1 – Battle continues at right cornerback
One of the longest enduring battles of training camp has been at cornerback. After the trade of Ronald Darby, Tre'Davious White moved to left corner. That created a hole on the right side of the defense, as three cornerbacks battled for the open spot. Although Shareece Wright started the game on the outside, he certainly hasn't cemented his position as a starter.
Wright played the majority of the first half, as Kevon Seymour was inactive due to an injury. Wright was later replaced by E.J. Gaines, who played his second game as a Bill. Both garnering significant playing time, neither corner hurt their chance in winning the competition.
Coach Sean McDermott said he was impressed with the battle.
"There was really good competition," said McDermott. "The thing you love about it is, just like the game, the guys battled all game long. Third game in a row that they battled all game long…I thought E.J. [Gaines], as well as some other players, are competing at an extremely high level. They're going to make for some tough decisions, and that's good."
Wright ended the game with two tackles, and one pass break-up. The seventh-year corner played a rather solid game. He was beat on one play by Mike Wallace when he allowed him a clean release, but the pass fortunately was overthrown.
Gaines played into the second half, and won the praise of McDermott. He ended the game with one tackle, a pass break-up, and he was around the ball consistently throughout the night.
Seymour's inability to play certainly didn't help his chances of winning the competition. With no reps, he can't stake his claim to the position.
As the Bills enter the last week of training camp, and the final preseason game, the battle at right cornerback doesn't look to have a solution in sight. With the regular season approaching, McDermott will likely want to name a starter as soon as possible.
Photos of the Bills taking on the Ravens during Week 3 of the 2017 preseason.
2 – Jones could have a big impact
Coming out of East Carolina, Zay Jones showed that he could be a main target in an NFL offense. ProFootball Focus tried to predict which rookie would have the greatest impact for each team in the AFC East. Jones was tabbed for the Bills. The reason is simple – Jones is going to garner a lot of throws, and he has precedent of turning that into production. Here's the full breakdown.
Jones was the most targeted receiver in all of college football last year, and it wasn't even close.He was targeted 216 times, hauling in another FBS-high 158 receptions while the next closest for each of those were 171 targets (Trent Taylor), 137 receptions (also Taylor).
Jones turned the high volume of throws at East Carolina into record-breaking success. He had 2.96 yards per route run during his senior year. This was good enough for 15th-best among all draft eligible receivers in the country last year.
Although he has had his role quickly elevated in the Bills offense, he won't have a tough time adjusting. As ProFootball Focus noted, Jones ran a route on 590 snaps last year. The Bills, on average, only had their receivers run routes on 276 snaps last season. This means Jones' certainly has the capability to be used heavily in the Bills offense.
Jones' important role was very apparent during the third preseason game. He ended the night with three catches for 38 yards. Used as the number one receiver, due to Jordan Matthews being sidelined, the rookie thrived and showed that he's certainly ready for the regular season.
3 – McCoy lethal outside the tackles
There is no running back in the NFL more dangerous outside the tackles than LeSean McCoy. According to ProFootball Focus, the Bills veteran running back had 835 yards rushing when outside the tackles last season. This put him ahead of DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott.
McCoy had 1,267 total yards rushing last season. This means that McCoy only gained 432 yards between the tackles. The Bills run-heavy offense is also oriented to push run plays to the outside. Even with a new offensive coordinator in Rick Dennison, the Bills will continue to drive most their runs outside of the tackles. Not only is this McCoy's strength, but it produced the best rushing attack in the NFL last year.
Although McCoy had a tough game against the Raven's stout run defense on Saturday, he looked elusive during the first two preseason games. As McCoy continues his role as the workhorse of the Bills offense, he could be one of the most productive running backs in the NFL again this year.