1. A stronger interior line bodes well for Jerry Hughes
Jerry Hughes believes this year will be different for the defensive line. Head coach Sean McDermott has talked about wanting his team to play tougher defense and Hughes thinks he can accomplish the task thanks to his teammates on the interior.
“I think we have a lot of talented guys on the inside starting with Star (Lotulelei), Jordan Phillips, you know we drafted Ed (Oliver), Harrison (Phillips), Rob (Thomas), Kyle (Peko), L.T. (Walton),” Hughes said. “I mean we got some really stout guys on the inside, guys who love football, know how to play the game and you know they come in every day willing to work and get better. So, when you see guys like that you know just coming into camp really focusing on their technique, it’s exciting.”
Hughes recorded a team-high seven sacks last season. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier thinks with the addition of Ed Oliver and depth of inside linemen, Hughes will have more opportunity for one-on-one match-ups with offensive tackles.
“One of the reasons we were so excited about Ed when we drafted him and when we were scouting him as well was we saw the potential for him to be able to win against guards one-on-one,” Frazier said. “So, what that does when people try to slide the line to say maybe Ed on the inside, well you know how we feel about Jerry, he’s one of the premiere pass rushers in our league and if we can take some of those chips and double teams and slides away from Jerry, well that gives us an opportunity to get one of the best edge rushers in a one-on-one situation against offensive tackles. So, we’re hoping that Ed can give us that interior push that we need and if it happens that’s going to open up some things for Jerry for sure.”
Getting Jerry away from double teams will allow the veteran to shine.
“It’s exciting just to get those one-on-one matchups where I’m on the edge with the tackle,” Hughes exclaimed. “It’s exciting for me just to be out there to put that person in space, get him uncomfortable, bring him to unchartered waters, something that we kind of work on spring time, right now during training camp. So I’m excited, I like the way that our d-line is setting up and the way we are communicating, it’s moving well.”
2. Corey Thompson showing improvement in second season
When linebacker Matt Milano was sidelined towards the end of last season, Corey Thompson stepped in as a replacement. With Milano working his way back to fully healthy, Frazier likes Thompson’s ability to add depth to the linebacker room.
“It’s hard to replace some of the guys you have as starters, but we feel really good about our backups,” Fraizer said. “We feel like Corey Thompson, he gives us something, last season when Matt went down and Corey stepped in he really did a good job for us and he gives us some versatility as well. He can play either of the outside positions.”
From the first day of camp, Lorenzo Alexander saw a change in Thompson’s IQ.
“His consistency, his attention to detail and he’s just playing fast. So, he’s making plays because he understands the scheme a lot more,” Alexander added.
Outside of understanding the game more, Alexander said Thompson came out to practice early on Tuesday to work on fundamentals with the veteran. Alexander said little things like that can make a big difference in a game.
“He played a significant role last year I think when Matt went down we were rotating at will linebacker,” Alexander said. “He can have a huge role on special teams, so the more value he creates for himself on special teams, on defense is going to give him obviously a better chance to make the team and being able to compete every day, every week as far as being active.”
3. Former NFL quarterback Jim Miller says no one has an arm like Josh Allen
Former NFL quarterback and current SiriusXM NFL radio host Jim Miller was impressed by Allen’s arm at practice on Tuesday. Miller was a guest on One Bills Live and talked about what he saw from practice.
“There are some strong-armed quarterbacks, don’t get me wrong, none have the arm that this guy has,” Miller said.
With Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott adding weapons to bolster the offense, Miller sees a new style of play that can give the Bills more success.
“Just the style of offense is different,” Miller added. “He’s got some intermediate weapons that can do some things when you look at Brian Daboll, the crossing routes, things that Cole Beasley’s going to be involved in and I think again what’s important to me, he cares about it, he works at it, he wants to get better, his teammates love him.”