AUGUST 19

Quarterback

Bills head coach Sean McDermott says that AJ McCarron is getting a second opinion on his injured right shoulder after initial results were inconclusive. McDermott says if McCarron is healthy, the quarterback competition picks up where it left off. Of course, that is a big "if" and seems unlikely we will see McCarron in a week for the third preseason game. That leaves Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen in the mix to start. Peterman, of course, got the nod in the first game. Allen, on the other hand, is trending in that direction, having played the first game with the third unit, second with the 2's and part of the 1's. McDermott said people need to "manage expectations" with the rookie despite a solid performance Friday night. Peterman was the one getting the first reps during individual work, which is all we get to see of practice now that things have shifted back to One Bills Drive.

Wide Receiver

I asked McDermott about Corey Coleman's debut Friday night and he said Coleman got "valuable reps." The Bills head coach continued, "I think it was an important game for him to work through because of, from a timing standpoint, how soon it was with the trade facing his old team. I think we’re past that now and [it’s] time to move forward and really look at growing, learning, and developing [him] as a football player." I take that as it is now time for Coleman to make plays without excuse of being the new guy. Brandon Reilly returned to practice, but was in the red, non-contact jersey. Kelvin Benjamin reiterated after practice that his knee feels fine, so no worry on him being sidelined and the opening of another wide out spot.

Center

McDermott said the rotation and competition between Ryan Groy and Russell Bodine continues on.

 

AUGUST 17

Quarterback

Someone finally stood out from the crowd in the competition. Josh Allen took advantage of his time with the first unit and led them to three-straight scoring drives. The first was long and methodical ending in a touchdown. The next was in the 2-minute drill. Showcasing the ability to execute and produce in multiple game situations is exactly what Sean McDermott wants to see out of the rookie. You add to that a right shoulder injury to AJ McCarron that appears to possibly take him out of the race, and things are lining up for Allen to continue his ascent and start in the third preseason game, which usually indicates who will start week one of the regular season.

Wide Receiver

You can lock in the top of the wide receiver group as Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Jeremy Kerley. Andre Holmes and Rod Streater are nearly as close to being a lock, especially after Streater showed up again with a touchdown catch from Josh Allen. I was disappointed to only see Corey Coleman get one target, a seven yard catch. While he is still learning the playbook, he needs to really standout the final two weeks to grab a spot on the final 53. Ray-Ray McCloud returned to the field after missing some time in practice this week and caught one ball for 12 yards. He continues to be a wild card, although there's other ahead of him in the return game, hurting his case.

Center

​The Bills first team offensive line was dreadful to start, and Russell Bodine was in the center of that. There is no way to pin it all on him, but blame does rest in part on his shoulders. As the quarterback competition may be sorting itself out, let's see how things proceed this week between Bodine and Groy, as I would imagine McDermott would like to have that decision sured up after the next game just like QB.

 

**EXTRA-POINTS: Marcus Murphy once again was great (4 carries for 39 yards and a 39 yard punt return). I not only think he is nearly a lock to make the team. but should be in serious consideration to be the back-up to LeSean McCoy over Chris Ivory. 

 

AUGUST 15

Quarterback

The mystery around who will start a preseason game continues for a second straight week, as Sean McDermott has told the quarterbacks the order of which they will play Friday night, but not revealing to the media. On the practice field, AJ McCarron was with the first team, Josh Allen the second, and Nathan Peterman the third, keeping with how things have gone all week. McDermott said before practice that he each QB has had their moments, good and bad, but no one has separated themselves in the competition. As for the reasoning behind Allen's time with the 2's this week, the Bills head coach saying it is as much about getting extra rep work as it is evaluating him with a different set of players.

Wide receiver

Corey Coleman seeing his first work with the first team Wednesday morning. Coleman getting run with all three units as he is expected to make his Bills debut Friday night. With Kelvin Benjamin not practicing and Zay Jones not doing too much, there was a healthy rotation with the first team, but we continue to see Rod Streater as a mainstay. Ray-Ray McCloud was back after a few days away, but wearing a red, non-contact jersey. He did tell me after practice he expects to play Friday. Brandon Reilly remains sidelined with a rib injury.

