Bills practice went as expected

Here's what Howard saw at training camp on Wednesday

Howard Simon
August 01, 2018 - 8:21 pm

Photo: Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports

For those Buffalo Bills fans who are thinking the defense will be good this season but the offense could be a big problem, Wednesday’s practice won’t make you feel any better about the offense. More specifically the passing game.

It didn’t matter which quarterback, which group of offensive linemen and which group of receivers and tight ends were out on the field at St John Fisher. It didn’t matter if it was against ones, twos or threes on defense. It was not a good day for the aerial attack.  

Needless to say, I spent more time watching Josh Allen than A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman and perhaps many fans in the packed house at Fisher were doing the same thing. Allen had an up and down day, which you might expect from a rookie in his first week at an NFL training camp. You can definitely see his arm talent on display. The ball seems to come out of his hand with more zip than it does from McCarron and Peterman. Allen looks to throw downfield more than the other two as well.

He had two of the prettier passes of the session. One was on an incut by Robert Foster, as Allen threw a laser perfectly into the target for a completion. During the two-minute drill at the end of practice, Allen lofted a perfectly thrown pass over one defender and in front of another, into the hands of Cam Phillips. Allen showed off his arm on a flea flicker going deep middle, but he over-threw Quan Bray slightly and Bray's diving attempt at the catch fell short.  

As I said, it was up and down for the Wyoming product. He had a swing pass for LeSean McCoy broken up by Shaq Lawson. He threw a little low to an open Charles Clay, which caused an incomplete pass. He missed an open Foster over the middle and threw too low for Foster on the sideline on another play.  

One of Allen’s more effective throws seems to be the back shoulder pass. He completed a handful of those over the course of the morning.

As I mentioned, the overall performance of the passing game left a lot to be desired. At times, the quarterbacks were holding on to the ball too long and the play was whistled dead since it would have been a sack. There were other times where the offensive line had breakdowns and left pass rushers coming free. During one of the 11-on-11 periods, Kyle Williams sacked McCarron on three straight plays.

Each of the three quarterbacks got a chance to run the two-minute drill, from their own 35 with 1:40 left. It was ugly.

McCarron went first and his series ended on a really nice interception by rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. He dropped into coverage on fourth and long, closed on the pass and cut in front of Jeremy Kerley for the pick. Peterman went four-and-out with the one completion being a dump off to a back. Allen managed to move his group into range for a field goal with the best play being that 26-yard completion to Phillips, who had a couple of nice catches on the day.

By the way, Kelvin Benjamin is one big dude. Since he wasn’t with the Bills at last year’s training camp, this was my first chance to see him in person. He spent quite a bit of time in the slot and he looks gigantic in there. He towers over defensive backs.

Speaking of looking big, so does Edmunds. The other linebackers seem so small when lining up next to him.

During a media session before practice began, Sean McDermott said he thought it would be a challenging day for the offense. The head coach was right.

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