Buffalo Bills

Four Downs with David: First 4 Days of Training Camp

Welcome to “Four Downs with David.” My name is David Tilton, and some of you may know me as one of the co-hosts of “The Bills Guys” podcast, now part of the incredible Buffalo Fanatics network. I will be releasing a piece weekly for Buffalo Fanatics that takes a topic (please send in your suggestions!), and attempts to make progressively “warmer” takes on said topic.

Our 1st down take will be our easiest or “mildest” take, with the 4th down take being the “hottest” of the four! Think of each take as a different classic buffalo wing sauce flavor; mild, medium, hot, and EXTRA HOT. The goal is to give a wide range of thoughts and opinions, some that should be quite realistic, and some that may be quite “optimistic.”

Ultimately, we hope to generate some great conversation with the readers. Let’s get it going with our inaugural release, centered on the first four days of training camp!

1st Down – Mild, “It’s Only Been Four Days of Camp”

It’s easy to get excited about the prospects of this year’s Bills team as the first few days of camp have concluded. Josh Allen appears to be taking the right steps towards cementing himself as the team’s franchise quarterback, John Brown has looked good tracking down multiple deep balls, and Ed Oliver has looked dominant in his early reps with both the starters and the backups.

On the contrary, you may find yourself in the less optimistic camp due to the fact that Dawson Knox has suffered an early camp hamstring injury or that Robert Foster has appeared average at best. In any case, we all should take a collective step back and realize that there is a long road ahead before Week 1. With a bulk of the practices and five preseason games still to come, it may be a bit too early to jump on whichever bandwagon you find yourself leaning towards at this stage in the summer.

2nd Down – Medium, “Cole Beasley will Lead the Team in Receptions”

Predicting who will lead the Bills in receptions for the 2019 campaign is no easy task. Cases could be made for Zay Jones, Cole Beasley, and possibly even a running back like LeSean McCoy. John Brown has also dazzled thus far in camp, but most predict that he will be a lower volume, higher yards per catch type of player.

Although he’s off to a slightly slower start than his free agent counterpart, Cole Beasley started showing signs of chemistry with Josh Allen during the Bills most recent practice. With reliable hands and excellent route-running ability, Cole Beasley could become a clear favorite over the short and middle areas of the field, in the absence of a yet to be established reliable tight end target.

3rd Down – Hot, “Jordan Poyer will Lead the League in Interceptions”

Jordan Poyer has been a huge part of the Bills defensive success over the past two seasons. As camp gets underway this year, there is no reason to think that his high level of play will not continue. For those who have watched the Buffalo Bills Embedded series, Tre White comments on how difficult it is to get an interception in the NFL…unless you’re Jordan Poyer.

While I am still waiting for the Bills to announce a long-term contract extension for Poyer (is there anyone who doesn’t want that to happen?), I can feel at least some degree of confidence that Poyer will once again be the key takeaway machine within the backend of the Bills defense. With nine interceptions over his first two seasons with the Bills, Poyer is primed to take another leap forward during 2019, and could conceivably lead the NFL in interceptions.

4th Down – Extra Hot, “John Brown will have double-digit TD receptions”

For our inaugural article, I am hoping to come out of the gates strong with a take that isn’t totally unrealistic in my opinion. 4th down will be the place we consider any and all possibilities throughout training camp and into the season. We have already seen the chemistry on display between Josh Allen and John Brown through four days of camp. Brown has hauled in multiple deep balls and has looked smooth and speedy tracking them out of the air.

In recent memory, think of the career-best season Lee Evans had with J.P. Losman throwing him deep balls in 2006. Evans caught 8 touchdowns for nearly 1,300 yards during that season, and I would make the argument that the Josh Allen and John Brown duo could at least replicate that same touchdown number this year, plus more.

Bills fans – do you believe John Brown could catch 10 touchdown passes in 2019? Please share your thoughts!

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