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Bills observations: Tre’Davious White takes step forward, Micah Hyde goes down


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Training camp can be a truly treacherous activity if teams aren’t careful. With players giving it their all and trying to prove themselves to the coaching staff, day in and day out, sometimes there are accidents and near accidents that lead to injury.

The NFL was dealt a cold reminder about what could happen at any moment when Tampa Bay lost starting center Ryan Jensen on Thursday to what could be a serious injury. One day later, the Bills had a pair of run-ins with potential injuries. One star player had to leave practice, and the other avoided a potential catastrophe for the franchise.

But making for an interesting juxtaposition at Friday’s practice, some potentially bad news came with an encouraging sign for star cornerback Tre’Davious White.

Here are seven observations from a newsworthy Day 5 at Bills training camp.

White goes through his most intense workout during practice yet

As training camp has been going along, we’ve seen White, Buffalo’s All-Pro corner, slowly ramp up as he continues rehabbing a torn ACL he injured in late November. One day he was riding the exercise bike. Another day he was doing strength exercises on his knee and sprints with a parachute. On a different day, White was working on cardio and upper-body strength. But after a rest day Thursday, White returned and showed as much progress as we’ve seen during a practice session.

Tucked away in the back corner of the side field with the rest of the defense during the playbook install period Friday, White went through his most intense workout yet with the strength and conditioning staff. The star cornerback did change-of-direction drills, including several reps of backpedaling, stopping on a dime and then exploding off his back foot either to his left or right side, depending on the rep. He also mixed in sprints across the length of the field, which he had also done in previous practices. But the significant development, especially given the nature of a torn ACL, is that he began doing those change-of-direction drills and exploding off the back leg following a backpedal. While they don’t make his return imminent, these drills were a definite step forward from what we’ve seen.

The Bills have held firm that White is right on schedule but have not given any indication of their internal timetable for the cornerback. They’ve said they won’t rush him back prematurely. The fact they were comfortable enough with him advancing to those kinds of drills is an encouraging development early on in camp.

Still with over a month to go before the season, we’ll see how much they put on White’s plate moving forward. For now, he remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Micah Hyde goes down with a thud

White finished his workout right as the Bills had one of their two scariest moments of the practice. All-Pro safety Micah Hyde, one of the best players on the roster, jumped straight in the air for an overthrown pass in the middle of some traffic. As Hyde came down, he got his body turned and he came down on his right side with a thud. Bills safety Jordan Poyer immediately called for an athletic trainer to come look at him, multiple teammates dropped down to a knee around him and coach Sean McDermott sprinted toward Hyde a few seconds after he had dropped to the ground. The Bills cut the music playing during the practice, and Hyde stayed on the ground for a minute or two before getting up under his own power and hobbling to the sideline.

He remained on the sideline until one of the carts around practice came over and picked him up, taking him away to the exit at the far end of the field. He did not seem to be in bad spirits while being driven. Just before the cart turned off the track onto the pavement, Hyde lifted his right leg onto the hood and extended it fully outward. The locker rooms require a bit of a walk from where the team practices, so it’s not uncommon for the team to use the cart to bring the injured players back to the evaluation area.

The Bills later said it’s a hip/glute injury and that Hyde is still in the evaluation process. McDermott will address reporters Saturday morning, which could be the next update the team provides on its star safety. Backup safeties Jaquan Johnson and Damar Hamlin each got reps in place of Hyde on Friday.

Disaster avoided after Ed Oliver collides with Josh Allen

Hyde wasn’t the only star player who went to the ground on an awkward play. The other could have been far worse for the season if it had gone differently. It ended with quarterback Josh Allen on the ground after a lower-leg collision. McDermott sprinted over to the pile, said a few words and sent the entire defensive line off the field. Allen got back up right after the play and didn’t miss a rep in the practice, but it was a dangerous play.

Defensive tackle Ed Oliver was lined up over left guard Greg Mancz, who was blocking for Allen on Friday in place of the injured Rodger Saffold. Allen called for the snap, and Mancz was slow to react and immediately on the back foot. Oliver spotted the slow start and raced past Mancz to the guard’s left side. Mancz was in catch-up mode as Oliver barrelled toward Allen. From that point, it’s unclear what happened for the incredibly well-balanced Oliver to begin to stumble. Perhaps he got a foot tangled up, or maybe Mancz tried to get back in the rep and laid a hand on Oliver — or maybe some combination of the two. However it happened, Oliver was heading toward the ground and straight for Allen’s legs. The two collided, and Allen went down to the grass.

