This morning, the Buffalo Bills held their final practice session before Thursday’s preseason opener at the Carolina Panthers. It was a rain-soaked affair that went as one would expect a final practice before a game to go—it was a light, pad-free day in Rochester.
Here are the headlines from this morning’s practice.
McDermott evasive in pre-practice presser
Many fans expected head coach Sean McDermott to announce a starting quarterback for the preseason opener in his morning press conference. Those fans were left disappointed, however, as McDermott failed to do so. He said that he wanted to inform the players about the starter before he informed the media, which makes a great deal of sense—no player should hear of his role from anyone other than the head coach.
One interesting bit of information regarding the quarterback rotation was that McDermott said it is possible that both AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman see time with the first team on Thursday night. McDermott did not go into the specifics of how those reps would be divided between the two players, but it was interesting to hear him give the possibility.
One thing seems certain, however, and it’s that Josh Allen will not be considered an option to start on Thursday night. McDermott characterized the developmental plan for Allen as “calculated,” saying that he does not want to rush the young signal-caller along. Allen has worked exclusively with the third team since last week, and he is expected to see all of the third-team reps on Thursday night.
Heavy rains fell for much of the practice session, as you can see in this video tweeted by Sal Capaccio. The rain did help in one particular drill, however, as Josh Allen was spotted working on sliding after scrambling.
Corey Coleman arrives
Buffalo’s newest wide receiver sported his number 19 jersey in his first Bills practice. It was announced that he would practice in a limited fashion, and in the early going, he worked in during drills against air. He caught a ball from AJ McCarron during the first session, but once 11-on-11 began, he mixed in with the third team. He eventually caught a pass from Josh Allen during that portion of practice.
When he was asked about his tenure in Cleveland, Coleman was succinct and professional. Matthew Fairburn tweeted that Coleman praised the fan base and his teammates when responding, which is a far cry from teammate Kelvin Benjamin’s biting comments about the Carolina organization made earlier this week.
Defense continues to look sharp
The secondary was all over the receiving corps early, as the offense struggled to create separation in the first portion of practice. AJ McCarron, who worked with the first team today, was intercepted by Tre’Davious White on a pass that was intended for Nick O’Leary. Overall, the defense has had a great start to camp.
11-on-11 work mostly walkthrough
The offense ran plays that Mike Rodak speculates it will run in the preseason game on Thursday. He provided a pretty detailed breakdown of the session in this thread, but with a caveat: since the defense did not appear to be going full-bore, he notes that any results should be taken with a grain of salt. Nathan Peterman handled second-team duties, while Josh Allen stayed with the third team.
John Miller was back out there with the starters, playing right guard in what appears to be his position to lose. Miller left yesterday with an undisclosed injury. In his press conference before practice, Sean McDermott stopped short of saying that he was concerned with defensive end Trent Murphy’s injury, but he did mention the need to be smart about his healing at this time. Joe Buscaglia tweeted that McDermott hopes Murphy can return to the field next week. Shaq Lawson has been the first-team left defensive end in Murphy’s place, and McDermott praised the third-year player for his improvements thus far.
They practiced substitutions...for five minutes
Prescott Rossi called it “peak training camp.” The day before your first game is definitely a solid time to include it in the walkthrough!