5 players to watch during the Return of the Blue & Red training camp practice

2021-training-camp-running-backs
Running backs: Zack Moss (20), Matt Breida (22), Devin Singletary (26), Taiwan Jones (25), Antonio Williams (28), Christian Wade (45). Buffalo Bills Training Camp. August 5, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert

On Saturday, the Bills will practice inside Highmark Stadium for the second time this summer when the team hosts the The Return of the Blue & Red practice presented by Bud Light.

More than 45,000 tickets have been distributed for the practice that's scheduled to begin at 10 am. The crowd inside Highmark Stadium is expected to be electric as Bills Mafia will get the chance to greet Josh Allen and his teammates for the first time since QB1 signed his contract extension on Friday.

Before practice begins there will be a host of activities happening outside the stadium. Beginning at 9:00 am, kid-friendly activities including Bills mini-golf and giant corn hole will be available in the Labatt Scoreboard Square between Seneca Resorts and Casinos Gate 4 and Tim Hortons Gate 5. Guests can also take home a custom souvenir photo and get their faces painted while enjoying tunes from DJ Milk.

Also beginning at 9:00 am, Bills Legends Darryl Talley ('83-'94), Antowain Smith ('97-'00), Chris Kelsay ('03-'12) and John Fina ('92-'01) will be available for autographs and photos in the Labatt Scoreboard Square as well.

To get you ready for the practice, here are five players to watch.

1. Wide receiver Jake Kumerow

Jake Kumerow has been the shining star for the Bills early in training camp as he continues to make eye-popping plays every day. After spending most of the 2020 season on the Bills practice squad, he made one big touchdown grab for the team in December against the Broncos. His name flew under the radar up until a few weeks ago when players and coaches couldn't stop raving about his size and speed. The past few practices, he has been going 1-on-1 against Tre'Davious White. Kumerow made some impressive catches with him in coverage, but White also made some decent pass breakups. The two continue to make each other better, and White's teammate Dane Jackson had high compliments for Kumerow.

"He's like an all-around good receiver in every aspect: blocking, catching, running after the catch," Jackson said. "He just sneaks up on you really. You don't really see it off the rip, but when he's out there running it's like crazy. … You don't think bigger guys are fast but he's really fast. He gets up on you quick when you're playing off and when you're pressing, he can take that speed release and he's gone."

2. Defensive end A.J. Epenesa

After an unpreceded start to his rookie season with no in-person work until training camp, A.J. Epenesa made a lot of progress throughout the season last year. He has put the work in this offseason with the Bills training staff to be at a more ideal weight for his position. He is currently at 255 and looking to get up to 260. His next big goal is keeping that weight on throughout the 2021 season. Epenesa has made a lot of strides with the mental aspect of the game and feels more comfortable with the playbook heading into the season.

"Just being able to know where I'm supposed to line up and knowing where I'm supposed to be when it comes to stuff like that," Epenesa said. "So that's kind of coming second nature. And then the training, I definitely feel quicker, faster, stronger and the benefits from the weight room and adding the weight definitely helps with my game."

Scroll through to see the best photos from Day 7 of Bills training camp, presented by Connors & Ferris.

3. Guard Ike Boettger

Ike Boettger started out training camp on the Reserve/COVID-19 list but was activated from it on Thursday. The coaching staff wasted no time and Boettger was back in the lineup practicing at full capacity. The lineman played in 15 games and started 10, including playoffs, last season. Both marked career highs for Boettger, as he has served as a key depth piece for the Bills offensive line. Boettger looks like he hasn't missed a step since he's been back at camp. The game experience he received last year should provide a confidence boost for the fourth-year player.

4. Defensive end Greg Rousseau

The first thing that stands out about Greg Rousseau is his size, and he uses that to his advantage on the field. Whether it's getting around an offensive lineman or using his long arms to swat down a pass, Rousseau has looked impressive early in camp. He said after practice on Friday that it felt good to get the pads on after not playing in a game since December of 2019. Teammate Tyler Matakevich has been happy that Rousseau has been reaching out to the veterans on the team and asking questions.

"Just how athletic he is," Matakevich said. "It's really amazing how big these guys are but at the same time, they can move. That's the scary thing about it, but I mean he's got so much upscale to him. The kid's got so much potential and every day he asks questions. Like, 'hey, how are you doing this, how are you doing that?' … But I love that, and it just shows me how much he really wants to get better."

5. Running back Matt Breida

Even though he is one of the newest Bills on the team, Matt Breida has already been making waves in the locker room and on the field. Both Bills players and coaches have talked highly about Breida and his speed which he has displayed throughout camp. Breida not only brings his athletic ability to the team but has Super Bowl experience and has been a positive influence in the running back room. Both Singletary and Moss have learned a lot from him, and Moss is glad the Breida is so open and willing to share his knowledge of the game.

"He's really quick and he's a vet," Moss said. "He has a lot of tips for us, on and off the field so just having a guy like that who's vocal has really brought our group together a lot more than last year. Motivating two young guys and having Matt come in and being more vocal has really helped us mesh as a group from the first guy all the way down."

MORE INFO FOR FANS ATTENDING SATURDAY'S PRACTICE ...

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. Per NFL rules, players and coaches are not permitted to sign autographs at Training Camp. In the event of inclement weather, practice may be canceled. 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. Abbott Road will close at 7:00AM.

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