With the 2022 NFL season just around the corner and Buffalo Bills training camp in full swing, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the first week of camp.
The first week of Buffalo Bills’ training camp at St John Fisher is behind us and we’re one week closer to opening night in Los Angeles. A lot happened at camp this week, some bad but most of it good. Player emotions are about as high as the season’s expectation on this team, and it shows. Whether it’s Diggs and Elam jawing at each other or Josh Allen and Jordan Phillips getting scrappy, it’s clear these guys are hyped up. While you don’t like to see teammates fight, it’s important to note that these things happen in training camp as everyone gets back into the groove of training and competing.
Not everything that happened this week was negative though, there were a lot of good plays and good news from camp that should get everyone excited as well. The press will always focus on the drama between the players and rarely show the mundane interactions and expected performances. That said, let’s recap some of the events of the week before we get underway with week two of the Bills’ training camp.
Buffalo Bills – The Good
The Bills’ rookies appear to be getting off to a good start. James Cook has been showing signs of the athleticism and quickness that got him drafted. It’s not just Cook either, with Jamison Crowder currently resting Khalil Shakir has been getting second-team reps and by all accounts has been looking great. He stunned the coaches and the fans in the stands with some great catches, a few of which required some skill to haul in. It’s also worth mentioning that on day six, third-round pick Terrell Bernard was getting accolades from the coaching staff for his playing ability (while in full pads).
Kaiir Elam has been a standout at the corner. He’s been matched up with Stefon Diggs all week and has been causing some frustration for the number one wideout. Earlier in the week, the two went at it briefly as Elam has been covering Diggs closely, perhaps too close for Diggs’ comfort. Both players are very competitive, so it’s expected to see them stand up for themselves in practice. I can say from my personal observation at camp on day five though, that even after Elam made a great play blocking the ball from getting to Diggs’ hands, they were helping each other up and having fun.
After some struggles early in camp, the offense looks like it’s starting to gel and getting back to form. While still getting back into the swing of things, Josh Allen threw a handful of interceptions this week. Both Tim Settle and Jordan Poyer had some amazing interceptions, and while it’s not what you want to see coming from Allen, it does brew excitement for the defense this year.
Those bad passes were few and far between; however, Josh was able to make some stellar throws to just about everyone that can catch a ball. Diggs, Knox, Davis, and veteran head turner Isaiah McKenzie all hauled in touchdown passes from Josh this week. The injury to Jamison Crowder has allowed McKenzie to step up and be one of the top performers in camp this week. Bills fans are already aware of McKenzie’s talent and versatility as a wide receiver and return man, but it’s good to see him get some attention. Looks like the years of sitting behind Brown, Beasley, and Sanders have been paying off.
Buffalo Bills – The Bad
The injuries have built up this off-season. As of this moment, Jamison Crowder (soreness), Rodger Saffold (ribs), Ike Boettger (knee), Eli Ankou (calf), Spencer Brown (limited), and Micah Hyde (Hip), are all currently injured or recovering from injuries. I was at camp the day Hyde got his hip injury and it didn’t look to be too serious. While he was down for a couple of minutes, he got up and walked under his own strength, sat in the passenger seat on the cart, and didn’t look to be too distressed. Injuries at camp are pretty typical and none seem to be serious, better if they happen now than during the season.
Due to injuries with Saffold and Brown and with Dawkins having to leave camp due to personal reasons, the offensive line was understandably falling behind in practice. Recent signee David Quessenberry has stepped up and taken first-team reps and has been a coach favorite. As we already predicted, Cody Ford has been benched in practice in favor of Quessenberry and second-year veteran Tommy Doyle. Hopefully, the offensive line can get it together and step it up this year as they have been the biggest weak spot in the Bills’ offense the past few seasons.
Headlines were made in the NFL this week as Josh Allen and Jordan Phillips got into a kerfuffle at practice last Saturday. The fight started when Phillips bumped Josh on a bit of a late hit. Reports are conflicted about who came at who but regardless there are only two things to note about it. One is that these guys are naturally competitive, aggressive athletes who want to win, and they understand the pressure is on the Bills this year to succeed.
Fights happen, especially between defensive and offensive players as they test each other’s limits. The other thing to note is how Gabe Davis and Stefon Diggs launched themselves into the fray to back up their quarterback. Love the sentiment guys but save the leaps for touchdowns!
On another Allen-related note, Josh had some fun with the fans on Friday as he scrambled into the endzone for the only score of practice. Likely forgetting there were fans in the stands, Josh let himself flip over into the endzone and planked for a few seconds before jumping up and having a laugh with teammates. It was all fun and games for the Bills players but we fans in the stands collectively all gasped at the thought of Josh being injured.
It was an exciting week and everyone, fans, and players included is getting hyped up for the upcoming season. The Bills are looking good but most importantly they’re looking hungry. Hungry for wins, for the Super Bowl, and respect as the top team in football. If they keep this up, this attitude, stay healthy and humble, there’s no reason to think they won’t go all the way this year.
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