Buffalo Bills

Training Camp Notebook: Day 4

The Bills took the field at Saint John Fisher Sunday for their fourth practice, they won’t return to the practice field until Wednesday morning. Here is a recap of what went on…

Quarterback & Wide Receiver

Roster Certainty: Josh Allen, Matt Barkley
Roster Bubble: n/a
PS Candidate: Tyree Jackson
Likely Off The Roster: n/a

Roster Certainty: John Brown, Cole Beasley, Zay Jones, Robert Foster, Andre Roberts
Roster Bubble: Ray-Ray McCloud, Cam Phillips
PS Candidate: David Sills, Nick Easley
Likely Off The Roster: Isaiah McKenzie, Victor Bolden, Duke Williams

Josh Allen could have been in for a bad day. Early on in practice, he threw a horrid ball behind John Brown and it was intercepted by Tre White. However, he bounced back and had another solid day. The biggest note to take away from today is the connection with Cole Beasley that seems to be growing by the day. Beasley missed OTAs so he and Allen have been working hard to establish a rapport and it shows. Allen connected with Beasley on multiple occasions for chunk yards and first downs.

Brown and Beasley are establishing themselves as veteran savvy replacements for the roles Robert Foster and Isaiah McKenzie established late last year. Foster is the field stretch, and Allen hit him deep down the field often for big plays. Brown is much further along at this point in tracking the ball in the air, this should allow Allen to hit on these downfield shots at a higher rate. McKenzie played from the slot and was targeted 5-6 times a game and utilized on jet sweeps. Beasley has much better hands than McKenzie and will more than likely catch those targets at a much higher rate. Increasing the rate of success from these two positions will help Allen and his completion percentage, help the Bills keep drives alive, and ultimately help them put more points on the board.

I noted yesterday that Ray-Ray McCloud was the frontrunner for the final Wide Receiver spot. That may still be the case, but he has competition. Camp Phillips, after catching some nice balls from Tyree Jackson, was getting run on the field with the first unit. This may have been due to Zay Jones not taking any reps during team drills today because of cramping. Phillips doesn’t have the size or speed of others on the roster, but he was on the practice squad last year and appears to have numerous fans within the Bills coaching staff. When Robert Foster was demoted last year to the practice squad, it was Phillips who was called up to the roster in his place. He had one catch for nine yards. It’ll be interesting to see if he can improve upon that this preseason and give McCloud a run.

Running Backs

Roster Certainty: LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Devin Singletary, Senorice Perry
Roster Bubble:
PS Candidate: Christian Wade
Likely Off The Roster: TJ Yeldon, Marcus Murphy

Devin Singletary got numerous reps with the ones today as the Bills try to taper the workload of McCoy and Gore. He has not disappointed camp onlookers thus far. People attending camp rave about his agility, the crispness of his cuts, and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. It wouldn’t surprise me if Singletary ended up as the team’s leading rusher by season’s end.

On top of running with the first unit on special teams all four days of camp, Senorice Perry is now splitting third-team reps with TJ Yeldon. I’m close to calling him a roster lock. The Bills covet his special team’s prowess, and he is now moving up the Running Back depth chart.

Tight End / Fullback

Roster Certainty: Dawson Knox, Tommy Sweeney, Lee Smith, Patrick DiMarco (Tyler Kroft)
Roster Bubble: Jason Croom
PS Candidate: Nate Becker
Likely Off The Roster: Keith Towbridge

Tyler Kroft is in a walking boot, Jason Croom remains out with a hamstring injury, and now rookie Dawson Knox is out with a hamstring injury of his own. That leaves the Bills with only Tommy Sweeney and Lee Smith as true competent NFL caliber Tight Ends. It’ll be interesting to see if over these two days the Bills bring in a Tight End to take on some of the load in practice and the first preseason game. Soft tissue injuries often tend to linger, and you don’t want to rush players back from it.

