starting center job.
The Bills began the practice sessions with work on special teams. One of the main focal points was punt returns, with the team sending three players back deep to return kicks at different points. Running back Marcus Murphy joined receivers Jeremy Kerley and Ray-Ray McCloud in fielding punts. Special teams is an important element, and head coach Sean McDermott prefers that his backups are able to contribute in the third phase of the game. This could be a way on to the roster for both McCloud and Murphy, with Kerley a veteran option if none of the young players can handle the duties.
The Josh Allen report
Buffalo’s big-ticket quarterback saw some time with the first team today, and he handled himself well. He completed 2 passes in his lone series with the starters, a screen to LeSean McCoy and a short toss to Charles Clay. He also misfired on a ball when Lorenzo Alexander pressured him. Overall, it seemed to be a solid day for Allen, as he had some solid throws in team periods and against air mixed in with some misfires. Allen’s last set with the third team was sloppy, according to Mike Rodak.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll just can’t fight this feeling anymore, as he had his charges working on a few different run-pass option looks throughout the session. He had the quarterbacks and running backs working on footwork for both inside and outside zone read plays, and he even had the offensive linemen working on the combo blocks necessary for executing them perfectly (check Erik Turner’s thread on the series for a good breakdown). In team work, the Bills ran some midline RPO out of the gun, allowing LeSean McCoy to take it on the run and keep chugging up the middle for some big chunks of yardage. (I’ll see myself out).
Trent Murphy seems to be firmly entrenched as the starting defensive end across from Jerry Hughes, leaving Shaq Lawson to work with the second team. Lawson was eaten up by Conor McDermott, who drew plenty of praise from the coaching staff. Meanwhile, Hughes was disruptive on the day...Taron Johnson seemed to be the primary slot corner with the first team...Nathan Peterman had a strong early portion of the day, completing multiple deep passes during 7-on-7 drills. During his last team session, though, the offense had to be called back to the huddle twice before running a play...Kelvin Benjamin has seen a lot of time in the slot over the first two days of camp. That’s a good way to create mismatches for the huge receiver.