The Bills returned to practice on Wednesday afternoon as they prepare to welcome the Cleveland Browns to Buffalo in what could be a repeat of the 2017 "Snow Bowl" between the Bills and the Indianapolis Colts.
Allen working to get his body back to "game day" shape
Ahead of practice, head coach Sean McDermott announced that QB Josh Allen would be limited in practice as he continues to rehab his right elbow. The team will take it day by day and reassess Allen after practice today, and they will adjust accordingly as the week goes on. Allen's situation hasn't worsened since Sunday's game, rather the team is just taking a cautious approach with the QB.
"Just a progression coming off of the game and existing situation he was dealing with starting last week," McDermott said.
Allen shared a similar sentiment.
"Just trying to try to get the body back to game day shape," Allen added. "Just trying to take care of a couple of different elements here or there. It's no different than what anybody else in the league is doing right now. Guys, if they're telling you they're 100%, they're probably lying."
Allen said that his current status does not impact his preparation throughout the week. The training staff has him on a specific plan that he'll follow to eventually get back to that game day shape and his teammates are helping him stay on track to doing so.
"We got Case and Matt that are stepping in whether they're throwing for me or doing all that stuff," Allen said. "We got vets that understand it and again, just making sure that I'm going through each rep in my mind."
Since the injury occurred, Allen said he has been in the training room for hours on end working with the strength staff which allowed him to return to game action this past weekend against the Minnesota Vikings – and the QB will keep up with that same routine going forward.
"It'll get to a point where it's back to normal and I don't feel it and don't have to worry about it," Allen said. "But until that time comes, just being smart with it and making sure I'm not doing anything stupid in walkthroughs, not throwing it very hard, and just staying in the training room and still getting treatment on it."
Preparing for Buffalo weather
With snow on the forecast for the upcoming weekend, Bills players, coaches, and fans may be having flashbacks to December of 2017 when the Bills defeated the Colts 13-7 in OT amid a heavy lake-effect snowstorm.
"Gotta be ready for anything because the weather here, it can be anything," Dawkins said. "It can be an inch in a second and then 20 minutes later, it can be a foot and a half."
This is exactly what LT Dion Dawkins and S Jordan Poyer remember from the Bills-Colts game five years ago. The two recalled going out for pregame with just flurries in sight, but that quickly changed when they returned to the field a second time and nearly two feet of snow were covering the field.
"The weather can change at any minute out here, it's crazy," Poyer said. "Obviously, coming off a win it was a lot more fun. It was cold. At one point in the game, you couldn't really see in front of your face it was snowing so hard."
The weather conditions certainly changed the way the game was played against the Colts from having to change cleats to studs because players were slipping to focusing on technique to avoid slipping, and wearing warmer gear so the cool temperature didn't catch up to them - all things that will be considered on Sunday if the snow is in full effect.
" 'Schnow' is a part of us," Dawkins said. "So, we're going to use that snow to our full advantage in all shapes and forms and do whatever we have to do to get a dub."
And now that Sunday is just four days away, the weather preparation talk has started throughout the locker room.
Some players haven't experienced a Buffalo winter before and further, haven't had to play through it yet. So players who have and the Bills' development team have begun preparing the players from Florida, down South, and even out West for what's to come.
"I'm just trying to make sure I'm letting everybody in the locker room know especially some of these rookies that have never driven in snow before kind of what to do," Allen said. "We got ice scrapers in front there for our guys to take home just to be safe and drive with caution."
Until Sunday comes, nobody will know what exactly to expect when kickoff rolls around — but Dawkins is promising an exciting atmosphere if the snow comes to town.
"If we get it again, I promise you it will be one of the funnest games you will see simply because we get to abandon a couple of things and just kind of have fun in a little way, but still take it drastically serious," Dawkins said.
Other injury updates
In addition to Allen, McDermott provided the following updates on the rest of the team for Wednesday's practice.
- LB Tremaine Edmunds, DNP (Groin/Heel)
- CB Kaiir Elam, Limited (Ankle)
- WR Jake Kumerow, DNP (Ankle)
- Poyer, Limited (Elbow)
- DE Greg Rousseau, DNP (Ankle)
FB Reggie Gilliam, CB Cam Lewis, LB Matt Milano, DT Jordan Phillips, and DT Tim Settle all did not practice on Wednesday due to illness. LB Von Miller and G Rodger Saffold (Vet Rest) also did not practice.
The team also announced that they have opened the 21-day practice window for WR Marquez Stevenson, who has been on IR with a foot injury.
With limited numbers, McDermott said they were going to adjust what practice looked like because they didn't have enough numbers to practice like a normal day.
"It's always next man up," Poyer said. "It felt good to get out there today and get with the guys again. I'm trending in the right direction; we'll see how it goes this weekend."
Check out the best practice photos as the Bills prepare for the Browns game this week.