PITSFORD, NY – The Buffalo Bills have been in the pads for two days, and rookie quarterback Kaiir Elam has had his fair share of mistakes.
Since starting camp, Elam has had a match against All Pro Stephen Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and Isaiah McKenzie. Elam said there is no margin for error when you play against Josh Allen. Every rep he lost went to the memory bank and said he was getting better every day.
“(Josh) makes me so much better because I can’t stand a wrong move, bad eyes or bad impact because he’s going to benefit from it,” Elam said Monday after training. “Timing and getting in and out of the break is like a ball in there. … There’s no time for mistakes and lags and misses. So I think that’s the really big difference from college, he’s the best quarterback I’ve ever seen. So, like I said, God no Mistakes and I’m supposed to be here.”
Bill rehearsed Monday for the seventh day of bootcamp at Saint John Fisher University. Elam’s big play was one of the highlights of the day for Bills’ defense who continued to get excellent pressure off the defensive front.
Late in practice, Allen and the Bills worked in the red against the defense. Last week the crime was unstoppable in this part of the field. Allen saw one of his favorite goals above the middle and fired a dime for Dawson Knox for what looked like a touchdown. But in a jiffy, Elam met Knox at the pickup point and simply took the ball out of his hands to force him not to complete.
Elam did some body plays around the camp, and things got a little messier with the Diggs on several occasions. But the rookie is focusing on another part of his game.
“I’m just trying to be tougher mentally now than physically strong because, you know, I have to take care of my teammates,” he said. “I don’t like being a newbie. I just love being called anyway. I mean, I’m a newbie, technically, but my mindset is I’ll be ready with my number. That’s my mentality.”
Here are my other notes from Monday’s practice.
Tremaine Edmunds does a great job
There was not a single note on Edmunds early in camp. Without pads, it’s hard for midfielders to make plays other than being in the right place before playing a dead blow. Once the pads come out and things get more physical, you can see the linebackers start flying in a little more. It seems like they are more involved. Fans have been clamoring for Edmunds to start performing big plays at the big centers, and he delivered on Monday. The Bills offense finally got things going towards the middle of practice. Allen completed a short pass to Zack Moss to start things off a journey in the field. In the next play, he saw Allen Diggs in his right court and tried to put a ball in. Edmunds jumped high in the air, snatched the ball because Diggs couldn’t play on it, and went down with it.
Dion Dawkins returns to training and takes TD home
Dawkins missed the last two practices after being excused for personal reasons and returned on Monday. Bills Center’s Mitch Morse said Saturday that the team was praying for Dawkins even though the players weren’t privy to why he wasn’t with the team. Near the end of the practice, Dawkins was able to bring smiles to the faces of the fans, teammates and coaches when he was in the right place at the right time. Allen was nearly intercepted by rising linebacker Christian Benford, but the ball flew out of his towel. Dawkins grabbed the ball before it hit the ground and proceeded to run it all the way back to land. The crowd in the stands gave the loudest cheers of the day, and Sean McDermott made sure to walk to his left hand to show some love.
Bouji Basham in the midst of a fight
After fighting Josh Allen practically took place over the weekend, the intensity created some emotional moments on Monday. Basham and rookie Luke Tenuta got together after a play that saw quarterback Tyrel Dodson’s helmet taken off. Basham threw some punches, which is always scary when the other player is wearing a helmet. There was another push contest later in practice but the bills came out of both cases without too many problems. Basham was flying off the edge and still had a strong camp. Scored one sack of Matt Barkley that day.
Exhausted offensive line struggling to hold off Ed Oliver
Rodger Savold and Ryan Bates are still out of the team and Spencer Brown is still out of group training. Tommy Doyle, who was used in interference and from the inside in both guard positions, fell during training with an unknown injury. No longer. The bills were so shattered that Bobby Hart settled with the first team inside on Monday. Whoever was trying to block the Bills’ defensive line, it wasn’t good for them. Ed Oliver has always been down and delivered another bag today. He beat Hart badly in a straight bull rush that landed on Allen.
Oliver said he’s having the most fun he’s ever had at a boot camp.
“Just doing plays, hovering, hanging out with guys, everybody playing plays, not just partying with a guy,” Oliver said. “Von (Miller) rushes in really well, like, ‘Yeah I know. You’re the guy. I’m rushing pretty well, ‘Yeah, I got it there.'” (Jordan Phillips) rushes in, “Yeah, I’ve got it now.” Just knowing and understanding that Not just good Von or Ed’s good or Jordan’s good or DaQuan (Jones) good or Greg’s (Rousseau’s) good or Boogie’s good. Everyone is good.”
Greg Russo looks sharp and scores a sack
Everyone who lined up before Rousseau on Monday had their hands full. Rousseau’s combination of power and speed has been evident since the pads lasted. He scored a sack on Monday as he beat Dawkins after a good early rep push before kicking it off the outside and running next to the block. Miller and Oliver have grabbed the most headlines, but the offensive coordinators could be having some headaches trying to figure out how to get help from Russo if he’s able to repeat what he’s been doing the past few days.
Jaquan Johnson seizes the opportunity
Micah Hyde is back in training today but has been out of practice on the team. Hamlin’s devastation moved into place with Johnson, who made the safest match of the day. After Russo scored his sack, the next play Allen returned to the pass and tried to force Diggs into action. The All Pro receiver was in the area but Johnson quickly played the ball and was able to intercept it. Johnson’s understanding of defense has received acclaim from Hyde already in this camp and is in line to be the team’s first choice off the bench if he misses Hyde or Jordan Boyer at any point this year.
Nobody can cover Isaiah Mackenzie
McKenzie continues to dominate in 1-on-1 and seems to be doing at least two or three amazing teamwork games every day in training. His best of the day came as Bales was in offensive practice for two minutes. Allen was trying to move the ball down the court and quickly made contact with Dawson Knox for a short gain. The next play, Allen waited for Mackenzie to open and fired a nice ball at Dirty Lil, who broke a nice run down the left sideline. Mackenzie simply ran away from the corner hole, Taron Johnson. In the next play, he hit Allen Knox again with his best throw of the day on a midfield rocket. Allen finished the lead with a touchdown pass to Diggs. Jamison Crowder is back in training after missing the past five days, but he has not taken part in team practice. Jake Comero is still out.
OJ Howard turns on his best camp practice
Howard made many balls a day and never had a single drop, showing off his ability to use his size to keep defenders out of position to make any plays. Howard seems to be getting more comfortable and has appeared in his best plays of the day working on the sidelines. He cornered Cam Lewis, befriended, and kept his feet in bounds. Tommy Sweeney also had a bit of a catch on things that day.
Terrible Matt Barkley Sequence
Near the end of training, Barkley got a chance to make a few things happen in one of the team’s final training sessions. But as soon as he got the ball, it went like this: Basham’s sack, throwing his body to the left side and being intercepted by the rookie Ja’Marcus Ingram, passed by Daniel Joseph, and passed by Prince Emily. Not great.
Matt Ariza – Hold on to God?
Another exercise with Araiza in which he got all the attempts to catch the Bills and Tyler Bass and he kicked the field goals perfectly. The special teams coordinator, Matthew Smiley, said last week that doing the assessment would only be a small part of the assessment, but Ariza is now perfect the two times he has done it in front of the media.
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