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5 things we learned from Day 1 of Minicamp


*1 – Timing improving in pass game *It’s still not real football, but one noticeable improvement with the execution of the offense is the timing of the passing game. No matter which quarterback is in the lineup throwing passes, the ball is hitting the ground less than it was early during OTAs.

“Just because you’re spending more time with them we’re gradually getting better,” said AJ McCarron. “There are still some things that are tough, but you’re trying to take step forward each day and make progress. Tuesday was a good day though.”

McCarron’s best pass play came on a touchdown throw to Nick O’Leary in the red zone, when due to pressure he had to throw it early. But the ball still got where it needed to be on time for O’Leary to make the play.

“Going through this new offense in phase one and phase two (of the spring workouts) has been really helpful,” said Nathan Peterman. “I think the work that we’ve done to improve our timing and chemistry has been great.”

Peterman showed great touch on a throw down the left sideline to rookie Cam Phillips as he dropped it right over his shoulder for a would-be 40-yard touchdown.

2 – Allen making progress
After putting in a lot of work to catch up with McCarron and Peterman in the offensive playbook, having only arrived at the end of April, Josh Allen took a small step forward in his progress as an NFL quarterback. Head coach Sean McDermott gave him first team reps for a couple of series in practice Tuesday.

“Josh is going to continue with the third group like he’s done before, but periodically we’ll give Josh some reps with the ones,” said McDermott. “That’s all part of his development plan and it lets us evaluate our entire roster from top to bottom. He’ll still work with the threes by and large. Nate and AJ will continue with the ones and twos there, but we’ll throw Josh in there from time to time moving forward.”

Allen got a series with the first team during an 11-on-11 team segment and for a series during a nine-on-nine segment when two of the defensive linemen are on the field taking a knee and do not rush the passer.

For the most part in practice Tuesday, Allen made good decisions with the football. He proved elusive in the run game when he kept the ball. On one play he shook the defensive end and darted up the field inside for a gain of 10. He also threw the ball away when he had nothing on a couple of pass plays.

Among his best plays were a strike to Kelvin Benjamin on the right sideline. The ball was a bit high, but Benjamin’s gigantic catch radius made for a completion.

The only major blemish on his day was a pass that was tipped and intercepted by fellow first-round pick Tremaine Edmunds. He also had a pass that was broken up by Micah Hyde when he was getting reps with the first team, and talked to the veteran safety later to get some answers.

“Micah Hyde broke one of my passes up so I went up to him after practice and just asked what he saw,” said Allen. “He said he saw my eyes. So being able to talk to the defense like that and pick up on keys that they’re looking at to help them make plays on the football is valuable. So I’m just trying to learn from all the reps that I get.”

*3 – McCoy high on Daboll *Bills feature back LeSean McCoy spoke for the first time this spring and was pumped up about the new offensive scheme and the man who will be calling the plays in offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.

“Smart person,” said McCoy of Daboll. “He’s always trying to find ways to get the backs in open space, I guess the playmakers, always try to get them the ball. So I’m excited about this year. I’m excited to be back in that offense where it’s hitting on all cylinders. Throwing the ball and finding ways to get guys in space. It’s what I do best.”

McCoy, who will turn 30 this summer, has no intention of slowing down. After reaching 10,000 career rushing yards last season, the new mark is 12,000.

“We’re chasing 12-thousand. We’re chasing that,” he said. “Last year was the first time in the playoffs in 17 years. So we want to capitalize on that moving forward. There are a lot of exciting things happening in Buffalo right now and I just want to be a part of it.”

*4 – Lawson flashing *By now most have heard about Shaq Lawson’s rigorous offseason regimen in which he has reduced his body fat percentage and overall weight, while improving his lean muscle mass. He said he feels quicker and he looked it on Tuesday.

During a team blitz period, Lawson was continually getting around the edge and disrupting the pocket. Even though defensive linemen can’t make sacks in the practice setting, it was clear that Lawson would’ve had two and a couple of hits and hurries to go along with it.

He also had a batted pass at the line of scrimmage.

“He’s in a good place mentally, which is good for us and it’s showing in the way that he’s practicing,” said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “You can see that sense of urgency in the way he’s working and hopefully that’ll carry over into the fall.”

If Lawson can carry this kind of play into training camp when the pads go on, he may just live up to his first-round expectations in 2018.

*5 – Opportunity update *For the second straight week it was Ryan Groy getting the reps with the first team offense at center. If that holds through the rest of the week, it figures to put him ahead in the competition with Russell Bodine going into training camp.

With Matt Milano dealing with a hamstring strain, veteran Ramon Humber continues to take his first team reps on the strong side.

Among the receivers getting some run with the ones, in addition to Benjamin and Jeremy Kerley, were Brandon Reilly and Andre Holmes. Rod Streater, Quan Bray and Ray-Ray McCloud III were sprinkled in here and there.

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