The Bills have six training camp practices left before they begin in-season practices. Tuesday afternoon marked the 18th practice of training camp. Before the team took the field, assistant head coach and defensive line coach Eric Washington met with the media to talk about the defense's performance against the Steelers and where he thinks the defense is at.
Washington thought there were some bright spots and some growth opportunities that came out of their 27-15 loss. Washington felt the 62-yard touchdown run the Bills gave up in the beginning of the game was out of character but liked the way the team responded.
"We want to be better in that situation, that's out of character for us," Washington said of the first Steelers touchdown. "And up front we need to do a better job at the point of attack in a lot of things. The good news is after that particular play, I think at one point they averaged 1.8 yards per carry, so the response again was phenomenal by the guys on defense. But you just want to stay out of letting a team accumulate those types of yards."
The defensive line picked up three sacks against Pittsburgh, but Washington knows there's more room to grow before they take the field on Sept. 11 for Week 1. The DL coach saw some of that on Tuesday when the defensive line put pressure on QBs during multiple team periods.
"The guys are working extremely hard, there's some things that we just need to do a little bit better as far as coordination, as far as all being on the same page, so we can really take advantage of the exceptional talent that we have to win one on one," Washington said. "So there are some areas that kind of took us out of being able to do our absolute best in that situation (against the Steelers). I know what the guys are capable of, and they know what we need to fix and adjust, and we'll get there."
As middle linebacker competition continues, Terrel Bernard still remains sidelined due to a hamstring injury. Tyrel Dodson and A.J. Klein, who are also a part of the competition, saw the field for several series on Saturday against the Steelers. Dodson had three total tackles and Klein had two. Washington says he's not disappointed the competition is ongoing because it's between a few players who they feel great about, which is making their decision tougher.
"The people who are vying for that position are working their tails off, and we'll just let it play out," Washington shared. "I wouldn't call it uncertainty. We're still working the process right now of giving as much exposure as we possibly can to the people who are at that position."
Why TE Dalton Kincaid values preseason opportunities
Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid saw some live action in Buffalo's first preseason game against the Colts but mainly was utilized in blocking. Saturday, he was a focal point in the passing game against the Steelers. Kincaid was targeted on four passes and finished with three receptions for 45 yards with his longest catch being 21 yards.
"It was awesome," Kincaid said. "I mean the first game I definitely got some reps, but this last game definitely felt like I got some good experience."
Josh Allen linked up with Kincaid for an eight-yard gain on the first play of Buffalo's drive. The TE said he had a good idea the ball would come his way but was happy for the exhale that came afterward.
"I feel like it's one of those things where once that happens, a deep breath comes after that," Kincaid shared. "And then it's like, let's go."
Kincaid said getting those live reps against a different team are super valuable when preparing for his first NFL game in less than a month.
"You can be out on the practice field all you want going against the Buffalo Bills every day, but you can't really emulate those game experiences and those situations that pop up where, Josh is adjusting stuff post snap," Kincaid said.
The TE who had 35 touchdowns in college didn't know exactly what to expect out of his first NFL training camp but feels more at ease heading into his final few weeks thanks to the veterans he gets to practice with every day.
"I feel like with experience, having camp and going against such a good defense every day, that's definitely made it a lot easier in terms of (adjusting to) the speed of the game," Kincaid said. "So just being able to go against some of the best of the best in the league at their position has been super awesome and super helpful, so I'm hoping that really helps translate over (to games)."
Check out the best game photos from the second preseason game in 2023. This gallery is presented by Gabe's Collision.
- QB Matt Barkley (right elbow), WR Kahlil Shakir (ribs), LB Terrel Bernard (hamstring), LB Dorian Williams (calf), OL Greg Mancz (knee soreness) and DT Eli Ankou (calf) did not participate in Tuesday's practice.
- American No. 1 Tennis Pro and and 3rd ranked player in the world Jessica Pegula visited the team facility Tuesday. She joined One Bills Live to talk about her preparation for the US Open and her upcoming role in the Netflix show "Break Point."