1. Wide receiver Duke Williams impresses in Carolina
Wide receiver Duke Williams was picked up by the Bills on a reserve/future contract in January 2019. Before coming to the Bills, in 2018, Williams led the CFL with 1,579 receiving yards and tied for a league best 11 receiving touchdowns on 88 receptions. Williams had a solid week of joint practices against the Panthers and continued to show his value in Friday’s preseason game scoring one touchdown on a nine-yard reception in the second quarter.
“That was a part of the plan was to take a look at some of those guys and see what they could do,” McDermott said. “I thought we achieved some of our goal of watching them play with Matt, some of them with Josh, so I was happy to see Duke play strong and Isaiah. There was some good competition there.”
Williams was targeted four times, finishing the night with three catches for 38 yards including the touchdown. McDermott was pleased to see Williams make a statement in the second preseason game.
“Another young player that made a big time contribution tonight, you could feel him,” McDermott said. “He flashed and I think did some good things in the run game, blocking as well. It’s not just what you do catching the football, but it’s being a team player and how willing are you to block when you have to block.”
2. Christian Wade's reception almost created a tidal wave on the sideline
Former rugby star Christian Wade hasn’t had many touches in preseason games thus far, but when he gets an opportunity — he takes advantage of it. In the first preseason game against the Colts, on his first NFL carry, Wade scored a 65-yard touchdown. His team, thrilled to see him score in his first football game, almost saw the running back do it again on his second touch of his NFL career. In the fourth quarter, on a third-and-10 play, Wade caught a 48-yard pass from Tyree Jackson taking it to the two-yard line.
“I could feel the sideline as a tidal wave about to come over me,” McDermott said. “Another special moment for Christian and our team.”
Wade said it’s the small bursts of success in a game, like a 48-yard reception, that make retiring from rugby and trying out a new sport all worth it.
3. What Sean McDermott learned about his team in three days in Carolina
One reason why the Bills have training camp at St. John Fisher College is to build team chemistry, this continued as the team held joint practices against the Carolina Panthers leading up to Friday’s preseason game.
“We’ve got a group of guys that love to play ball, love to be around each other and they are committed to working hard,” McDermott said. “It’s not that I didn’t know that before, but it was reaffirmed to me on this trip.”
The entire team made a stop on the way to Charlotte before Friday’s game.
“We stopped for ice cream on the way up on the buses yesterday and those guys loved it,” McDermott said. “They just appreciated it and it was good to see them hang out together. That’s part of the way you build a team [and develop] that cohesiveness and that chemistry.”