Center

It was Russell Bodine's day in the rotation at center. McDermott keeping who will start between he or Ryan Groy a secret just like quarterback.

**EXTRA-POINT: For a second-straight day I saw Keenan Robinson rotate in from time to time on the first team defense with Matt Milano, indicating maybe Milano's job isn't a lock like we had assumed heading into training camp.

 

 

 

AUGUST 14

Quarterback

The alternating continuing between Nathan Peterman and AJ McCarron, with Peterman back with the first team Tuesday evening. Josh Allen once again taking all the reps with the second team with McCarron working with the third. Like last week, both Peterman and McCarron are listed as the starters on the unofficial depth chart. This seems more about getting Allen time with the second team than anything else.

Wide receiver

Things remain the same at wide receiver, as it goes Kelvin Benjamin, Jeremy Kerley, Andre Holmes, Zay Jones, and Rod Streater most of the time. Corey Coleman has primarily been getting time with the second unit. Brandon Reilly and Ray-Ray McCloud both have missed practice the past few days, putting them really behind. 

Center

Ryan Groy in with the first team at center, although Russell Bodine did see a little time there during a walk-thru period of practice. Much like quarterback, Groy and Bodine both listed as the starters on the unofficial depth chart for a second-straight week.

**EXTRA-POINTS: Ramon Humber has been substituting in for Matt Milano at times with the first team defense. While Milano continues to get most of the reps with the 1's, it is something to note that the job may not be completely locked in as most expected. 

 

AUGUST 13

Quarterback

Things continuing to shake-up a bit with quarterback reps as we approach the second preseason game. AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman both back on the field after injury scares Sunday afternoon. It was McCarron's turn in the rotation with the first team, but he was followed by Josh Allen running the second team and Nathan Peterman the third. This is how things were divided the entire morning, the first time ever we've seen Allen go exclusively with the 2's. While noteworthy, I won't look too far into it until after I see how the rotation shakes out Tuesday morning.

Wide receiver

Zay Jones fully back in the mix now after practicing for the first time this training camp without the red, non-contact jersey. He has looked good to this point and continued that wearing the blue jersey. Jones right in there with the first team, joining Kelvin Benjamin, Jeremy Kerley, and Andre Holmes. Rod Streater also seeing time with the 1's as well as even a little Kaelin Clay. Brandon Reilly missed practice yet again with a rib injury. Corey Coleman keeps learning on the fly as most of his time today was with the second team.

Center

The center competition continues to alternate days between Ryan Groy and Russell Bodine.

AUGUST 12

Quarterback

The quarterback competition seeing some scares along with change Sunday afternoon. AJ McCarron had the back of his right leg stepped on during team work and missed some practice time. After limping around a bit, he finished out practice with the second team. He should be good to go tomorrow. Nathan Peterman back getting first team reps as the rotation continues. Josh Allen saw time with the 1's, 2's, and 3's, subbing in while McCarron was hurt. Sean McDermott says the reps will continue to be divided as they have been to this point in training camp.

​Wide Receiver

Wide receiver continues to get interesting because of the additions last week. Zay Jones getting a lot of time with the first team, including a big play downfield from Peterman. I would expect the red, non-contact jersey to come off soon. Corey Coleman also seeing time with the 1's and 2's as well as in the return game. You add that dimension to things and Coleman's value rises. Brandon Reilly missed practice again with a rib injury. It goes without saying that it is poor timing for Reilly as Jones and Coleman enter the mix. Cam Phillips returned to the field, but has an uphill climb to make up for time lost the past week.

Center

Ryan Groy rotating back in with the first team as Russell Bodine back with the second team. ​

 

AUGUST 9

Coach Sean McDermott said game action would be weighted more heavily than what players show in practice and there were some standouts in the Bills first preseason game.

