Today was the second to last day of training camp for the Buffalo Bills at SJFEI (St. John Fisher Educational Institution). Unlike the last time I went, the players wore pads or, as Sean McDermott would say, “thudded up”. While there wasn’t much thudding to be had today, some things happened that I found noteworthy. Let’s dive in…
1.) Stefon Diggs’ Day Off
When the players took the field for practice, there was one notable name missing… Stefon Diggs showed up an hour into practice in sweatpants and a hat, indicating that today was his veteran off day.
2.) Full House at OL
According to Sal Capaccio, today was the first day of training camp where the entire Buffalo Bills offensive line suited up (minus Boettger of course). The presumed first team OL finally all practiced together, with Spencer Brown and David Quessenberry rotating at RT. This is a welcomed sight heading into the preseason.
3.) Kick Return Battle Update
Isaiah McKenzie worked with the jugs machine for simulated kick return reps, followed by Duke Johnson, James Cook, Khalil Shakir, Olaijah Griffin(?), Reggie Gilliam(??), and Quintin Morris(???). Then, things got a little less crowded for the simulated kickoffs with coverage units, as McKenzie, Duke, and Cook fielded kicks with the first, second, and third team respectively.
4.) Let James COOK!!
Speaking of James Cook, while he split first-team reps with Devin Singletary and Zach Moss, the 2022 second-round pick looked as explosive as advertised on both handoffs and receptions. I’m excited to see all the ways Ken Dorsey utilizes him during the season.
5.) Tommy Sweeney Does Things
Sweeney’s Weenies (@adamnannini) can rejoice, for he has done things in pads and shorts. Today’s training camp standout made a couple nice catches, including a touchdown during the red zone drills. I still don’t believe Tommy Sweeney makes the final 53, but it’s nice to see him fighting for his job.
6.) Kicker & Punter “Competitions”
There were also some developments in the punting competition… just not in the way you’d imagine. Early on in practice, Matt Araiza sent a warmup punt about 40 yards to the end zone. It had decent hang-time and, fortunately, didn’t hit a walking Josh Allen. (More on this later.) Now, Josh could have simply tossed the ball to some intern and gone on his merry way. That is not what he did.
Instead, Josh Allen picked it up and punted it right back to Araiza. In doing this, Allen may have turned the two-man punter battle into a three-way drop kick brouhaha. (Doug Flutie would be pleased.)
However, as we saw during kicking drills later on, one Bills fan was not as lucky as Josh…
The fan was conked square in the back of the head by Bass’ kick. (As far as I know, the fan is alright.) It is unknown at this time whether the league will investigate this incident, but the Buffalo Bills are clearly preparing for the worst case scenario.
7.) Identity Theft
Great news Bills fans, Jordan Poyer participated in practice today… except he didn’t. Jordan Phillips decided to take Po’s jersey for a spin. While it may be amusing to see a hog mollie wearing a DB’s practice jersey, identity theft is a serious matter.
“Identity theft is not a joke, Jim! Millions of families suffer every year!”Dwight Schrute
8.) Kaiir Elam is Grinding
Kaiir Elam may not be CB1 on the depth chart right now, but he is definitely putting in the work. The 2022 first-round pick was the first player on the field before practice (doing exercises with a band around his ankles) and one of the last to leave (as seen above).
9.) So is Reggie Gilliam
As weird as it is to say, I think the biggest beneficiary of Diggs’ off day was Reggie Gilliam. I know that he isn’t a wide receiver, but the Bills seemed to run significantly more 12-personnel today than other days. Gilliam saw a significant number of snaps with the first, second, and third team, lining up all over the place. Could this signify an expanded role for the newly-extended fullback this year?
10.) Defense Makes Plays in Red Zone
The defensive units made some good plays during the red zone drills. The most notable plays were a Mike Love “sack” (he came in unblocked, but pulled up getting to Matt Barkley) and Taron Johnson breaking up an Allen pass to Gabe Davis. Nick McCloud did pick off Case Keenum, though the pass zipped through Khalil Shakir’s fingers first.
11.) 7-on-7 Scramble
At one point, the Buffalo Bills ran a 7-on-7 scramble drill with Josh Allen. As Steve Tasker and Chris Brown pointed out on One Bills Live, they rotated first, second, and third teamers with Josh during this period; presumably to get everyone comfortable with their roles when he extends plays.
12.) Jim Kelly Sighting
There was a special guest at Bills training camp today. Jim Kelly (seen in a white coat) was spotted shaking hands with fans and talking to Brandon Beane. What they discussed is unknown.
Perhaps they talked about the OBJ rumors? A possible Poyer extension? The nice weather? Maybe they discussed the purpose of the three seashells? Let me know what you think about this or anything else I mentioned in the comments or on Twitter (@zvaughn2712).
Oh, one last thing before I go…
13.) Death, Taxes, Gabe Davis Toe Drag Swag
I am contractually obligated to share any and all Gabe Davis toe drag catches. Based on his performance in camp, Davis is ready to be Buffalo’s WR2. (And my opinion is in no way influenced by the fact I have him on both of my dynasty teams… Not. At. All. Even though his fantasy stock is going TO DA MOON!! 📈📈📈)
Featured Image: Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat & Chronicle