1. This rookie safety is making plays and leaning on vets for guidance
The Buffalo Bills have an experienced group of safeties. Both Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are in their seventh year in the NFL, while Kurt Coleman is entering his 10th. For rookie Jaquan Johnson, that’s important as he gets through his first couple of months in the league.
“I got great veterans in my room, and they’ve helped me out with everything,” Johnson said. “Going into game days I’m pretty much ready for everything we’re going to be seeing.”
Johnson says when he first got to rookie minicamp he was “all over the place” but the veterans in his room have helped to calm him down.
Johnson is diagnosing the playbook with them as they can show him what to group together that makes it easy for him to process and eventually slow the game down.
“A lot of the time it comes down to who that person is,” Coleman said. “Jaquan is eager to learn, he’s receptive, he doesn’t have an ego when you’re trying to tell him things. He soaks in a lot of the things that you’re trying to teach and show him.”
Johnson has been finding his role with the Bills. Last Friday against the Colts, Johnson made the play of his career so far. The Colts were driving with two minutes left in the game. A touchdown would almost certainly give the Colts the win.
On a pass over the middle, Johnson swooped in and ripped the ball out and recovered the fumble to seal the victory for the Bills.
He says, that’s the one skill the veterans in the room didn’t have to teach him.
2. Center Mitch Morse participating in team drills
Bills center Mitch Morse remains in concussion protocol but was participating in 11-on-11 team drills in practice Monday. QB Josh Allen has been happy to see the pivot man back in the middle of their offensive line.
“There is always work to be done but having Mitch back is obviously great for us as an offense,” he said. “The knowledge that he brings, the communication, the leadership, it’s just fun having him out there again. But there are still a lot of things we’re working on in practice.”
What Allen is referring to are the on-the-fly calls pre-snap.
“It’s different types of movements and communication when we’re in there together against a live defense as good as ours,” said Allen. “It’s been a good challenge.”
Knowing that he’s unlikely to play this Thursday, Allen wishes they could’ve gotten some time together with Morse in a game.
“Unfortunately we won’t have those in-game reps,” Allen said. “But knowing Mitch and his background and how long he’s played at such a high level, I’m not worried at all.”
3. Jessica Pegula prepared for the US Open
This morning, Jessica Pegula will take to court seven for her first-round match at the US Open. Pegula, the daughter of Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, will face Alize Cornet of France at 11 am. Cornet is ranked the No. 64 in the world. Pegula is ranked No. 58.
For Pegula, her success on the court has been a long time coming. The 25-year old has overcome two serious injuries in recent years and has been having her best year on the tour in 2019. During Bills training camp, Pegula won the Citi Open in Washington D.C. – her first career WTA victory.
“I just feel like I’m more prepared to win now at this level because of all the preparation and work I’ve put in,” Pegula told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. “I’m older and more mature and I think able to handle things on the court better than I used to.”