Quarterback

The Bills quarterback competition taking a big step forward Thursday night while remaining the same. What I mean by that is both Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron had great performances in their quarter of work. Peterman got the start and completed his first nine passes, with the lone incompletion going off the hands of Chris Ivory for an interception. Peterman's chemistry with Kelvin Benjamin was on full display, with four of his completions on the opening drive going Benjamin's way, including the touchdown. Already being locked in with the team's best wide receiver can only favor Peterman. But in came McCarron in the second quarter and he had nearly as equal a performance, finishing 7/10 for 116 yards. I'd say those two remain neck-and-neck heading into next week's preseason game in Cleveland. As for Josh Allen, the big arm was on display both down the field and in tight windows, but it is clear that he is not on the same level, right now, as Peterman and McCarron.

​Wide Receiver

There wasn't much time for the guys who have been getting run with the first team to shine against Carolina. Rod Streater had a touchdown pass called back for offensive pass interference and finished with just one catch for 19 yards on one target. Brandon Reilly ripped off a 59 yard reception, mostly yards after the catch, as his lone impression. The one wide out who had a nice evening was rookie Ray-Ray McCloud. Playing the entire second half with the third team, McCloud had three catches for 50 yards and caught a Josh Allen rocket for a touchdown. McCloud's intriguing in this WR battle because of his return ability on special teams. Hard to believe the Bills would not keep a sixth round pick around out of camp, so if he continues to show some production on offense, that may be roster spot taken away from Streater or Reilly.​

Center

​Ryan Groy got the start with Nathan Peterman and played the first quarter before being replaced by Russell Bodine when A.J. McCarron came in. Didn't seem like anything went one way or the other to show Groy or Bodine gained an upper hand.

 

**Extra-Point: My attention my start to shift more towards the back-up running backs, as Marcus Murphy had a great game, both on the ground and in the passing game. While Travaris Cadet gets time with the first team and Taiwan Jones in the top return man, Murphy is making a push to push the limit as to how many backs the Bills may keep.

AUGUST 7

Quarterback

Sean McDermott keeping things a mystery as to who will start the Bills preseason opener Thursday night, listing BOTH A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman as QB1 on the unofficial depth chart released Monday evening and giving no clarity this morning. The rotation continues at practice, with McCarron running with the 1's. As for Josh Allen, he once again didn't see any time with the first team, which is, by my count, the fourth-straight practice that has happened. I asked McDermott about the pace at which the team's bringing Allen along and rather than use the word "slow," he chose "calculated," referencing his time in Philadelphia where Donovan McNabb sat for the first six games before being put on the field. That is a clear indication that this truly appears to be a two-man race between McCarron and Peterman to start the opener.

Wide receiver

Corey Coleman taking the field for the first time and seeing time with both the second and third team offense. He will need time to soak up the offense, but I'd imagine he will be more with the second team heading into a return to Cleveland for preseason game number two. The depth chart for Thursday night mirroring what I've been saying, with Rod Streater the next in line behind Kelvin Benjamin, Andre Holmes, and Jeremy Kerley. Brandon Reilly and Malachi Dupre are listed next. 

Center

The center position is even mirroring the QBs heading into the preseason opener, with both Russell Bodine and Ryan Groy listed as starters. 

As an overall note, McDermott noting evaluations take game action into a higher account than practice, so from Thursday night on is where I expect to start to see some of these things become more set.

AUGUST 6

Quarterback

The quarterback rotation continuing Monday morning with Nathan Peterman with the 1st team and A.J. McCarron the second. Josh Allen once again not seeing time with the 1’s, something that is beginning to become a pattern as we head into the first preseason game Thursday night.

Wide receiver

The wide receiver battle has added two elements the past 24 hours, with Zay Jones being activated and the Bills acquiring Corey Coleman. The trade sends a message that the Bills haven’t seen enough at camp from that group that has been filling out the first team. Now it appears Rod Streater and Brandon Reilly are the two who may be fighting for one spot. Malachi Dupre has fallen back a bit and Robert Foster has struggled the past few days.

Center

At center, Russell Bodine was back with the first team as the rotation remains with Ryan Groy.

AUGUST 5

Quarterback

The quarterback rotation back in full swing as the Bills returned to St. John Fisher College for practice Sunday afternoon. A.J. McCarron the first team QB and Nathan Peterman the 2nd. I did not see Josh Allen take any reps with the 1's.

