The Bills kicked off day one of mandatory minicamp on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in Orchard Park. Here are five things to know from the first day.
1. Players sending their thoughts and prayers to the Pegula family
Bills quarterback Josh Allen started off his press conference by sharing his thoughts are with Bills owner and president Kim Pegula and her family after hearing she has unexpected health issues.
"I'd like to send my condolences to the Pegulas and their family," Allen said. "Obviously, don't know all the details of what's going on. We're all praying for them. And we appreciate everybody else in the community praying for them as well.
"Again, it's new news to us. She's done so much for our organization, and we all love her so much. So, again, as a team, we're sending our prayers and we just ask that you guys do the same for us, please."
Allen said the unfortunate news definitely made the first day of mandatory minicamp feel more somber than usual.
2. Poyer and Hyde back together
The Bills had full attendance for their first day of mandatory minicamp according to head coach Sean McDermott. Veteran safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer were back together and picked up where they left off as if no time had passed since the last time they were on the field.
Hyde said without Poyer in the lineup, the defense isn't the same, so the group was happy to get their guy back.
"He's a big part of this defense," Hyde shared. "When he's not here, it's different. Whether it's making calls, getting guys lined up, making plays, being a leader, it's different. That's a guy that I feel like you can't replace so to have him back is a big part of the puzzle that we have on defense."
"I'm glad he's here," Bills quarterback Josh Allen said. "We missed him in OTAs, and I know he missed being here. Again, he's All-Pro Po. And when he's on the field, he's one of the best, if not the best safeties. We've got the best safety tandem in the league. I've said that since I've been here and I'm going to continue to say that."
Poyer is heading into his 10th season and tied a career-high five interceptions last year. Hyde and Poyer together had 10 interceptions last season, which was the most out of any safety tandem in the NFL. Hyde said what impresses him most about Poyer is his ability to defend all sorts of offensive weapons.
"He's very special, very special," Hyde explained. "I think that I wouldn't be the player I am today without him. And I think it's safe to say that he wouldn't be the player he is without me. I've told you guys this before, every single day we push each other.
"(The) night before a big practice we're texting each other, giving each other energy, we're waking up early, we're lifting together, just setting the tone for the day. I think that we just push each other. We kind of always had that the underdog mentality."
3. Why Hyde thinks White could up his game this season + his impression of Kaiir Elam
Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White continues to rehab from his ACL injury from last season. While there's no timetable on his return, Bills safety Micah Hyde said it's hard for people on the outside to understand how much work White has been putting in behind the scenes.
"I've been fortunate to see some of the stuff he's been doing," Hyde shared. "He's working. He's working his ass off. I know I will put every single penny I have on Tre'Davious coming back being a better player, just because I'm that confident in him. And so, I think that as a young guy coming in and seeing him work like that, working to get back, you have no choice but to go out here and compete and continue to work."
One of the younger corners who looks at White as an example is rookie Kaiir Elam. Hyde said he finally got to meet Elam this week and noticed how he's soaking up everything he can from the veterans.
"You can already tell, he just listens," Hyde said. "He pays attention. I don't know necessarily who he was coached by, his upbringing, all that type of stuff, but they definitely taught him well and coached him well because he's all ears. You can tell as I'm saying stuff, he's taking mental notes. That's how Tre'Davious was when he first got here. He was battling on the football field, which Kaiir is doing, but also just learning from his mistakes and learning from the older guys."
4. A peek at the 2022 Bills offense
When you take a look at what the 2022 Bills offense could look like, there's some newness to it but there's also several players that return and a whole lot of familiarity. The team hopes to use this familiarity to their advantage this season. When asked if this is the deepest group of weapons Bills quarterback Josh Allen has gotten to work with, QB1 said it's not just the numbers that are impressive but more the areas the team can make plays from.
"We got guys all over the field that can make some plays now," Allen said. "If you look at the depth from the running backs to the tight ends to the receivers, the guys have that just have shown they've made plays in the league before. We've got some rookies that are coming along and continuing to improve and impress these coaches."
Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey is obviously a familiar face but brings some newness to the offensive coordinator position and the offense as a whole. Allen said even though he doesn't feel like the offense has missed a beat, the focus right now is making sure everyone is on the same page.
"Obviously, it's going to be different," Allen said. "It's a different voice in the headset. It's a different mind calling the plays. The verbiage is still the same, the protections are still the same. Obviously, we've switched up a couple of things here and there with concepts and thought processes and stuff like that.
"But again, being able to call the same play and understand our players know this play like the back of their hand and it's just our job to go out there and execute. But again, this is the game of football. Everything that we did last year and the year before has no effect on what we're going to do and hope to accomplish this this next coming year. So, we've got to start fresh and learn how to improve and keep finding ways to improve."
5. How Von Miller's picking up the defense + helping younger players
Just like every player who is new to the Buffalo Bills this season, mandatory minicamp is a time to assess your understanding of the playbook before training camp begins at the end of July. Even though he's a seasoned vet with more than 100 sacks, linebacker Von Miller doesn't want to rush learning the defense.
"I've been in a lot of schemes, I've played in a lot of defenses, so I'm familiar with what we're trying to do here," Miller shared. "I just got to get the terminology in line with the technique, terminology on how I'm supposed to do it. I know how to do everything in any defense, I just got to get the terminology right, and it's a learning process and it's a transition. But I feel like with the coaches that we have and my want to really learn the defense, I feel like we'll be able to get it done."
While perfecting a new defense, Miller is also devoting time to teach several young players on the defensive line like Greg Rousseau. Rousseau says it's been great to learn from a guy like Miller and he appreciates all his insight.
"It's like polishing a diamond," Miller said of what it's like helping Rousseau. "I really don't try to change guys. I just try to really see what they're thinking. I just try to really see their approach and see their mindset because we're all different players. One thing that we can really bounce off each other is our mindset, and I give him my mindset, I give him my view of things and hopefully he can learn from that."