Allen gets more second-team reps; Jones and Croom continue to impress

Zay Jones is no longer wearing a red non-contact jersey

Sal Capaccio
August 13, 2018 - 4:08 pm

Photo: Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports

For the second day in a row, Buffalo Bills’ rookie quarterback Josh Allen was primarily with the second-team offense throughout the entire day of practice. Whether or not that’s an indication Allen will be seeing extended playing time with anything other than the third stringers in Friday night’s preseason game remains to be seen. But with just two practices remaining before the team heads off to Cleveland to face the Browns, it’s beginning to look like the first rounder may get an earlier look than the second half, which is when he came into the game last Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers.

Nathan Peterman, who fell on his right shoulder on the very last play of Sunday afternoon‘s practice, worked with the third-team offense Monday, while A.J. McCarron, who appeared to injure his lower right leg about midway through that same session, got the first-team reps.

While there’s still a lot of movement amongst the quarterbacks, there’s starting to be some separation at the wide receiver spot. It’s becoming more and more consistent seeing Kelvin Benjamin, Jeremy Kerley, Andre Holmes, Rod Streater, and even Zay Jones with the first unit. Then the rest of the group starts filling in after that.

For the first time this training camp, Jones wore a blue jersey like the rest of his offensive teammates. He had been wearing a red non-contact jersey for the past week since returning from his offseason surgery that caused him to miss all of OTAs and minicamp. Jones isn’t just working in, either. He’s looked very sharp since returning to the field, including Monday. He appears confident and focused and has caught every catchable ball thrown his way.

Monday, the second-year wide receiver even got into a fairly intense scuffle with safety Micah Hyde. Jones was running a route deep down the middle of the field and Hyde was covering him. The ball was never thrown their way, but the two started exchanging words after the play. They came together and butted helmets, then started grabbing each other by the facemask. Fellow safety Jordan Poyer got into the fray and tackled Jones to the ground. Several members of the offense and defense converged, but all three players got up without further incident and continued back to their huddles.

After the five aforementioned receivers, here was the order the other wideouts worked in Monday: Corey Coleman and Kaelin Clay together, then Cam Phillips. Malachi Dupre and Robert Foster after that, then Austin Proehl. Ray-Ray McCloud didn’t take a rep in the segment of practice I was charting the rotation. Foster, who struggled last week and didn’t have a particularly good showing Thursday night, has had a nice couple of bounce-back practices the last two days. 

Tight end Jason Croom, who I’ve noted almost daily as having a strong camp, continued to impress Monday, and it looks like the coaches are rewarding him with his play. Croom, who played wide receiver his first two years in college, saw a lot of time with the first-team offense as both as an in-line tight end and split out wide. There’s an interesting battle going on behind Charles Clay at that position involving several players, including Croom, Logan Thomas, Nick O’Leary, and Khari Lee.  

Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei returned to the field Monday, but wide receiver Brandon Reilly (ribs) and defensive tackle Marquavius Lewis (ankle) both sat out. Defensive end Trent Murphy returned back on Friday, but took 11-on-11 reps Monday for the first time since injuring his groin over a week ago.

The team will be back on the field Tuesday morning at 11:15 a.m. This practice is closed to the public due to the forecasted inclement weather.
 

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