Center

Ryan Groy flipping in at center as he and Russell Bodine continue to mirror the quarterback rotation.

Wide receiver

The wide receiver competition adding a big name with the return of Zay Jones. I did see him work briefly in with the 2nd team offense, but Jones wearing a non-contact jersey and only doing individual work with the wide outs against air. Andre Holmes back from injury and running with the 1's. Brandon Reilly got the most reps with the first team from that crowded group, with Rod Streater next in line. Robert Foster looked to only take part in third team reps, so he may be falling a bit.

AUGUST 3

Quarterback

Sean McDermott wants us to pump the breaks on our assumptions that A.J. McCarron has a leg up in the Bills quarterback competition. McDermott said before practice Friday night that McCarron had back-to-back days with the first team because of practice structure regarding red zone work, nothing more. Nathan Peterman flipped back in with the 1’s Friday night and McDermott said that the rotation will continue as it has into the first preseason game.

Center

Russell Bodine back in with the first team after Ryan Groy have back-to-back days with the 1’s. This too will follow the same pattern as the quarterback rotation.

Wide Receiver

Same old, same old at wide receiver Friday night. The only real notes coming with a few injuries of guys who have had flashes, with Kaelin Clay and Cam Phillips getting dinged up. Like the quarterbacks, I would say the rotation of things will remain the same heading into the Carolina game Thursday night.

AUGUST 2

Quarterback

On the seventh day of Bills training camp, the alternating of quarterbacks rested. A.J. McCarron running with the first team offense for the second-straight morning. This is the first time since OTAs began that the McCarron has not swapped with Nathan Peterman every other day. McCarron once again was the most consistent, but doing nothing real flashy. Josh Allen did once again get two periods of practice with the first team.

Center

The center rotation mirroring the quarterback, so Ryan Groy staying with McCarron and the first team, the first time there has not been a flip with Russell Bodine. I asked Groy after practice about the competition and he called it "neck and neck." Groy with a real interesting response to my question about his position flexibility and whether he feels it has held him back in the past, saying, "I'm not going to say exactly that it's hurt me, but I don't know that it's helped me at all. In your first couple years when you're younger you need to play both positions, but as you go on you need to be a starter. You need to be a guy.​" This is a battle I see really taking off once preseason games begin.

Wide Receiver

Andre Holmes left late in practice Wednesday with a quad injury and was held out of things Thursday morning. Rod Streater getting the most reps in his place, catching two touchdowns in one goal line period alone. He continues to have a strong first week of camp. The rest of the rotation filling in around Kelvin Benjamin and Jeremy Kelly remains Brandon Reilly, Malachi Dupre, and Robert Foster.

AUGUST 1

Quarterback

The quarterback rotation continuing as it has Wednesday morning, with A.J. McCarron back with the first team and Nathan Peterman the second. Josh Allen did see some first team action against air as well as two series in 11-on-11 work. Head coach Sean McDermott saying before practice that he has seen some separation at times from the quarterbacks, but more on a day-to-day basis rather than consistent. From my perspective, while no one has clearly jumped out, McCarron's been that consistent guy more so than the other two.

Wide receiver

At wide receiver, Rod Streater getting more work with the first team than the rest of the pack we have been talking about. Still, Malachi Dupre Brandon Reilly, and Robert Foster seeing time with the 1's as Kelvin Benjamin and Jeremy Kerley to appear to be 1-2.

Center

At center, Ryan Groy alternating back in with Russell Bodine. I asked McDermott about Groy's flexibility and how that could factor into the decision at center, and he said, "Position flexibility at any position, there’s value in that. Ryan certainly has done that over the course of his career; he did that for us last season a bit, he’s done it before, I believe the season that we came, he played quite extensively due to an injury there to a starter. I’ve got a lot of trust in Ryan and a lot of confidence in what he does and how he does it. [I] love his toughness. You don’t typically find that type of power from a center position. [I] just like everything that he stands for just in his approach to the game and how he plays the game."

Take from that what you would like, but I still think that Groy's versatility could actually hurt him down the line. Still plenty of camp ahead to see.

