Orchard Park, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde said on Monday that this year’s training camp has been the most competitive between the offense and defense since he arrived in Buffalo in 2017.
That was the perfect preview for a day where the offense shined behind the playmaking of new star wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
The defense was visibly frustrated with the amount of catches Diggs was able to make through practice. In an early 11-on-11 session, Diggs caught passes on three straight plays. Then later on quarterback Josh Allen went to Diggs on four straight plays, all ending in completions for the offense.
Buffalo’s offense consistently moved the ball on the defense throughout practice and Diggs was beating whoever lined up across from him. Tre’Davious White got a few chances, Levi Wallace and Taron Johnson, too. But Diggs just kept making plays.
Allen prophetically said on Monday that the timing is getting there with Diggs just a few weeks removed from the start of camp.
“He’s a guy that can adjust and do some freakish things on the football field,” Allen said. “I think what a key part of having a good quarterback-receiver relationship is the communication between the two.”
Allen said last year what really helped build the on-field rapport between himself and receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley was countless hours of film study together. That hasn’t been able to happen quite yet with Diggs, but Allen said that’s coming.
“We’ll start sitting down and kind of going over things that we see, that I see,” Allen said. “He’s gonna be able to relay that back to me and try to get on the same page that way. But I think right now the things that he’s able to do – I mean, I’m reading him extremely well. He’s made some crazy plays already and I can’t wait to be on the field with him.”
Here are more observations from Tuesday’s practice.
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1. Diggs best play of the day
Most of Diggs work cam in the short part of the field and Allen was consistently getting him the ball where he can make a play with it. In the final 11-on-11 drill, Allen dropped to pass and had time to let Diggs get to the second level, and he ripped one in there in the intermediate range at about 20 yards, on a perfect connection. The ball landed right in the soft part of the zone and it was one of the those throws where Allen excelled last season. The offensive line played maybe its best football of camp on Tuesday. Protection was generally good and all four quarterbacks usually had a relatively clean pocket to work with. Linebacker Matt Milano and cornerback Levi Wallace recorded sacks on blitzes throughout the practice.
2. Viktor Salako with the best individual reps in OL/DL 1-on-1s
The battles on the offensive and defensive lines intensified in Tuesday’s practice and Bryan Cox Jr., who has been having a great camp to this point, was absolutely dominated in his reps vs. Victor Salako. On two separate occasions Salako was able to best Cox Jr. On the first rep he simply stood him up and didn’t allow him around the corner. The second rep was similar and that’s when tempers started to flare.
3. Fight breaks out
Cox Jr. was not happy about losing those reps and a skirmish ensued as several players started to wrestle in a pile that quickly included all members of both lines. Ty Nsekhe was one of the aggressors and had to be pulled out of the pile. Quinton Jefferson seemed to be trying to either keep the peace or get into the action as he entered the middle of the pile. Tempers eventually calmed down and the coaching staff got the players right back to practice.
4. Devin Singletary has his best day of camp
Singletary made big plays in both the passing game and the running game. On the first drive for the offense he was heavily featured, getting a couple carries and making a nice gain on a short pass from Allen. He scored on a 20-yard touchdown on a run to the right as Cody Ford and Ty Nsekhe helped clear a lane for him to find some open space on his way to the end zone. Linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips looked to maybe have a shot at a tackle in a live environment, but it was quite a nice run.
5. Tyler Bass perfect, bounces back in kick competition
After Stephen Hauschka was perfect yesterday, rookie kicker Tyler Bass needed to bounce back in a big way. He did just that by hitting a 33-, 41-, 44-, 47- and 50-yard field goals in a row during team work. He later came on to hit another kick to finish the day 6/6. This sets the stage for quite a showdown on Thursday when the team holds another scrimmage.
6. Cam Lewis making some noise
With Josh Norman out of the mix and the Bills general manager Brandon Beane revealing recently that the team isn’t in any rush to sign another cornerback, second-year UDFA corner Cam Lewis has a chance to make an impact. He was a pest all afternoon on Tuesday and his comfort in coverage is noticeable. His best play of the day came when he punched out a ball from Isaiah McKenzie after a nice catch and run but the slit receiver.
7. Jake Fromm inconsistent
Fromm led a decent drive during 11-on-11 but not all of his throws were very good. I counted three that either set the receiver up poorly to either get hit or struggle to gain yards after the catch. He seemed to be a bit late on his reads, which is to be expected for a rookie. He did hit three short passes and the drive ultimately ended with a Bass field goal.
8. Brian Winters shined in individual reps
Brian Winters has been quiet so far since being signed following his release from the New York Jets. He was excellent against Vincent Taylor in 1-on-1s, landing a pancake block on one rep and a powerful block on the other. The battle on the offensive line has been competitive throughout camp.
9. Ed Oliver is back at practice but quiet so far
Oliver’s been pretty quiet throughout camp and hasn’t really made any eye-popping plays since returning from a hip injury. He had a decent rep in 1-on-1s but hasn’t been very noticeable otherwise. Taylor recorded a sack during 11-on-11 rushing next to Oliver on Tuesday.
10. Jason Croom quietly having a nice camp
Croom has had a couple nice grabs throughout camp and is making a nice case for himself as second-year tight end Tommy Sweeney continues to rehab a foot injury. Matt Barkley was the quarterback on the play and he found Croom, who was streaking across the middle on a nice catch and run. Dean Marlowe was in coverage and couldn’t keep up with him to make the play.
Linebacker Corey Thompson missed practice with knee soreness. Everything else was the same as yesterday:
Jon Feliciano (chest)
Taiwan Jones (knee)
Tommy Sweeney (foot)
Josh Norman (hamstring)
Christian Wade (quad)
Patrick DiMarco (neck)
John Brown (veteran’s rest day)