Ahead of this weekend's preseason game in Chicago, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Bills starters, including QB Josh Allen, will see playing time against the Bears.
"It's just what I feel is best for the team right now," McDermott told reporters before Thursday's practice. "Every preseason is a little bit different base on where guys are and where the team is."
Allen, who did not play in the preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts, went 7-for-10 passing with 64 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Saturday and exited after the first quarter. McDermott said there is no set amount of time he intends on playing the starters against the Bears.
McDermott also spoke about focusing on pre-snap discipline in practice yesterday, as players were seen running after committing penalties. The Bills were penalized 13 times Saturday for a loss of 93 yards.
"It's just a reminder of how important not beating yourself is," McDermott said. "We're gonna pull you out, so you're gonna miss a rep and then you're gonna go get some conditioning in there as a reminder."
As training camp nears its close, McDermott gave an update on the status of the middle linebacker, one of the few positions without a clearcut starter. Terrel Bernard, who has been competing for the starting spot, has missed the last two weeks of practice and preseason games with a hamstring injury.
"[Bernard's absence] gives those other players that are still available extra reps," McDermott said. "[Bernard] is doing all that he can to get back as soon as he can and he's getting as many mental reps as he can, which is important. Those other two guys, three guys with [Baylon Spector] mixed in there as well are getting valuable reps."
Another closely watched position battle on the defense is for the starting cornerback job opposite Tre'Davious White. McDermott said that, despite competing against each other, the contending cornerbacks are working to improve as a team.
"They respect each other's position," McDermott said. "They respect the competition that's unfolding, but they're also trying to help one another. And yet, at the same time, they all have their own thigs that they're working on that you see them work on either before practice, or in this case, after practice."
Because of the travel day tomorrow, players were not in pads for Thursday's practice. The offense and defense went against each other in a team drill, but the pace was slowed down because of the lack of contact.
After practice, tight end Quintin Morris spoke to the media. He said he felt more focused as he enters his third year in the NFL.
"I personally feel it's been my best camp," Morris said. "I feel like I've been more locked in mentally … having some time in the offense, I'm able to go out there and less thinking and more playing fast. I like to believe that I've taken a time from like, developing my game in the route running and catching the ball and also run blocking."
Morris also shared details about the various bracelets decorating his arms. Many of them were gifts from fans, or even fellow tight end Dalton Kincaid, but one was a product of the tight end's season mantras.
"We went through the whole room and just had guys speak up about what would you use to describe our room … ultimately we felt like 'family' and 'unselfish' was the best way to describe our room," Morris said of the blue rubber bracelet with the two words emboldened in red. "The tight end position, you gotta get in there and block and you know, you'll get rewarded when you get rewarded, but really just doing the dirty work that some guys aren't willing to do."
With Kincaid, Morris and Dawson Knox, the Bills tight end room is loaded with talent. Initially playing as a wide receiver in college at Bowling Green University, Morris thinks that his catching ability helps him stand out on the field.
"I pride myself in running routes and making sure I catch anything that's coming my way," Morris said. "Having to come in and learn from the guys and [Tight ends coach Rob Boras] has been very great just as far as helping me technique-wise and that's something that I've been trying to improve … overall, I mean my job is to be ready for when my number's called and ultimately special teams."
The Bills' game against the Bears will kick off at 1 p.m.