You knew it was coming. After reading and watching every video clip I could find covering this week’s OTAs at One Bills Drive, I noticed a few ‘intangible’ issues that might be worth mentioning. Here’s a few of my more twisted observations.
QB competition just got very interesting.
Along with equal reps shared by AJ McCarron, Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen, there was equal time provided at the podium for each quarterback to speak to the media this week. Since they rarely say anything substantial about scheme, my eyeballs are on their behavior at the podium and how they respond to questions from reporters. So what did I see?
- AJ McCarron looks like a guy who just realized there will arguably be more pressure on him to win the starting job than he may have anticipated. Most comments from reporters regarding Josh Allen’s performance this week praised his raw talent. It’s one thing to see it on film. It’s quite another to witness Allen up close and personal. It will be interesting to see how McCarron’s mood changes throughout the off-season as he fights to become the Bills’ starting quarterback. He certainly appeared to be a guy who realized the ride to the starting job isn’t going to be easy-peasy.
- Nathan Peterman is as steady a guy in terms of emotion as you’ll find anywhere. This is a young man mature beyond his years and wise enough to appreciate the benefits of getting paid handsomely to toss around footballs for a living. Having the time to grow into another offensive scheme and learn without pressure definitely has its benefits and Peterman gets it. If anyone was looking for him to fold mentally after his disastrous debut against the Chargers last year, forget about it. It’s already long forgotten by him.
- Josh Allen did not look like a deer in the headlights during his first week with the vets. He handled himself with aplomb answering reporters questions and deftly shifting any snark being tossed his way. He’s definitely a newbie with the media, but one thing I noted was his ability to think quickly on his feet when lobbed a tough question. He still seems a tad nervous with the media, but I suspect that will ease as the summer goes on. No one can deny his elite physical skill set, that’s for sure. But I’m also impressed with his humble demeanor and how he handles being buried on the depth chart.
Rookie MLB Tremaine Edmunds might be the steal of the draft
How in the world did Edmunds fall in the draft to a place where Brandon Beane could snatch him? This guy is not only a physical freak, but has the right mindset from being raised in an NFL family as well. First week of OTAs and he’s out there looking like a giant California sequoia tree barking out plays for the defense. Steady, mature and looks like he’s ready to take the NFL by storm. I’ll burn my rosary beads all summer praying Edmunds stays healthy just to see the look on Tom Brady’s face when he shout’s out “49’s the MIKE” this fall. Can you say “heat seeking missile”?
A couple of players decided to go ahead and drink the kool-aid
- RG John Miller looks like he spent the entire off season redefining more than just his physique. As lead journalist Chris Brown recently noted, Miller was not happy being benched last season in favor of Vlad Ducasse. He not only cleaned up his diet and trained like crazy during the offseason, he also found the burn to reclaim his starting job. After a solid 2016, getting benched was obviously a humbling experience he’s vowed not to let happen again. The Bills will need him to regain his game on the right side, especially with the RT position up for grabs.
- DE Shaq Lawson got his wake up call in the off season when the Bills spent some precious cap space signing Trent Murphy. Murphy is already one of my favorite guys on the team with his workmanlike attitude and unique personality. He will push Shaq to prove his first-round draft status wasn’t another bad call by the ‘old’ Bills. Lawson is one of the few players left on the squad since McBeane rode into town. Shaq says he’s ready to roll. And we’re ready to see it happen!
CB Tre’Davious White has a reason to burn
After being snubbed for a Pro-Bowl bid after his rookie season, the reasons for White to burn hot this season just keep coming. White was also snubbed as AP’s Defensive Rookie of the Year (CB Marshon Lattimore won). It’s pretty clear this doesn’t sit well with White, who seems to take these things personally. I have a feeling Mr. White won’t be ignored much longer.
With wily veteran Vontae Davis opposite White, I expect both will blow up this season if they stay healthy. Davis is out to prove he’s still an elite corner and he will get every chance to prove that because White’s performance will force plays to Davis’ side.
Expect White to come out of the gate on fire this season, and establishing himself even more as a leader on defense. Along with the rest of the secondary, White will be pivotal in helping MLB Tremaine Edmunds adjust to his workload as QB of the defense. If White makes a jump in his play like many players do in their second season, the media and his peers won’t be able to deny him some hard earned accolades.
It’s anybody’s guess how the OL will be configured at opener
LT Dion Dawkins looks like the only solid starter on Buffalo’s offensive line. Between Eric Wood’s early retirement and Richie Incognito’s unexpected retirement, there’s no doubt the line positions are up for grabs. Hard to tell from reports that Groy worked at both C/G positions which one he’ll end up with, but it seems reasonable to think he will be a starter at one or the other.
Because the line scheme is also changing, it’s anybody’s guess how the line will perform this year. The good news is the scheme appears to favor the strengths of this group of players, unlike the mismatched mess we saw the first half of last season when Dennison and company ran a zone-based scheme. We’ll have plenty of time to obsess about each position and which player will end up starting.
There are no conclusions that can be made after the first week of OTAs. However, what we did see was a sneak peek at how players interacted with the media, coaches and each other. High attendance, positive comments from reporters about the pace of workouts and participation bodes well as we head into the second week of OTAs.
Editor’s babble: While many pine away for the off season to move along and get on with playing football games that count, I relish the opportunity to be totally delusional about the Bills for the entire months of May and June. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.
*Views expressed by authors are not necessarily the same as the owners of the BillsMafia.com website.