On the fifth day of training camp, the Buffalo Bills continued rotating their quarterbacks while providing some encouraging signs overall about the offense. While the defensive secondary has been the focus of much praise from fans and pundits alike, and the wide receivers have been almost universally maligned, the wideouts won the majority of the battles today.
Our recap today is brought to you by the reporters in attendance at today’s practice, since the session was closed to the public. Thank you to all the beat writers working to bring rabid fans like us the kind of coverage Bills Mafia deserves!
QB rotation slightly different today
Nathan Peterman began with the starting unit, with A.J. McCarron relegated to duty with the second group. Both men had their ups and downs, but Peterman appeared to be the sharper of the two throughout the practice session, according to Sal Capaccio of WGR. McCarron threw two touchdowns during the red zone session early on in practice, but his day ended on a bad note in 11-on-11 work. Josh Reed said that McCarron took five snaps during that session, handing the ball off twice. On his three drop backs, he was sacked once, threw a touchdown pass to Nick O’Leary, and had his final pass deflected. That last pass was knocked down by linebacker Julian Stanford.
Peterman ended the day with the third unit, and he was strong again. He threw a touchdown pass to Khari Lee,handed the ball off, completed a short pass to Ray-Ray McCloud, scrambled, and then ran a touchdown in himself. Overall, it seems that Peterman was the top dog in the quarterback discussion today.
Riding the rookie rollercoaster with Josh Allen
As could be expected, the Bills’ youngest quarterback had an up and down day. When faced with pressure, he struggled, and in the first reported session he had, the defense blitzed him early and often. Dan Fetes tweeted that Allen saw blitzes on 3 of his first 4 snaps, and the pressure led to a deflected pass, a blown-up screen on an awkward throw, and a tuck-and-run scramble from the big QB.
After that session ended, Allen had a slow start on his next chance, throwing a bad pass on a short look before unleashing a string of beautiful throws. Thad Brown reported that Allen threw touchdowns on four consecutive plays after the brutal miss. His final series was against the starters, and he ended the day on a high note. His two pass plays included a dropped touchdown by Kelvin Benjamin (though some reporters thought he’d have been called for offensive pass interference anyway) and a touchdown run on a scramble.
No Jones or Murphy; O’Leary returns
Wide receiver Zay Jones was once again held out of practice, as he recovers from offseason knee surgery on the non-football injury list. O’Leary returned from an ankle injury he suffered during the third day of practice. Logan Thomas was shaken up at the end of practice on Sunday, and he was held out of contact drills today, though he was able to do work on the side. Veteran defensive end Trent Murphy was given a day off by the coaching staff.
Intensity remaining high
Another day, another fight at camp. After Jordan Poyer made a beautiful one-handed interception on a Nate Peterman pass, John Miller made an idiotic decision, running up and leveling Poyer after the play was over. Some defenders rushed to Poyer’s defense, and they were right to do so.
During individual drills, Dion Dawkins and Eddie Yarbrough had a bit of a dust-up, with the former continuing a rep a bit too long for the latter’s liking. There were some punches thrown, but ultimately nothing too serious came of the altercation.
It was during this portion of practice that Benjamin really dominated, as he beat Tre’Davious White twice and Vontae Davis once on 50/50 balls in teh end zone for touchdowns. Peterman was trusting his big number one target to win those battles, and Benjamin did not let his quarterback down.
During the red zone portion of practice, Sal Capaccio noted that each side was chirping when they won on a particular down. The offense and defense are pushing each other hard, which is great to see.
Brandon Reilly and Marcus Murphy saw time with the second team offense at receiver and running back, respectively...it was a Russell Bodine first-team center day...Shaq Lawson started at left defensive end with Murphy receiving the rest day. Terrence Fede slid up to the second team as a result...Benjamin and Jeremy Kerley are clearly the coaching staff’s preferred receivers, as they have been the only mainstays with the first team throughout. After them, it’s been a steady rotation in Zay Jones’s absence.