1 – Zay gets team reps
In another step in Zay Jones return to the field, the wide receiver took a handful of team reps in Friday’s abbreviated practice.
Jones worked in mainly with the starting unit on offense getting a few snaps in 11-on-11 and also ran with the first unit in a two-minute drill series. He was still wearing the red non-contact jersey Friday.
“You always want to try to practice at game speed, so you can transition what you do on the practice field to game situations,” Jones told Buffalobills.com. “So that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”
Although Jones wasn’t targeted a single time, he was moving with suddenness and cutting sharply in his routes.
Now the task is establishing a rapport with two quarterbacks who haven’t thrown to him until he was activated off the Non-Football Injury list last week in AJ McCarron and Josh Allen.
“We’ve got multiple guys throwing the ball back there,” Jones said. “Three great leaders. My job is to go out and catch the football. That’s my mindset right now. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10, 2 or 17. Just catch the ball.”
Jones is putting the extra time in after practice as well. He ran routes for an extra 15 minutes on Friday taking cues and pointers from receivers coach Terry Robiskie.
“He’s been coaching for 41 years. He knows football at the wide receiver position, probably better than anybody. So my job is to shut up and go out there and utilize what he gives me. I’m never complacent with my game, so I’m constantly working on the small details. Whether I feel like I’ve got it or not I’m always going to try to practice it more and more because you can never be too good at something. You can always improve.”
Jones says he’s in a good frame of mind. Even though he looks good carrying his weight from a speed and strength perspective, the receiver is still working to build up his endurance.
“Mentally I feel good,” he said. “That’s the thing that matters right now. My body will follow, but mentally I’m in the right place.”
2 - McCloud rotating in with starters
Rookie WR Ray-Ray McCloud didn’t flash a whole lot the first two weeks of training camp, but things were much different in the preseason opener against Carolina. McCloud had three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown to cap a two-minute drill run by Josh Allen.
Head coach Sean McDermott says the coaching staff weighs game performance heavier than practice and that was evident Friday. McCloud’s play on Thursday night earned him some reps with the first team offense Friday afternoon.
“I thought there were some good things and some things he needs to work on,” said McDermott of McCloud’s play Thursday night. “Obviously, the big touchdown catch at the end [was good]. The one thing I noticed from the scrimmage that we had the other week here and then [in the game] was [that] he kind of has a little bit of a gamer in him.”
McCloud wasn’t reading much into his first team reps Friday.
"I just do me, I put it in the Lord's hands,” he said. “I just come here every day to work and keep my head down to grind, work, and do what I'm asked."
What coach McDermott is asking of McCloud going forward is to string more good plays and good days together.
“The most important thing is that he continues to develop some consistency,” McDermott said. “He makes some plays, but we’ve got to find a way to develop some consistency now.”
3 - ‘D’ takes two-minute drill
Both AJ McCarron and Nate Peterman each got to run two-minute drill drives at the end of practice.
McCarron and the first team offense opened the drive at their own 45-yard line with a minute on the clock needing a touchdown to win.
An incomplete pass on first down was followed by a short completion to LeSean McCoy out of the backfield for a two-yard pickup on 2nd-and-10. However, on 3rd-and-8 the pass rush got to McCarron for a sack as it appeared that Jerry Hughes was the first to tap him out.
That set up at 4th-and-15, but McCarron found Jeremy Kerley deep downfield for a 30-yard completion and a fresh set of downs with 12 seconds on the clock.
On the next play the defense ended the drive with another sack, again Hughes looked to be first on the scene.
Peterman and the second unit had more favorable field position at the defense’s 25-yard line, needing a touchdown to win, but no timeouts and just 30 seconds on the clock.
Peterman couldn’t connect with McCloud on first down as the pass fell incomplete.
On 2nd-and-10, Peterman tried to hit Nick O’Leary down the seam, but S Dean Marlowe got inside position on O’Leary and got to the ball before O’Leary for the interception to end the drive.