1. McDermott and Bills support defensive lineman and his family
DT Kyle Peko was the only player not in attendance as training camp opened on Thursday. He had an excused absence. Peko has since reported to camp and revealed to his teammates why he was not on time for camp. His wife Giuliana was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Head coach Sean McDermott opened his Friday press conference expressing his appreciation for Peko reporting to camp and the team’s support for the Peko family.
“I just wanted to say how appreciative I am of Kyle Peko coming to camp,” McDermott said. “We are all human and we all go through challenges, but the challenge that Kyle and his family are facing is certainly a significant one. We want to let his family know that we are with them all the way and continue to pray for them and support them in every way we can.”
Peko spent the 2018 season on the Bills practice squad.
2. Bills receivers dubbed ‘The Smurfs’
Most fans of the Bills know that their receiving corps is not long on size in terms of height. Cole Beasley is 5-8, Isaiah McKenzie and Victor Bolden are both 5-8, Ray-Ray McCloud is 5-9 and John Brown and Andre Roberts are 5-11. Fortunately for all of them their quickness in tight areas enables them to gain separation from defensive backs so they can make plays.
Head coach Sean McDermott said it’s a good thing that quality is part of their skill set.
“With all of our wide receivers they’re kind of like Smurfs. If you watched the Smurfs they live in a small village, so they can separate in small spaces,” said McDermott with a smirk.
McDermott then gestured with his hand during his morning press conference to indicate how vertically challenged members of his receiving corps saying his receivers are all “down here” in terms of height.
The term ‘Smurfs’ for receivers was first used back in the early 80’s when the cartoon of the same name was popular. The Washington Redskins first popularized the term for shorter receivers using it as a nickname for two receivers on their roster, Alvin Garrett and Virgil Seay. Neither was taller than 5-8, so a good number of Buffalo’s receivers would qualify for that moniker.
A few of his receivers may take issue with the Smurf designation. Cam Phillips is 6-0, Zay Jones and Robert Foster are both 6-2 and David Sills and Duke Williams is 6-3.
As for the shorter receivers, McDermott doesn’t mind their height so long as they can make plays, and John Brown was one of the most effective in doing so on day one of camp.
“He’s got some niftiness to his route craft in those short areas, so that’s what makes him a dual threat,” said McDermott of Brown.
3. Position flexibility for Cody Ford?
Bills second-round pick Cody Ford began camp at right tackle with the first unit. It’s the only place he has lined up since he put on a Bills helmet in the spring. As a prospect, Ford was seen by many NFL clubs as a tackle-guard combo player.
The question is do the Bills see the same kind of position flexibility in him, or to them is he just a guard?
“There is thought to his position flexibility,” said McDermott. “With young players you just have to watch how much you put on them early, just so they can get comfortable at one position and then we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Ford did play both guard and tackle in his time at Oklahoma. For now though it’s clear that right tackle is where he’ll be playing for the foreseeable future.