It’s a padless practice at SJF today. Part of that is the sultry day. It’s a muggy 77 degrees with a feels-like about 85. Gaining the most applause upon their entrance to the field today were Tremaine Edmunds, Poyer, and Tre –all defensive players, because they will carry us this year. You add strength up the middle with Lotu, Edmunds, and Horrible Harry, and the team that led the league in picks will do so again. Maybe the Bills will also do better in the sack department. More on that later.
Wives and wings are back in Buffalo, so the Bills will move back there for a Friday night practice, then back here for a 2:15 on Sunday, which I’ll attend with some special guests, one from Wyoming.
Today, Mike’s back helping me immensely with insights, jersey numbers, and context. I appreciate it, Mike. He notes that the kick return rules are going to cause a “learning curve” for teams, especially in the preseason. Kaelin Clay is once again the #1 returner, with Cadet the understudy. The “up backs” are Humber and DiMarco, but they still can’t comprise a “wedge”. This will still be a fun play to watch. Eddie Yarbrough is the fastest cover guy down the field today, and we had a holding penalty on the #2 kick-return team. This makes Crosman mental.
The subwoofer has been turned down today to Boeing 727 volume as they begin 11 on 11s at the 6-yard line, 3rd-down situations. Today they have a 24-second clock and Daboll has a headset into each QB’s helmet. McCarron starts with the ones. De’Ondre Wesley is the RT.
McCarron runs a draw, and gets ‘meh’ yards. If he’s our starter for Preseason Game 1, he’ll get the fewest rush yards of the trio of QBs. On his second play, Ivory comes in, C-Clay is in the slot and motions. McCarron rolls out and fires a TD to Rod Streater. The next McCarron errant pass was intended for Shady, but Tremaine gets his second INT in the last 2 days. There is also a flag on the play. One is assessed to each of the 3 offensive platoons during this 11 on 11.
McCarron shows quick decision-making on the QB keeper, and finally throws to the sidelines to Streater, but he’s down at the one-yard line. It’s Peterman’s turn, and he has Foster and Kaelin Clay out wide. Before the play is run, though, a flag (I think false start) interrupts them. Eager TE Jason Croom blocks too early on the next play, then a nice Peterman-to-Marcus Murphy handoff goes for a good gain up the middle.
Completions to Nick O’Leary (I’m pretty sure it was him) and Brandon Reilly end Peterman’s turn. Josh Allen’s up and he completes a low swing pass to Travaris Cadet near the left sidelines, and Cadet gains a few more yards of YAC. Allen dodges a rusher and keeps the ball, deftly scampering up the right sideline.
Play of the Day was next, with Keith Ford the RB, Austin Proehl, Cam Phillips, and Ray-Ray McCloud out wide. Ford motions to determine man or zone, and Allen exhibits nimble pocket movement before slinging it to pet cat Cam Phillips for what would be his first of two TDs on the day. Allen gets his flag on the next play, a delay of game, and finally newbie linebacker Keenan Robinson tips away a possible touchdown chance to Shady. Robinson was brought in because of his coverage skills, and he just showed why.
After a pretty-uneventful session against air (except that Allen started with the ones), they began another 11-on-11 situation. Allen started, followed by Peterman and McCarron. Each got 4 repetitions, so we’ll score them. Allen throws too high for Charles Clay, runs a toss sweep to Chris Ivory which Milano smartly blew up, checks into a play where the defense’s two best rushers (Kyle and Hughes) come unblocked for a sack, and runs a sweet keeper for a TD. He gets one point out of 4.
Peterman has Jason Croom, O’Leary, Foster, and Marcus Murphy out there, shows good pre-snap leadership, and Murphy nets about 10 yards off tackle. Croom is in tight for the next play, and Croom’s block helps Foster pick up extra yards on a run left. Again, Peterman shows leadership and passes to Foster’s outside shoulder away from the defender.