Offensive Line

Tackles:
Roster Certainty: Dion Dawkins, Cody Ford, Ty Nsehke
Roster Bubble: LaAdrian Waddle
PS Candidate:
Likely Off The Roster: Connor McDermott, De’Ondre Wesley

Interior O-Line:
Roster Certainty: Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse, John Feliciano, Spencer Long
Roster Bubble: Wyatt Teller
PS Candidate: Ike Boettger, Garrett McGhin
Likely Off The Roster: Russel Bodine, Vlad Ducasse, Isaac Asiata

Dion Dawkins has had some bad moments against Jerry Hughes. Cody Ford has had many more bad moments against the likes of Trent Murphy and even Daryl Johnson. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bills give up on the Ford at tackle experiment and move him inside to guard at all over these next coming weeks. That would put a wrench into the entire offensive line competition. From all reports of the two men behind him, Nsekhe has been okay and Waddle has struggled as well. Matt Parrino of New York Upstate opines that it may be due to them constantly shuffling between the left and right side.

Spain continues to be locked in at Left Guard. With Mitch Morse resting today, John Feliciano played Center and Spencer Long played Right Guard. It’ll be interesting to continue to watch these two battle for the starting Right Guard role. The loser almost certainly becomes to top reserve interior offensive linemen.

Defensive End & Defensive Tackle

Roster Certainty: Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, Shaq Lawson
Roster Bubble: Mike Love
PS Candidate: Daryl Johnson
Likely Off The Roster: Eddie Yarbrough, Eli Harold

Roster Certainty: Jordan Phillips, Star Lotuleilei, Harrison Phillips, Ed Oliver
Roster Bubble:
PS Candidate:
Likely Off The Roster: Kyle Peko, Robert Thomas, LJ Walton

Murphy looks healthy and has beaten Cody Ford on several plays. Love continues to play behind him as the backup Left End. It is surprising to me Shaq Lawson hasn’t gotten any looks at Left End. I know he is more comfortable on the right side, but he is a superior player to Love and Murphy will need to be rotated out far more than Jerry Hughes in season. Daryl Johnson has made some nice plays, even beating Cody Ford. It’ll be interesting to see if a man I have earmarked for the practice squad can make a real roster push.

Ed Oliver has flashed some good and some bad. He will push the pocket and disrupt the interior on one play, and be eaten up by blockers the next. The key for him will be to find consistency.

Linebackers

Roster Certainty: Matt Milano, Lorenzo Alexander, Tremaine Edmunds, Vosean Joseph, Maurice Alexander
Roster Bubble: Julian Stanford, Corey Thompson
PS Candidate: Tyrell Dodson, Jawan Foggie
Likely Off The Roster: Deon Lacey

With Lorenzo Alexander getting a rest day the Bills ran a lot of nickel packages. When they did get into a base set it was former UDFA Corey Thompson who took the reps in his place. Vosean Joseph continues to work with the third team behind Maurice Alexander.

Cornerback & Safety

Roster Certainty: Tre White, Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson, Kevin Johnson
Roster Bubble: EJ Gaines, Lafayette Pitts
PS Candidate: Cam Lewis
Likely Off The Roster: Denzel Rice, Ryan Lewis

Roster Certainty: Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Kurt Coleman
Roster Bubble: Siran Neal, Dean Marlowe
PS Candidate: Jaquan Johnson, Abraham Wallace
Likely Off The Roster:

By all accounts, Tre White, Micah Hyde, and Jordan Poyer have looked exceptional. Levi Wallace ran solely with the first unit at the second cornerback position today, with Taron Johnson in at the nickel. Lafayette Pitts, EJ Gaines, and Kevin Johnson played in the second unit with each spending time on the outside and in the slot.

Punter Palooza 2019

Roster Certainty:
Roster Bubble: Corey Bojorquez
PS Candidate:
Likely Off The Roster: Cory Carter

Sadly there are no punter updates at this time.

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