Here's the Bills news of note for Aug. 26th.
1 – Dawkins ready to help at any position
Training camp hasn't been easy for Dion Dawkins. Not only is he a rookie trying to adjust to the speed of the NFL, but he was also asked to learn a new position at right tackle. With two preseason games left, Dawkins is now seeing time at left tackle.
As Cordy Glenn continues to rehab from a persistent foot ailment, the Bills have Dawkins as their contingency plan. Although Seantrel Henderson has played at left tackle for most of training camp and the first two preseason games, he still has a five-game suspension looming that he must serve when the 2017 season begins. This means the Bills need a viable back up to step in and start if Glenn can't return in time for Week 1 of the season.
The Bills back up plan is Dawkins, who admitted that learning right tackle was a process, but left tackle is about motor memory.
"I'm adjusting well," said Dawkins. "It's a huge change, but once you get a couple plays out of the way, it becomes natural. I've been playing left tackle throughout all of college, so it comes natural."
Dawkins played left tackle for four years at Temple. This isn't a new position for him, but it is at a whole new level. Dawkins will start the third preseason game against Baltimore at left tackle, but doesn't know the team's plan for the upcoming weeks since Glenn's status is up in the air.
"Wherever they need me at," said Dawkins. "Left tackle, right tackle, left guard or right guard it doesn't matter. Wherever they need me, and think it will help the team win, is where I'll play."
Although Dawkins has experience at left tackle, the speed of the NFL is still something that's relatively new. For many players, it takes time to adjust. Dawkins said he isn't worried because he's confident he can rely on his teammates.
"I'm extremely confident," said Dawkins. "I have guys like Tyrod Taylor, Shady [McCoy], Richie [Incognito] next to me, Eric Wood, the tight ends, like (Nick) O'Leary. Those guys bring me along. By playing next to them I feel extremely confident."
2 – Incognito sets offense's goals against Ravens
Left guard Richie Incognito said the offense has a lot to prove on Saturday. After a good performance in the first preseason game, the unit faltered against the Eagles. Incognito said the difference between the two games was the offenses ability to find a rhythm. On the John Murphy Show, Incognito laid out the offense's goals.
"This is our full-dress rehearsal for the season," said Incognito. "I'd like to see the offense find a rhythm. I'd like to start picking up some chunks in the pass game and get the run game going. Everything kind of complimenting one another. The defense has been putting us in a great position. We were killing ourselves with penalties and on special teams, starting backed up. I'd really like to start seeing the foundational pieces come together."
The 11-year veteran said that the third week of preseason is essentially a dry-run for the season. The offense game plans as if they are actually preparing for a regular season game. Incognito said they will start to breakdown the Raven's tendencies, and possible plays they think would be effective against certain looks.
Above all, Incognito said the offense wants to build their confidence. Finding a rhythm, and scoring a couple times will go a long way in the offense feeling assured in their abilities heading into the regular season.
"We have to prove it to ourselves first," said Incognito. "You get in the training camp practices and it's scripted, 'Okay, this is a run period, this is a pass period, this is this period.' But, until you do it in a game scenario, you have to prove it to yourself first. Then, we can start forming this swagger a little bit and then get this thing rolling."
3 – O'Leary having a quietly effective preseason
Entering his third season in the NFL, Nick O'Leary has had the back-up tight end spot cemented throughout much of training camp. Although his play isn't flashy, O'Leary has shown that he can be an effective blocker and pass catcher in the NFL. According to ProFootball Focus, O'Leary has been one of the most efficient tight ends this preseason.
O'Leary has averaged 2.2 yards per route run this preseason. That mark is good for fourth among all tight end in the NFL during the first two weeks of the preseason.
In his first two NFL seasons opportunities were few and far between, but now it appears he'll have a significant role in an offense that make use of two tight end sets a fair amount of the time.