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Bills training camp observations Day 3: Defensive line causes widespread disruption

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The Buffalo Bills’ defensive line looked as deep as advertised in Tuesday’s practice at St. John Fisher University.

Here are observations from the third practice of training camp:

1. Ed Oliver was in the backfield.

The third-year defensive tackle jumped offsides on the first snap of 11-on-11 work. After that, he had a strong practice. Oliver was in the backfield to stuff a run by Zach Moss. Later, he beat Tommy Doyle for a would-be sack. Josh Allen got the pass off for Isaiah McKenzie, but the pressure by Oliver forced an overthrow. Oliver also beat Cody Ford cleanly in one-on-one pass rush work between the defensive and offensive lines.

On Allen’s first 12 snaps of 11-on-11 work, nine of them were foiled by the defensive front.

“We knew coming into this, obviously through OTAs and minicamp that the defense was gonna be a problem,” said safety Micah Hyde. “So, those guys up front, they're working. They’ve got great coaches, great players out there. We know that there's going to be some opportunities for us on the back end because of it.”

Jordan Poyer charged a gap to meet Devin Singletary in the backfield on the first run from scrimmage. A.J. Epenesa and Jordan Philips got quick pressure to force Allen to scramble. Good coverage caused a would-be sack on the next Allen dropback. Pressure by Tyrel Dodson forced an Allen incompletion. DaQuan Jones burst up the middle to force an incomplete pass for Dawson Knox. Allen was flushed from the pocket on the next play and threw incomplete deep for McKenzie. (However, in a real game, Allen likely would have scrambled for 10-plus yards on the play.)

Meanwhile, Shaq Lawson blew up a pass play in his direction by Case Keenum. Then Lawson defeated Luke Tenuta at the point of attack to allow rookie linebacker Baylon Spector to make a tackle for loss. Tim Settle and Phillips had bat-downs of Allen passes at the line of scrimmage. C.J. Brewer batted down a Matt Barkley pass.

Line of scrimmage play without pads has to be taken with a grain of salt. And given the Bills' defensive depth, proven veterans like Lawson and Phillips often are going against less experienced players. But the defensive line got the better of the offensive line.

The one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive lines didn’t feature the game-line contact that happens on the line of scrimmage. Nevertheless, Phillips showed his quickness in beating Ford. Dion Dawkins handled Epenesa twice. Mitch Morse held his own twice. Doyle and David Quessenberry held off Lawson and Greg Rousseau, respectively.

2. Matt vs. Matt report.

Veteran Matt Haack and rookie Matt Araiza went head to head for a second time. Haack once again had the slight edge, from this perspective. However, Araiza did all the holding on place kicks for Tyler Bass and appeared to be flawless. Bass made 7 of 7 attempts, including a final kick from 52 yards.

Haack had better hang times on full-field kicks than Araiza. Both did well overall on Aussie kicks, shorter-field puts trying to pin the opponent inside the 20. Marquez Stevenson had a muff of one return. Tavon Austin dropped a superb hang-time punt but quickly recovered before the coverage arrived.

3. No joint practices.

The Bills are one of only eight NFL teams that are not conducting a joint practice with another club. The Bills did it in 2019, traveling to South Carolina for three days of work before a preseason game against the Panthers. General manager Brandon Beane said this week that the team would have to go on the road to do a joint practice. There aren’t enough grass fields at St. John Fisher University.

“You can request who you play to do it,” Beane said. “Part of it is just getting on the same page of how you want to do practice the dates, where you would do it. We don't have a lot of space to do it here necessarily. So it probably would work better (away), because we like to stay on grass as much as we can. We probably would have to use the (artificial turf) field as well. Never say never.

“That was a great set up for us in '19 when we went down to Carolina. They had those three fields. That's part of it.”

Sean McDermott has a close relationship with Washington coach Ron Rivera, who was in Carolina in 2019. That was a factor in that trip, as well.

“We're open to it,” Beane said. “It's got to also be with a group of people that we know we're going to run practices. We've all seen where melees happen or cheap shots, things like that. And that takes away from what we're there for. And so we would have to know that their organization's going to run things in a tight fashion so that it doesn't turn into melees out there. ... We did discuss it with a couple of teams. But ultimately, we just decided, `Hey, this is the first time we're going back away (to Rochester). Let's just let's just do this. See how it goes and then we'll look at it next year.'”

AFC East rivals New England, Miami and the New York Jets each are doing joint practices twice, before two exhibition games. The other teams not doing joint practices are: Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, Washington, Chicago and Seattle.

4. Other highlights

Allen got it going in his fifth series. He hit Singletary and James Cook in stride for two big run-after-the-catch plays. He hit Diggs on a couple sharp rhythm throws. He had a 20-yard sideline pass to Gabe Davis. Another downfield throw for O.J. Howard was on target, but the tight end could not haul it in. ... Rookie Khalil Shakir had another couple good-hands grabs on short throws from Keenum. Cook juked linebacker Joe Giles-Harris for extra yards after a short catch and drew whoops from the offensive teammates on the sidelines.

5. Injury report

Jamison Crowder and Jake Kumerow sat out with soreness, according to McDermott.

6. Next

The Bills practice at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday and Friday and are off Thursday.

“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”


Twitter: @HKTheResistance


HipKat, on *** other h***, is genuine, unapoli***tically nasty, and w**** his hea** on his ******. jc856

I’ll just forward them to Bridgett. comssvet11

Seek help. soflabillsfan

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