After the Buffalo Bills offense dominated practice on Saturday, everyone expected the defense to come back with a vengeance the next day. The chief cheerleader was head coach Sean McDermott, who told reporters it made his blood pressure rise to see John Brown scorching his defenders on the turf.
He was surely pleased with the bounce back that ensued. The defense played up to standards, shutting down the running game and forcing multiple turnovers. Tre’Davious White scored an interception on a badly-placed throw, continuing a great camp for the third-year pro.
Josh Allen had a rough start to his day, with that interception and a fumble while scrambling, but he dialed in a few touchdowns by the end of practice. The best news, amid his day-to-day fluctuations, is that his attitude and aptitude seem to be way stronger than in his rookie training camp. He’s making his reads and creating big plays, and even if he turns into a streaky player in his career, that’s a player that wins in the playoffs.
The tight end competition hit a stalemate on Sunday. With Tyler Kroft indefinitely out with his broken foot, and Jason Croom sidelined with a hamstring, rookie Dawson Knox pulled up limping at the end of Saturday’s practice. The coaching staff confirmed it was another hamstring injury, so Knox will be the latest member of the group to sit out practices. The remaining depth chart, led by rookie seventh round pick Tommy Sweeney, is rookie Nate Becker and Keith Towbridge, a third-year pro who entered the league as a Bills UDFA. The Bills are running more 0- and 1-tight end sets in practice, as a result.
The second starting cornerback role is a three-way competition between E.J. Gaines, Kevin Johnson, and Levi Wallace. Sean McDermott had praise for each of the three players in his press conference, but especially Johnson, who is having “a very good start”. It looks like whichever player doesn’t start outside will be backing up Taron Johnson in the slot.
While LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore are clearly 1 and 2 for this team, rookie Devin Singletary has locked down the next place in line. He has at least one big play in every practice. What’s exciting is that he’s made a number of big receptions in the passing game so far, something he flashed aptitude for in college, but wasn’t asked to do very much. For anyone upset that the Bills drafted a third-round running back this year, Singletary looks like he’ll silence the haters.
T.J. Yeldon and Senorise Perry have been the next-best contenders, and Patrick DiMarco is still handling things at fullback.
Ed Oliver is rotating with the starters, and he flashed another big play today. The rookie seems to be right on schedule in his (very) early development. In other news, Shaq Lawson is solidly with the second string, playing behind Trent Murphy. Rookie Darryl Johnson is still finding his place in the depth chart, but had a good rep versus Cody Ford on Saturday.
Besides the Knox and Croom hamstring injuries, wideout Zay Jones sat out most of the practice, being stretched extensively by a trainer. It wasn’t clear if Jones had suffered a lingering injury, or if this was just some cramping on a hot day.
The Bills designated a veteran rest day today. Lorenzo Alexander, Stephen Hauschka, and Mitch Morse were among the players who went through warmups but didn’t participate in practice. A bit surprisingly, the 36-year-old Frank Gore was not one of those players.
- For the second day in a row, Trent Murphy had his way with rookie RT Cody Ford on multiple reps. The challenge with intra-team practicing is that it’s hard to know if this is a positive for Murphy, a negative for Ford, or both.
- For what it’s worth, Shaq Lawson won frequently against backup RT LaAdrian Waddle, too.
- McDermott praised backup linebacker Maurice Alexander during his presser, remarking on the player’s versatility and special teams ability.
- Cam Phillips laid out for a diving grab on a Josh Allen deep pass. It was the highlight of the day.
- Phillips and Isaiah McKenzie have been given opportunities with the first string. So there’s definitely an open competition for the sixth receiver on the roster.
- The counter trey is a play that works great for each of Buffalo’s top three running backs. The team’s been using it a bunch in camp, so you may want to read up on it.
- Cole Beasley and John Brown are in a head-to-head competition for training camp MVP. Each day you see new highlights from them.
- Here’s Ed Oliver working on splitting double teams against Spencer Long and Cody Ford:
#Bills first-round pick Ed Oliver works against a double team of Spencer Long (guard) and Cody Ford (tackle) pic.twitter.com/hQ1AhdrcRo— Nathaniel Mendelson (@NateMendelson) July 28, 2019