Buffalo Bills training camp by the day
(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) – The Buffalo Bills returned to Saint John Fisher for 2022 training camp, their first time in the Flower City since 2019.
That meant Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Von Miller, and the rest of the Buffalo Bills are one step closer to a season where their considered the favorites to win the Super Bowl by some.
Takeaway 1: Injury concerns for Micah Hyde
The only takeaway that really mattered on Friday – Micah Hyde went down with a slight injury to his hip and glute area and didn’t return to practice.
It’s important not to get ahead of ourselves. Training camp is not the place to put any injuries to the test, so even the smallest bang-up can still warrant a day or two off.
The one positive – Buffalo should be happy about the depth they have at the safety position with Jordan Poyer. Contract talks anyone?
Takeaway 2: The countdown to pads
So far, practice has been held with no pads, per NFL rules. That changes on Saturday, when the BIlls will be able to begin practicing in full pads. Of course, as a contact sport, that effects every position, especially the defense.
"The rules in the offseason program are kind of prohibitive in some ways when it comes to what you’re trying to get accomplished. But in training camp the reigns are kind of taken off and you can really get after a little bit, being able to wear pads," said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
Takeaway 3: A breakout year for Dawson Knox?
Few Buffalo players broke out in the way Dawson Knox did last season, finishing second on the Bills in receiving touchdowns. But even with his growth as a player, Knox’s leadership style isn’t as loud as you might expect.
"I’ve never been like the rah rah guy in the huddle but I think it’s important just to make sure guys are doing well mentally too, because I know when I was a rookie, my head was spinning, said Knox.
Takeaway 1: A new offensive coordinator doesn’t mean a totally new scheme
Dion Dawkins stated the somewhat obvious, that although Ken Dorsey might be new to his position, he’s not new to the Buffalo Bills. Dorsey’s been with the team since 2019 and has worked his way up to the OC position quite rapidly.
Dorsey also has a plan on what he wants the Bills’ identity to look like.
"We want to play fast with speed and that’s finishing runs, getting the ball in their hands, and being explosive and making plays with the ball in their hands. We want to be physical, so that’s finishing runs, lowering your pad level, splitting defenders, trying to get that extra yard or two. And then we want to be disciplined about how we do things with our assignments and being in the right spots and having a great ball location to be able to allow those guys to do that," said Dorsey.
Takeaway 2: Von Miller makes everyone better
Dion Dawkins is a quotebook in himself and when talking about Von Miller, he could have filled a novel. Dawkins likened Miller to Michael Jordan, described the future Hall of Famer’s hits with sound effects, and said just about everything in between.
"I can’t imagine if Von was here for six years. Imagine how good all of us would be. By adding him, it’s definitely physical already. He has one speed and that speed is greatness," said Dawkins.
Takeaway 3: Just a better day from start to finish at Bills camp
Bills camp was rough on Tuesday. Let’s just get that out of the way.
But Wednesday made up for any shortcomings. Energy was better, players made plays, and everything just seemed more crisp. Training camp is going to have some days where growing pains of starting a new season with some new players is obvious. Days like Wednesday are good reminders of why this Buffalo Bills team is Super Bowl favorites.
Takeaway 1: Tavon Austin’s drive is rubbing off on the other WRs
It’s been mentioned before but it’s worth noting that Austin is out to prove something this year. Before playing in thirteen games last year, he played a combined eight in the previous three seasons. Austin, 32, is motivated to show he’s still got something left in the tank and Stefon Diggs has taken notice.
"He’s a legend, I’m saying, and having time, having a chance opportunity to play with him, how can you derive or bring some motivation to the table," Diggs said. "How can you continue to push him and how can he push me?"
Takeaway 2: Tremaine Edmunds isn’t letting a contract year distract him
The Linebacker has made a noticeable difference for the Bills since he was drafted in the first round of 2018. He became the first player in NFL history with two seasons of 100+ tackles by the time he turned 21. Edmunds, a Pro Bowl selection last year, registered 70 solo tackles and an additional thirteen in the playoffs. Now, he’s approaching the final year of his contract. However, Sean McDermott is impressed with how well he’s blocked that off.
"He’s done everything we’ve ever asked since day one," the HC said. "And he’s a consummate pro…right now, he’s just got to go out there and play his best football. And I think he’s off to a great start with that."
Takeaway 3: Josh Allen knows how to make a fan’s day
QB1’s love for Bills Mafia is well documented but today he took it to another level. Allen gifted two fans from Rochester his cleats after they didn’t have any paraphernalia for anyone to sign.
Takeaway 1: Dawson Knox hasn’t changed
It’s a contract year for Knox. He’s coming off a career-year in receiving touchdowns, yards, and catches. He has all the right to act like the superstar he’s becoming.
Yet he’s not.
"I just want to keep building on what I did last year and just have that same kind of edge to me that I haven’t really proven what I need to prove yet," said Knox.
Takeaway 2: Gabriel Davis has always been a star
Davis emerged as a superstar in the NFL’s eyes after hauling in eight receptions for 201 yards and four touchdowns in the Divisional Round loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in January.
While that game served as his official breakout performance, Stefon Diggs has always viewed Davis as a star.
"It was more so everybody else saw it rather than man, we saw because I wasn’t surprised that anything that he did that game," said Diggs.
Takeaway 3: Khalil Shakir is a name to watch
After Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley parted from the Bills in the offseason, it seemed apparent that Buffalo would target a wide receiver in the NFL Draft. They did so by grabbing Khalil Shakir out of Boise State in the fifth round.
While Shakir isn’t expected to earn too many snaps right away, he is a prospect that could develop into something as the season rolls along. And he’s already taking notes on how Diggs and Josh Allen carry themselves.
"You see what they’ve done in their career so far, and they’re getting better and better and better. That’s exactly what I want to do with my career every single day," said Shakir.
Takeaway 1: Happy to be back
There’s no denying that Rochester is an awesome spot for the Bills to hold training camp. COVID wouldn’t allow it to take place at St. John Fisher the past two years, so for the first time since 2019, the Buffalo Bills are back.
"We love it coming up here. I think it’s great for our players, great for our team. It gives us a chance to connect with fans in this area that might not be able to come down to Buffalo for whatever reason," said Bills General Manager Brandon Beane.
Takeaway 2: Josh Allen enters elite territory
Over the past few seasons, Josh Allen has gone from overrated, to underrated, to a star in this league. After another stellar regular season and a valiant effort against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2022 Divisional Round, Allen has reached another level of stardom. He’s an MVP favorite, and it’s no secret that Bills fans in Rochester are out to see him more than anyone else.
"We’re doing a two minute walk through where, you know, we’re supposed to catch the ball like the defense isn’t going to do anything and they’re going crazy for us when we score a touchdown. So it’s it’s a lot of fun," said Allen.
Takeaway 3: It’s still Sean McDermott’s team
A lot was said about Brian Daboll’s exit to the New York Giants. Most of it was not ill-mannered, as Buffalo Bills fans knew he deserved a crack at a head coaching job. But the coach behind a lot of the Bills’ success hasn’t gone anywhere, and he too thinks holding training camp in Rochester has its benefits.
"Getting away allows us a chance to come together as a team, spend some time together, maybe after meetings, before practice, get guys hanging out a little bit more where they can develop those bonds. That’ll bind us during the year when it gets tough," said McDermott.