A coverage sack with Ford the RB and O’Leary inline shows how well the secondary is playing. Peterman gets 3 points out of 4. McCarron comes in with Ray-Ray, Cam Phillips, and Taiwan Jones, who has a nice run for plus yards. Poyer makes a sensational play to foil a TD catch by Cam Phillips. McCarron shows leadership too lining up and motioning Marcus Murphy, but Rafael Bush blitzes. McCarron fires for a TD but, perhaps because he was rushed, misses his target. Keith Ford makes a TD on McCarron’s last snap with Kaelin Clay, Foster, Brandon Reilly, and Cadet out there. McCarron gets 2 out of 4.
I was asked a lot of questions about the offensive linemen, so here’s what happened on their 1 on 1 battles (always a camp favorite): Redmond actually held off Horrible Harry, Marquavius Lewis won his battle, Yarbrough just bowls Mo Porter over, deBeer looks awkward and loses to his opponent, pet cat Ike Boettger handles Harrison Phillips, Marquavius Lewis is unsuccessful at bullrushing Adam Redmond, OT Josh James isn’t quick enough and loses his battle, Mo Porter holds Terrence Fede so Fede gets the win, Shaq Lawson is offsides twice (although he points to the Center who possibly flinched) then is handles by big DeOndre Wesley, Adolphus Washington beats Newhouse, and Bodine wins vs Rickey Hatley. Wyatt Teller holds Horrible Harry off, Conor McDermott is impressive vs Mat Boesen, Washington and Bodine are tied, Wyatt Teller beats Shaq, and McDermott cleverly waits for Yarbrough’s first move and stymies it.
Tyler, the other kicker, is tried out but he misses twice out of 5 times. He hits on a 27 yarder, a 32-yarder, and a 41-yarder, but missed his 38 and 44-yarder. Buh-Bye.
The last 11 on 11’s were from their own 20, and it was a hot mess. Not ranch-on-wings mess, but close. McCarron began and it was the Shady Show: toss L to Shady, Shady up middle twice, and Robert Foster had a first and ten twice, once on the throw and once on defensive pass interference on Gaines, I’m pretty sure. It ended badly, with a tipped pass pulled in by Milano. McCarron gets 1 point out of 4.
Peterman’s toss sweep to Murphy didn’t net much, then an end-around to Streater had the same result. Peterman’s pass to Croom was complete, and Croom ran out of bounds. Peterman threw late and into coverage to Murphy (who was open earlier), and it fell incomplete. Croom clears out an area for Streater underneath for Peterman’s best toss of the period, although it could have been out of bounds (I have no replay). Peterman also gets a 1 out of 4.
Allen has Mo Porter at LT (gulp) and James as LG. They both contribute to a gummed-up run through the middle. Cam Phillips has a drop on a perfect ball that would’ve netted 15 yards, Allen throws too low to Cadet, but he catches it on the sideline, Khari Lee drops Allen’s next pass (shades of Wyoming), though there’s a flag on the offense. With 19 yards to go and 3rd down, Allen runs a 4-wide play, choosing to throw it to the under route to Ray-Ray –who drops it. Allen ends his 11-on-11 with a ball way out in front of Ray-Ray. Not all Allen’s fault, but he gets 1 out of 4. Still a bit early to buy your playoff tickets.
In the last session, a red-zone from the 8-yard line, McCarron got 4 snaps, Peterman 2 snaps, and Allen 2 snaps. McCarron had a TD from Croom that Poyer couldn’t do anything about. Peterman had a rushing TD from Travaris Cadet up the middle, and Allen had two TDs, one by pet cat Cam Phillips and one keeper TD after a fake handoff.
See you on Sunday! -Dean
Editor’s babble: Typical camp practice with offense and defense taking turns looking good and then like hot garbage. It will be interesting to see how the Bills play at New Era Field on Friday evening at 6:15 p.m. You can follow Dean (and should!) on Twitter @TCBILLS_Astro.