After the end of an extinction-level playoff drought, this year’s offseason felt a little easier. With the Bills selecting a future franchise quarterback in the NFL Draft, Training Camp couldn’t come soon enough. It is now here.
Josh Allen has officially signed with the Bills (earlier this week, a 4-year contract), and was well received by the St. John Fisher crowd. The biggest pop of the day came — not surprisingly — on a long completion from Allen. He showed some pretty good zip on short slant routes as well.
While some expect Nate Peterman to open the season as the Bills #1 QB, he is nowhere to be seen in the official Camp guide, as far as an autograph location goes. Each position has enough to satisfy a starting lineup (and a few extras, ie: 3 Tackles, 3 Safeties, etc.), but ‘ol #2 isn’t one of them.
The other story serving as an ample distraction is the controversy surrounding LeSean McCoy. Like Allen, he was also received well (to cheers from the crowd), and the threat of protesters either didn’t show up or make themselves adequately visible. McCoy has made it clear that he wants to focus on football, and that is what he did Thursday night.
To the receiving corps, Kelvin Benjamin is back hoping to right the wrongs of last season, career lows in many categories. Just 3 touchdowns and 692 yard receiving, #13 will be someone they weigh on heavily, especially with the threat of McCoy missing time.
Josh Allen’s favorite target of the day was rookie Robert Foster. He reeled in some deep throws to the approval of those in attendance.
To the other side of the ball, Kyle Williams is back to lead the Buffalo Bills defense. He seemed to sign more autographs than anyone else, and appeared to be mingling with fans the longest as well.
Shaq Lawson figured to be a key part of this team, but now some aren’t so sure. ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak believes he’s “competing for a rotational role, if not for his 53-man roster spot entirely.”
Rookie Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds out of Danville, VA, had a dominating appearance on the field. At 6’5, 250, he often looked to be a full head taller than others around him, especially while signing for kids. At just 20 years old, he could have one of the brightest futures in Buffalo.
The secondary had some moments, but with heavy contact very much discouraged (especially so early in camp), they gave receivers a little more room, or didn’t lower the boom on halfbacks sneaking down the sidelines. We’ll have a to wait for a little more rigorous conduct to get a better picture on some of those moments.
With camp wrapped up for the night, the guys convened for some final encouragements. Some head to the autograph fence, some went to the locker rooms, and others got to hang around and answer some questions.
The team has a ticketed practice on July 29th (8:45a), a day off on July 30th, and 8:45a practices open to the public August 1st and 2nd. They head to New Era Field on August 3rd (6:15, ticket required), and return to St. John Fisher for an August 5th (2:15p) session (ticket required).
The Bills are slotted for a Week 1 Preseason game with the Carolina Panthers in Orchard Park (August 9th). With mandatory ‘tiered’ cut-down dates out the window, rosters are to be trimmed to 53 by September 1st, which encompasses the entirety of the preseason schedule.