For the second day in a row, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen practiced behind an offensive line operating at half strength. Two starters were sidelined, the Bills continued tinkering with combinations, and Allen’s productivity suffered as a result. This training camp practice featured more red zone work, but the defense, led by Ed Oliver, was the frequent winner.
Here’s what to take away from this practice session:
Ed Oliver is giving the coaches every reason to make him the starting defensive tackle, but Jordan Phillips is making him work for it. On Thursday, Oliver dominated a red zone drill, penetrating the backfield on multiple occasions. At one point he moved so quickly that three offensive linemen fell to the ground trying to react.
Not to be outdone, Jordan Phillips keeps swatting passes. A day after he landed a pick-six, Phillips broke up another pass. Josh Allen’s had a pass deflected for three straight days of camp.
Mitch Morse’s continued absence meant that the offensive line keeps shifting. Spencer Long, Jon Feliciano, and Russell Bodine were the starting interior linemen (Quinton Spain missed practice with a sore foot). Ty Nsekhe has created a legitimate competition for a starting tackle spot - either starting tackle spot. He’s been rotating with Cody Ford at right tackle, and also taking reps at left tackle in place of Dion Dawkins. The eventual outcome is still unclear, but it may mean benching one of Dawkins or Ford (or moving Ford to right guard, despite the coaches implying they wanted to avoid that).
Let’s check in with the latest standing here. The pecking order is now pretty clear, based on which players are taking reps with the first string.
John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Zay Jones are the top three targets. Robert Foster and Andre Roberts are the next two in line. All five players are making regular appearances with the starters. Next is Ray Ray McCloud, who’s played more with the starters over the past week. He’s also been the subject of public praise by Sean McDermott.
Following him are a set of receivers who may be vying for a practice squad spot. That includes Isaiah McKenzie, Cam Phillips, David Sills, and Nick Easley.
This is a long one, folks.
First, the veteran rest days that (as far as we know) DON’T involve injuries:
Frank Gore, Star Lotulelei, Lee Smith, Trent Murphy, and LaAdrian Waddle.
Next, the players who are already injured, and still recovering from those injuries:
Mitch Morse (concussion), Tyler Kroft (foot), Dawson Knox (hamstring), Jason Croom (hamstring), Robert Thomas (knee).
Micah Hyde (neck) left practice early on Wednesday and did not practice on Thursday. Jerry Hughes, who we’d written up as a veteran rest day on Wednesday, did not practice Thursday with an ankle injury. Quinton Spain (foot soreness) did not practice Thursday.
Spencer Long (knee) returned to practice today, wearing a knee brace. Shaq Lawson and Jon Feliciano both came up limping at points during today’s practice, but seemed to be alright at the end of the day. Stephen Hauschka, who was seen with a wrap around his ankle, is also just fine.
- The Bills signed OL Nico Siragusa today, in replacement for Isaac Asiata (retired) and Jeremiah Sirles (injury release).
- The Bills practiced some loose ball drills today. The defenders practiced stripping the football, and both offense and defense practiced diving on the loose ball.
- While the 6’5” Josh Allen has had plenty of passes tipped in the last few days, this is because the Bills have tall defensive linemen, and because they’re trying to tip more passes (since they can’t rush the passer all-out in practice).
- Allen gave his thoughts on who’s been the most successful pass rusher in camp this year:
- Tomorrow (Friday) night, the Bills head to New Era Field for their team scrimmage. Get hype!