We’ve made it to the final week of Buffalo Bills training camp at St. John Fisher University already. The battles for roster position are heating up, along with the temperatures, and sparks are flying as fights have broken out in nearly every one of the padded practices so far.
On Sunday, the Bills practiced in only helmets, as the heat and humidity were rough. On Tuesday, the practice was closed to fans, but the pace picked up. Now it’s Wednesday with Thursday being the final day of training camp before they break for the preseason opener.
The press is very limited in what they are allowed to share, but fans are in the seats again today, so hopefully there will still be some stuff on Twitter.
Practice starts at the normal 9:45 AM Eastern time with defensive coordinator speaking at 9:15 AM.
Here are the biggest storylines so far in camp:
- The Bills released their first depth chart earlier this week.
- The wide receiver competition is heating up, with Jamison Crowder and Isaiah Hodgins getting extended time while Isaiah McKenzie and Khalil Shakir deal with soreness. Before he was out for two practice, Shakir was staking his claim not just to a roster spot, but a role in the offense. In front of him, WR Isaiah McKenzie, was the MVP halfway through camp and has locked down the slot receiver role to this point.
- The starting cornerback battle has become must-watch at camp, with three young players duking it out. Sixth-rounder Christian Benford has played his way into the competition with first-round CB Kaiir Elam and third-year player Dane Jackson. Sixth-round cornerback Christian Benford is drawing the eyes of several beat reporters at camp and is pushing for one of the final roster spots. The Bills may still be in need of some veteran help at the CB spot, though, but maybe it’s just the team’s offense being that good.
- Penciled-in starter Rodger Saffold returned to the field on Sunday. He was in a car accident recently and suffered what general manager Brandon Beane referred to as “cracked ribs.” With Saffold, he’s a veteran who has worked with new o-line coach Aaron Kromer before.
- With Spencer Brown limited and Saffold out, the Bills were rotating a pair of offensive linemen at both right tackle and left guard. David Quessenberry and Tommy Doyle have been getting that top-level run. Ryan Bates and Dion Dawkins have both missed time, as well, so we’re seeing a pretty clear pecking order on the offensive line. Even Bobby Hart and Cody Ford got some first-team reps this past week. Brown is working his way back in to the full team reps now and Saffold is about a week behind him. Cody Ford has been on the outside looking in.
- What’s going on in the battle at running back? Zack Moss is having a really good training camp and James Cook is mixing in with the receivers, among other things.
- Safety Jordan Poyer left practice on Tuesday with a hyperextended elbow and will miss a few weeks of camp. He should be ready for the season. His running mate, Micah Hyde, went down and was carted off with an injury more than a week ago. After remaining limited for a few days, he is nearly all the way back following some hip soreness.
- Fourth-year DT Ed Oliver is absolutely dominating in training camp and looks to continue that upward trend into the season. Defensive end A.J. Epenesa started in place of a resting Von Miller on Friday, taking his solid camp and turning it into the DE3 job as the top reserve.
- At the end of the first day of padded practice last Saturday, Josh Allen started a fight with Jordan Phillips. Allen says the competitive juices were flowing out there and it’s not a big deal. Boogie Basham came out swinging on Day 2 with another fight. You’ll never believe it, but there was another fight on Thursday.
- Matt Araiza is clearly winning the punting competition and has been 100% with his hold so far in camp.
- We used the off day last Wednesday to round up all the players who have missed time with injuries during Bills camp. The list is extensive and contains 15 players. Read the whole thing here. The only new long-term injury during camp is Marquez Stevenson, whose foot injury will keep him out through the season opener. They did get two members of the team back in pads Thursday. On Sunday, a few new players were sidelined with general soreness.
- Cornerback Tre’Davious White and OG Ike Boettger begin the year on the PUP list, as expected. They are both recovering from serious injuries suffered during the 2021 season. Joining them on PUP is DT Eli Ankou.
- Two pending free agents have been talking potential contract extensions. Jordan Poyer’s agent was in attendance as camp opened and Dawson Knox was optimistic about staying in Buffalo. Poyer’s injury complicates matters. Another pending free agent, fullback Reggie Gilliam, inked a new deal this weekend.
I’ve included the Bills Reporters Twitter list to follow along with the updates from the local beat reporters.