The Buffalo Bills returned to the practice field on Sunday after a day off. Although the defense made some nice plays, the offense won the day.
Here are my observations:
James Cook was cooking
Bills running back James Cook may have a big role ahead of him heading into his sophomore season. On Sunday, Cook looked like he was ready to take on that workload.
Throughout the day, Cook’s versatility was on display. The second-year running back made the highlight play of the day, hauling in a touchdown from quarterback Josh Allen. It was a wheel route on the right boundary, and Cook used his speed at the second level to get past safety Micah Hyde and haul in a beautiful ball from his quarterback.
Cook proved down the stretch last year that he can be counted on, and Cook himself said he’s more comfortable in the offense heading into this year. That was evident today.
Ken Dorsey’s creativity
Ken Dorsey had a lot of success in his first year as an offensive coordinator, and this season he’s looking to take his play-calling expertise to the next level.
One play that stands out from Sunday led to a Josh Allen rushing touchdown from about 40 yards out. Allen was under center, sent wide receiver Deonte Harty in motion, snapped the ball, faked a handoff to running back Damien Harris, faked an end around to Harty, and kept it himself. While the defense was focused on Harty, it opened the whole other half of the field for an easy touchdown by Allen.
Dorsey has been showing some creative looks at camp, giving tight end Dawson Knox a handoff and lining up his play makers all over the place. Dorsey will look to continue his strong play calling as the pads go on against an aggressive defense of head coach Sean McDermott.
Jordan Poyer is still that guy
The best play from the defense came in the red zone. Allen was looking right, delivered a bullet, and out of nowhere, safety Jordan Poyer intercepted the ball and ran the other way as the crowd at St.John Fisher erupted.
Poyer continues to make plays for the defense and, even at 32, is still incredibly valuable to the Bills.
The Allen-to-Diggs connection continues to impress
During the first half of practice, the Bills’ wide receivers and corners went head-to-head. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs got the best of cornerback Tre’Davious White three times in a row. The last rep between the two was the best. Allen delivered a bullet right into the hands of Diggs before White even had a chance to react. Diggs turned, gave a wave to the crowd, and the crowd went wild.
During a team portion of practice, Allen went 3-3 and all of his completions were to Diggs. Harris finished the drive with a rushing touchdown.
One of the best combinations in the NFL is back.
Dalton Kincaid: What can I say?
Bills tight end Dalton Kincaid has impressed since the first day of camp, and today was just another one of those days.
During one-on-ones, Kincaid beat Poyer with his natural route-running ability, and followed it up beating safety Dean Marlowe over the middle of the field. During a team portion of practice, Allen found Kincaid over the middle. It was tight coverage, and Kincaid used his strong hands to come back to the ball and make the play.
The more comfortable Allen and Kincaid get, the better the offense will become.
Poona Ford makes play of the day
Newly acquired defensive tackle Poona Ford made some noise.
Quarterback Matt Barkley dropped back into the pocket, and threw the ball right at Ford, and he did the rest. Ford caught the ball and brought it back to the house. Allen came from the middle of the field to try and strip Ford of the ball before he crossed the goal line, but Ford held onto it.
Ford and the entirety of the defensive line looked stellar today.
Other quick notes
Cornerback Kaiir Elam received the majority of first-team reps today, and it was an inconsistent day for the 2022 first-round pick.
Tyrel Dodson started at MLB, continuing the cycle of competition at that position.
Kim Pegula attended practice today, her first time in public since her scary incident last summer.
The Bills return to practice tomorrow and the pads will be on.