JULY 31 

Quarterback

 

A day off not changing things on the quarterback front, as the rep structure remains the same. Nathan Peterman back with the first team Tuesday morning and A.J. McCarron the second.

As Josh Allen works most of the time with the third team, head coach Sean McDermott explaining the plan for Allen's reps with the 1's, saying, "We’re just going to move him around and give him reps with the ones. Maybe it’s a walk-through session, maybe it’s seven on seven in that case, maybe it’s team, today, maybe it’s something else. [We’re just] exposing him to different parts of the game, situationally, with that first group."

Tuesday morning Allen back with one series with the first team in 11-on-11 work down at the goal line. Looking ahead, McDermott says the coaches have an idea of the gameplay for quarterback reps for the first preseason game a week from Thursday, but won't divulge that information until closer to the game.

Wide receiver

It is looking more like Andre Holmes and Jeremy Kerley are a little ahead of the pack at wide receiver. Those two join Kelvin Benjamin the most regularly. From there, the group rotating in with the first team growing a little, with Kaelin Clay seeing a few reps, joining the mix of Malachi Dupre, Brandon Reilly, Rod Streater, and Robert Foster.

Center

While the center competition keeps alternating daily between Russell Bodine and Ryan Groy, McDermott throwing something in the mix at his pre-practice press conference that stood out to me. The Bills head coaching making a point to add Adam Redmond to the conversation when asked about the battle in the middle, saying, "Adam Redmond is not taking a back seat, either. Right now, he’s working with the threes, but I’ve been impressed to this point in camp by him." This only catches my attention because of what it could possibly mean more so for Groy than Bodine.

We have seen how this team favors position flexibility, and maybe McDermott would feel comfortable with Bodine starting and Redmond as the back-up to allow Groy to be the swing, utility lineman he has been for years.

EXTRA POINTS:

Phillips Gaines getting most of the reps at nickel, but Taron Johnson once again sprinkling in with the first team, with McDermott saying Johnson's "upped his game" since the spring and is playing "fast and physical."

JULY 29

As the Bills head into their first off day of training camp, minor movement coming in a few position battles.

Quarterback

At quarterback, A.J. McCarron continuing to alternate days with Nathan Peterman as the first team quarterback, with McCarron the guy on Sunday. A day after Josh Allen had a strong performance, the rookie taking a step back with a shaky morning. It also was a morning that, for the first time since OTAs, we did not see Allen get first team reps in 11-on-11 work. His time with the 1's coming in one 7-on-7 period. 

Wide Receiver

The same names circulating with the first team at wide receiver. Andre Holmes, Malachi Dupre and Rod Streater joining Kelvin Benjamin and Jeremy Kerley with the 1's. While Streater seems to rotate in and out depending on the day, I'll reiterate how Dupre has remained a constant.

Center/Offensive Line

The alternating days still the course at center as well, with Ryan Groy back in there ahead of Russell Bodine.

EXTRA POINTS

The nickel cornerback battle getting a little more interesting with rookie Taron Johnson seeing time with the first team. He and Phillips Gaines split reps with the 1's, where as Gaines was taking all of them prior.

JULY 28

I asked Sean McDermott Saturday morning how having a 3-man quarterback competition and large wide receiver competition at the same time effects the passing game as a whole. He responded, "From a continuity standpoint, I’d like to name a starter yesterday at every position. That said, the competition is good for us at every position, and the two you mentioned in particular in the wide receiver and quarterback that I know has been mentioned. I like watching those battles; it brings out the best in all of us, or it should if we’re wired the right way."

With that said, here's how things evolved during the first practice in pads.

Quarterback

The reps returned to how they were night one, with Nathan Peterman once again with the first team, A.J. McCarron the second, and Josh Allen the third. What was different from the first two practices is that someone actually stood out from the rest. Allen had his full arsenal on display throughout, with a great touch pass on a wheel route to Kaelin Clay for a touchdown followed by a rocket back-shoulder to Cam Phillips. As we've come accustom to from the rookie, though, he took a step back with an interception at the goal line right after. Still, including his one series with the 1's, Allen actually separated from Peterman and McCarron, something no one has done in the first few days. 

