CAPACCIO: What I'll be watching for at Thursday's OTA session

The quarterback and wide receiver reps are just two areas to watch

Sal Capaccio
May 30, 2018 - 10:39 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


For the second time this offseason, the media will get a chance to watch the Buffalo Bills during their OTA session on Thursday. After watching one session last week, here are five things I’ll be watching for this week:

1.) First-team quarterback reps

Last Thursday, head coach Sean McDermott told us before practice that A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman had been splitting first and second-team reps through the first two days and would continue to do so that day, with rookie Josh Allen working exclusively with the third team. And that’s exactly what we saw out on the field. Will the same be the case this week? Or will Allen start to see some time with the starting unit?

2.) Progress of Josh Allen

A lot was made in the predraft process of Allen’s completion percentage and accuracy. What I saw from him last Thursday and a little during rookie minicamp was that his touch passes were good between the hashes and/or going forward. He did well floating balls over linebackers to tight ends, for example. However, the touch passes that were short and to the outside, i.e., swing passes, etc., were where some issues arose. He seemed to have a tendency to rush those passes a little bit and didn’t put them in a perfect spot to allow for a smooth catch and run for the receiver (usually a running back). It looked to me like he used too much arm on those and not enough coordination with his feet and shoulders. The passes between the hashes and forward he stepped into well. As I said many times in draft process, Allen has good mechanics (so I’m not sure where the narrative came from that he doesn't) and he uses them well on those throws. But he needs to not be so much of an "arm thrower" on the shorter outside stuff. I’m interested to see if he’s made progress in that regard.

3.) Offensive Line shuffle

Last week’s first unit looked like this:

LT - Dion Dawkins; LG - Vlad Ducasse; C - Russell Bodine; RG - John Miller; RT - Jordan Mills

Ryan Groy worked in with the second group at center. The same was true for Marshall Newhouse at right tackle and rookie Wyatt Teller at right guard. It will be interesting to see if any of that has changed in the third practice since then.

4.) Wide Receiver rotation

With Zay Jones out all of this spring after having knee surgery, and 12 other wideouts suiting up, there are plenty of receivers vying for reps. Last week, Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes started on the outside with Jeremy Kerley in the slot. From there, plenty of guys got a shot. Will any one else start to get more reps and stand out?

5.) Defensive Line look

Star Lotulelei was absent last Thursday, so rookie Harrison Phillips started in his place. If Lotulelei is back, does Phillips still see some time with the first unit? Does any other defensive tackle? On the end opposite Jerry Hughes, even though many have questioned his status on the roster for 2018, Shaq Lawson was still holding down the starting spot. But behind him there are plenty of players vying for time, or even just a roster spot. Let’s see who seems to be getting the most looks.


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