1. Gaines, Waddle miss Monday’s practice
The Bills lost a couple of players to injury during Sunday’s practice and those injuries will keep EJ Gaines and LaAdrian Waddle sidelined on Monday.
Head coach Sean McDermott provided an update.
“L.A. Waddle has a quad and EJ Gaines has a groin-hip area injury,” he said.
Waddle is the fourth offensive lineman to be sidelined by injury joining Jon Feliciano, Mitch Morse and Spencer Long. With the first preseason game coming up on Thursday, McDermott gave his thoughts on the shortage of linemen due to injury.
“It’s always a concern when guys are out and missing time,” he said. “But we’ve got to continue to move forward and find a way to manage the reps. That’s the most important thing going into the game, how we allocate reps through the players there with the twos and threes.”
2. The thinking behind Cody Ford move to guard
It was widely anticipated that Cody Ford’s move to starting right guard was rooted in the injuries that sidelined guards Jon Feliciano and Spencer Long. Coach McDermott elaborated on the move Monday morning saying it was both due to injury and due to an interest in getting him some reps inside.
“I really appreciate his attitude and mindset with it,” said McDermott. “It really personifies who we’re becoming as a team and the way he was unselfish with it and his approach to it. I love that he put the team first. We’re just looking at things this time of year and just trying to put the best five on the field.”
Though the players have maintained that all the lineup changes up front have not impacted their communication or execution, it has likely impacted the ability of the coaches to evaluate some player combinations they’ve wanted to see in camp.
But much like the players, the coaching staff is not going to dwell on what they can’t evaluate.
“All we can do is evaluate the combinations that are out there. We can’t evaluate the combinations that aren’t out there because those are hypotheticals and that’s not healthy,” said McDermott. “Those guys who are out there are battling their butts off. I love the mental and physical toughness of the guys that are out there.”
3. Josh Allen unfazed by changes
Whether it’s changes on the offensive line or tight end, Josh Allen has plowed through all the injury disruptions to the roster in the practice setting and has not let it affect his play.
“One of the things about Josh is he’s unfazed by some of that. I’m sure he’s aware of it, but he’s a mentally tough guy who competes,” said McDermott. “He’s focused on himself growing each and every day and that’s what he needs to be doing right now. He’ll continue to grow and evolve as will his leadership influence and that’s good for us.”
The offensive performance in practice the last few days has been a bit uneven, but McDermott and his offensive staff sees improvement in certain areas of their play and believes they will hit a more consistent tone to their play sooner rather than later.
“Just from a timing standpoint it’s something you’re still looking to accomplish at this stage in camp,” McDermott said. “We have to continue to move forward and build. That’s what training camp is for to build and develop and finding the strengths of the players and putting them in position to make plays and building a system around those strengths. Even though on the surface the result was what it was at practice Sunday, I thought there were small victories throughout practice on the offensive side. I saw mental toughness. So we all just have to do our job even more and better.”