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5 players to watch during Saturday's open Bills training camp practice

Dawson Knox and the tight ends huddle up at Buffalo Bills Training Camp, One Bills Drive, July 30, 2021. Photo by Sara Schmidle
Dawson Knox and the tight ends huddle up at Buffalo Bills Training Camp, One Bills Drive, July 30, 2021. Photo by Sara Schmidle

The Bills will hold their first Training Camp practice inside Highmark Stadium on Saturday. With around 39,000 tickets distributed to fans, this will mark the first time since 2019 that Bills Mafia can see their favorite players practice in person. 

Parking is complimentary for all fans, and lots will open at 8:00 am. The gates will open at 9:00 am and practice will begin at 10:00 am. 

Unvaccinated fans must wear a mask at all times while in the stadium. All seating is general admission. All purchases at concession stands and The Bills Store will be cashless and require a credit card or mobile payment. Cash will not be accepted at any point of sale.   

Tickets are required and mobile-only. For more information on Mobile Ticketing, please visit our Mobile Ticketing page here. We strongly encourage fans to add tickets to their Apple Wallet or Google Pay before arriving at Highmark Stadium. 

The NFL Bag Policy will be enforced. Clear bags smaller than 12" x 6" x 12" or small clutch bags approximately the size of a hand (4.5" x 6.5") will be permitted. 

There will be no players signing autographs throughout the practice session. In the event of inclement weather, practice may be canceled. 

To get you ready for the practice, here are five players to keep an eye on.

1. WR Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders is entering his 12th season in the NFL and is a perfect fit here in Buffalo. The wide receiver brings a veteran presence to the locker room and brings Super Bowl experience from playing in three and winning one. Early throughout camp, Sanders has made some good catches and is looking to be another solid option for Josh Allen this season. Allen has been impressed with the amount of energy Sanders has brought to camp, and he hopes that it rubs off on the other players. 

"You see why he's been in the league so long," Allen said. "Just the attention to detail he has and even in the conditioning test - he was number one every time we crossed the line. To see that with a guy who's been in the league I think 12 years now, it's fun to watch. It really motivates the younger guys and sets a great precedent for the team. They feel his energy and they feel his excitement to be here and we're lucky to have him."

2. CB Dane Jackson

The battle for the number two cornerback spot is one of the most intriguing position battles for the Bills as training camp begins. Second-year cornerback Dane Jackson will be competing this summer for the starting job. Jackson will have an uphill battle to climb as Levi Wallace has fended off any competition for that second corner spot in back-to-back years. Jackson didn't see much playing time in 2020, but when he was on the field, he made the most of it. Leslie Frazier has said that Jackson came back this year more confident and that he is fascinated to watch this competition play itself out. Micah Hyde, who is a leader in the defensive backfield, has also seen Jackson grow as a person and a player and is proud of his work ethic.

"He's just a humble guy and he's willing to work," Hyde stated. "Then once you get on the field, he's a competitor. We appreciate that and it's going to help us out in the long run. Guys competing with other guys on the team is only going to make this team better. To see the plays that Dane's making day in and day out is really exciting. When he's on the field with me, I'm excited. I can't wait to see his progression throughout the year also."

3. OT Spencer Brown

With Dion Dawkins starting training camp on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, it has opened the door for third-round rookie Spencer Brown to get in more practice reps at left tackle. Brown has done a solid job filling in for Dawkins and the extra reps will help the coaching staff see how the lineman is progressing early into his rookie year. At 6-foot-8 and 314-pounds, Brown is hard to miss and has a chance to add more quality depth to the Bills offensive line.

4. DE Boogie Basham

It didn't take long for Boogie Basham to make some noise at training camp. On Thursday, Basham made an athletic play on the ball and intercepted Josh Allen. With Darryl Williams all over him, Basham was still able to get off the ground, tip the ball with his left hand, catch it and run it 20 yards for the touchdown. Causing mayhem for opposing offenses is something that Basham did quite frequently in college. Through four years at Wake Forest, Basham racked up 19.5 sacks, 35.5 tackles for loss, eight passes defensed, seven forced fumbles and one touchdown. Leslie Frazier was impressed with Basham's athleticism, and he is excited to see how he continues to grow in camp. 

"That showed his athleticism and just the mindset that he has," Frazier stated. "We think he's capable of making plays like that once we get into real football as well. So, it's really good to see, even though it's practice and training camp, you love to see it."

5. TE Dawson Knox

After facing adversity in 2020, dealing with COVID and other injuries, Knox has come back this season with a new mindset. Knox demonstrated down the stretch and throughout the playoffs last season that he could be a more dependable target for Josh Allen. Knox worked with a hand-eye specialist this offseason to strengthen his catching ability and catch radius. With both Lee Smith and Tyler Kroft on different teams this season, Knox is the longest-tenured tight end in Buffalo. He believes he can build off last season and be the guy the Bills drafted him to be. 

"I want to be the full tight end," Knox said in June. "I don't ever want to come off the field. So, if it's pass protecting if it's run blocking if it's running routes against corners and safeties - I want to be able to do it all. I don't think there's any part of my game that's reached its full potential. I'm just gonna keep working on everything and try to be that perfect, well-rounded tight end."

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