Wide Receiver

There continues to be a healthy rotation at wide receiver through three days of training camp, but the same names are in that group. Kelvin Benjamin is usually joined by Jeremy Kerley in the slot with either Andre Holmes or Malachi Dupre flanked outside as well. For me Dupre is the guy that jumps out. While the likes of Brandon Reilly, Rod Streater, and Robert Foster have also seen time with the 1's, Dupre begins there regularly and makes plays. General Manager Brandon Beane eluded the other night that the team was being cautious with Zay Jones and his return from injury, but the longer he is off to the side conditioning while Dupre and company are taking advantage of their opportunities, it makes you wonder where Jones will fit in upon arrival.

Center/Offensive Line

​​The alternating at center in sync with what's happening at quarterback, as Russell Bodine back with the 1's like night one and Ryan Groy the 2's. McDermott saying that you really start to get a feel for the battles on the offensive and defensive line now that everyone is in pads, so let's see if Bodine or Groy can make a move in this race.

JULY 27

Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll reinforced Friday afternoon what head coach Sean McDermott said the night before: positional rotations will continue as they were through minicamp until the pads come on.

Quarterbacks

At quarterback, A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman flipped from the first practice, with McCarron running with the 1's and Peterman the 2's. Josh Allen continued to spend most of his time with the third team, but just like night one, saw one series with the first team. From what I have seen through two sessions here at St. John Fisher College, no one has helped or hurt their cause and things remain even between McCarron and Peterman with Allen behind those two.

Wide Receivers

Daboll also acknowledging Friday what I have said since OTAs and minicamp, that the wide receiver competition is wide open beyond Kelvin Benjamin. This showing on the field Friday when Malachi Dupre, Andre Holmes, Brandon Reilly, Rod Streater and Jeremy Kerley all saw time with the first team along with Benjamin. Just as telling is that some of those same names later were running with the 2's and 3's. Zay Jones once again working off to the side, with Daboll saying, "He’s in the meetings and when he can be out there, we’ll put him out there and see what he can do.​"

 

 

Center/Offensive Line

Much like the QB's, the center competition doing a swap, with Ryan Groy in with the first team after Russell Bodine was there practice number one.

As I said earlier, evaluations really begin once guys are in pads and that is expected to happen Saturday morning, so some movement may come in the next few practices.

JULY 26

Every training camp there are positions battles to keep an eye on and the Bills have a handful, led once again by the quarterback competition.

Quarterbacks

The order to open training camp is just as it was leaving minicamp: Nathan Peterman, A.J. McCarron, then Josh Allen. Head coach Sean McDermott says Peterman and McCarron will continue to split reps with the first team while Allen runs with the third team. McDermott did say Allen will get some action with the 1's, which we saw night one. None of the three really moving the needle one way or another. Allen continuing his trend of showing flashes of great throws combined with some that are errant and ill-advised.

Wide Receivers

Who the QBs are throwing to is the next biggest battle. Kelvin Benjamin is the solidified number one option with the rest up in the air. A large rotation across every level of the depth chart continues as it did in minicamp, but two names continued to shines when running with the 1's. Brandon Reilly and undrafted rookie Robert Foster made multiple plays and jumped out from a serious crowd. As for who was primed to play alongside Benjamin as the Bills second-option at WR, Zay Jones was working off to the side and even doing light running and catch after practice while he begins camp on the non-football injury list. GM Brandon Beane saying Jones is "chomping at the bit" to return to the field, while McDermott admitting he's behind the rest of that position group after missing all of OTAs and minicamp following knee surgery.

Center/Offensive Line

While there's change on the offensive line from a year ago, the only true competition at the start of training camp is at center. Russell Bodine has the upper hand on Ryan Groy right now after ending minicamp with the 1s. Groy did spend some time ahead of Bodine as the offseason program winded down, but seems to be a step behind as things begin at St. John Fisher College.

McDermott said not to expect much movement on the depth chart early in training camp as he and his staff try to avoid "knee-jerk reactions," especially before the pads come on.