It was not a malicious play and seemed like a complete accident with a compilation of things happening simultaneously. Either way, especially with the first padded practice on the horizon Saturday morning, I expect McDermott and his staff to emphasize staying way out of the way of Allen and the rest of the quarterbacks. For obvious reasons, Allen is the player the Bills can least afford to lose.

Dion Dawkins joins long list of starting OL missing time

The Bills have had to test their offensive line depth early on in training camp, but Friday brought on the most depth-heavy day working in front of Allen. During team drills, the team was without almost all of its projected starting offensive line. Saffold, left tackle Dion Dawkins, right guard Ryan Bates and right tackle Spencer Brown all sat out of the 11-on-11 period, leaving center Mitch Morse as the last man standing. The Bills excused Dawkins from practice for personal reasons, but it was his first missed summer session. Brown practiced with the offensive line for the fifth straight day, but his camp-long streak of practices without an 11-on-11 rep continued Friday.

The Bills got to see a little bit of everything in place of 80 percent of their line, with second-year player Tommy Doyle at left tackle, David Quessenberry at right tackle, Cody Ford at right guard and the aforementioned Mancz at left guard. As a result, there was plenty of pressure on Allen during the practice.

Offensive line depth is one of the biggest questions facing the Bills, so this setup early in camp has given the team a great chance to see if it needs to be proactive in adding another piece, either through free agency or trade. So far, there have been some good moments, but it’s been a bit of a struggle past the projected starters.

A tough day for Tommy Doyle

The Bills have been bullish on how Doyle, a 2021 fifth-round pick, has developed as a potential trustworthy reserve, but he had the toughest test of his practice career. Stepping in for Dawkins, Doyle had to go one-on-one with edge rusher Von Miller quite a bit. Miller’s explosiveness and technically sound moves dominated Doyle, who lacks much experience blocking for Allen at left tackle and has never before had to block anyone quite like Miller.

Miller was constantly in the backfield, helping set up several negative plays for the offense. On one snap, Miller got Doyle so off balance the young tackle nearly went to the ground in a split. Even on run plays, Miller’s win at the line of scrimmage set the table for his teammates to get in the lane and thwart the play before it began. Later in the session, Doyle was slightly slow to react to a snap, and A.J. Epenesa worked around him for an instant pressure and likely would-be sack. Luckily for Doyle, he was bailed out by Shaq Lawson jumping offsides on the play.

The practice will serve as a learning experience for the young offensive tackle. To his credit, he’s been mostly solid this summer. Doyle also will not have to go up against many players as talented as Miller throughout his career.

Tyrel Dodson putting up a fight for the third LB spot

As soon as the Bills drafted linebacker Terrel Bernard in the third round, the rookie became the favorite to be the primary backup at the position, a role that previously belonged to cap casualty A.J. Klein. Despite Bernard’s draft status, he’s getting a strong fight from Tyrel Dodson, who has been with the Bills since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2019.

Dodson worked in against the Allen-led offense throughout practice and put together several outstanding reads against the running game, positioning himself for potential tackles in the backfield and at the line of scrimmage. Of course, it was a non-padded practice, so getting to the spot and actually making the tackle are two different things. However, Dodson is playing fast and getting to the right areas quickly, which can only help him as the practices become more physical Saturday. Bernard is still the favorite for the role, but Dodson is putting his best foot forward.

A depth defensive end stands out

The Bills likely have their defensive end room set with the quintet of Miller, Greg Rousseau, Epenesa, Lawson and Boogie Basham, but one of their long-term practice squad projects flashed during Day 5. Mike Love, who has been with the Bills since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2018, broke through for a pair of would-be sacks during the session. Both of his positive reps resulted in him getting to quarterback Matt Barkley before Barkley could get the ball out. Love beat rookie offensive tackle Luke Tenuta for at least one of the sacks.

Love will likely have to do a lot more as practice goes on to steal a 53-man roster spot, but these practices will go a long way in extending his time on the Bills’ roster and practice squad to a fifth straight season.

Players not practicing on Day 5: WR Jamison Crowder, WR Jake Kumerow, LT Dion Dawkins, RG Ryan Bates, LG Rodger Saffold (NFI), G Ike Boettger (PUP), DT DaQuan Jones, DT Eli Ankou (PUP), CB Tre’Davious White (PUP) and CB Travon Fuller.

Up Next: The Bills return to practice at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. It will be their first fully padded practice of training camp.

“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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