Bills rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has been nothing short of impressive through the first few days of training camp. While the responsibilities being placed on Edmunds in Buffalo's defense are extensive, head coach Sean McDermott and the defensive staff has not felt a need to reduce the amount of what they've put on his plate to this point.
"I don't see any real limitations honestly. I see youth and lack of experience, but that's to be expected with a rookie in there," McDermott said of Edmunds. "The more reps he can get, the more the older guys can share what they know with him. And they can just talk situational football. The college game is different. The offensive schemes are different than what we face in the NFL. There will be an adjustment, but he's a pretty quick learner, so he'll make that adjustment as we move forward."
McDermott admits there are times where certain things will surface and he's reminded that Edmunds is in fact a rookie, but on the whole, he feels his middle linebacker is ahead of the game in terms of the intangibles that he brings.
"Overall, I feel like he's ahead of the game with where he is maturity-wise, his demeanor off the field, his demeanor on the field," he said. "But his parents and the way he was raised has him advanced in a lot of areas."
Phillips cross training at both DT spots
At the outset of training camp, rookie DT Harrison Phillips was given the task of focusing on the one-technique position on the defensive line, which had him lined up to be Star Lotulelei's backup. Lining up over the shoulder of the opposing center was to be his primary duty. But Phillips approach to the game has given him the opportunity to expand his role early in camp.
"What stands out right away is what a student of the game he is and how seriously he takes his job and you guys see that," said McDermott of Phillips. "He's smart. He's powerful. There are times when the older guys are getting him and there are times where he's getting some of the older guys, which is good at this point in his career."
McDermott confirmed Tuesday that after just four practices, Phillips is now being cross trained at both the one technique and three technique positions. Essentially, he's now competing to be the backup to both Lotulelei and Kyle Williams.
It is a change from what his responsibilities were in the scheme he played in college at Stanford, but McDermott doesn't see it being much of a hurdle for the dedicated Phillips.
"For us we're more of an attacking style defense," McDermott said. "I don't know Stanford's system intimately, but from what I've seen it looks more like a read and attack, as opposed to attack and react. So, we're asking him to penetrate a little more and get up the field.
"We'd like for our tackles to be interchangeable. One technique to three technique and three technique to one. We're training him to know both at this point."
Phillips role as a two-gap nose in Stanford's scheme convinced the Bills he could be a fit in a similar role to that of Lotulelei, but his penetrating ability in one-on-ones through the first few days of practice has likely convinced the defensive staff that he can be a quality contributor at the three technique too.
Zay Jones still sidelined, Murphy gets rest day
There is no change on the timetable for a Zay Jones return to practice from the Active Non-Football Injury list.
"That won't change from the way we started training camp," McDermott said. "You saw him running out there. We're continuing to move in the right direction at this point."
McDermott said when Jones does return he will be phased in steadily and will likely be limited at first.
Meanwhile, DE Trent Murphy is getting a veteran rest day. It will afford the veteran two days off in total knowing the team was idle on Monday.
TE Nick O'Leary, who missed Sunday's practice, returns today in a limited capacity. Fellow TE Logan Thomas is practicing, but on a non-contact basis. He's wearing a red jersey during practice today.
Photos from Day 4 of 2018 Bills Training Camp, presented by Connors and Ferris.