Storylines to watch for each position group heading into training camp

The defensive backs posing for the camera following mandatory minicamp. Levi Wallace (47), EJ Gaines (26) and Kevin Johnson (36) plus others will battle for the No. 2 cornerback spot in Rochester this summer.
The defensive backs posing for the camera following mandatory minicamp. Levi Wallace (47), EJ Gaines (26) and Kevin Johnson (36) plus others will battle for the No. 2 cornerback spot in Rochester this summer.

The Bills are about a month away from the start of training camp at St. John Fisher college in Rochester. Here are the top storylines to follow heading into training camp

1. Quarterback – What will Josh Allen look like entering camp as the No. 1 quarterback?

Josh Allen will enter training camp this season as the team’s unquestioned No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart. This spring, Allen impressed his teammates by moving the ball through the air –  without some of his more notable targets available for OTAs and minicamp. In his second season, Allen’s running ability is being used to complement his arm as the second-year quarterback has spent less time scrambling and more time looking for his receivers.

2. Running back – How will the carries get split up?

LeSean McCoy will have more competition for carries this season with the offseason additions of Frank Gore and rookie Devin Singletary. The three have rotated snaps with the first team. Expect the competition for snaps to heat up during training camp.

3. Tight end – Who will get first-team reps?

Tyler Kroft’s foot injury and Jason Croom missing the majority of OTAs and minicamp opened up space for rookie tight ends Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney to earn the majority of reps. The starting tight-end role was Knox’s during minicamp with Lee Smith performing primarily as a blocker and Sweeney fitting in at both roles.

4. Wide receiver – What will the new additions bring to the offense?

John Brown and Cole Beasley were the two highest-impact signings the Bills made this offseason with the full intention of surrounding Allen with more weapons. Brown has quickly become a frequent target of Allen and has the endorsement of future hall of fame quarterback Carson Palmer to be a No. 1 wide receiver. Beasley was limited throughout the offseason but was brought in as a guy to be “a quarterback’s best friend,” according to general manager Brandon Beane.

5. Offensive line – Still shaking out the new additions

As of now it seems only Mitch Morse (center) and Dion Dawkins (left tackle) have their spots secured on the offensive line. Due to injury, the offensive line has been shuffled frequently this spring. Quinton Spain, Spencer Long, and rookie Cody Ford have earned their share of reps at left and right guard and right tackle.

6. Defensive line – Where does Ed Oliver fit?

Oliver fell into the Buffalo’s lap with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft and now the rookie defensive tackle will have to earn his reps with the team. Unlike some past defensive rookies like Tremaine Edmunds and Tre’Davious White, Oliver is not getting the three-technique defensive tackle starting spot immediately. He’ll have to compete with Jordan Phillips for snaps, and Phillips has stated multiple times how determined he is to show he’s one of the best in the league.

7. Linebackers – Handing the keys over to Tremaine Edmunds

Tremaine Edmunds assumed the defensive play-calling responsibilities from his first practice with the Bills. During the regular season, he had the opportunity to run his own player-only defensive meetings – assuming the role from Kyle Williams late last year.  Now Edmunds has full reign of the defense in his second NFL season. Edmunds is still learning middle linebacker position but is poised to take control after a strong finish to 2018.

8. Secondary – Who’s opposite Tre’Davious White?

OTAs and minicamp did little to answer the question of who’s starting at the No. 2 cornerback between Levi Wallace, Kevin Johnson and EJ Gaines. Wallace is still holding his role but Johnson has earned heavy consideration after his play in the offseason. Johnson was named the surprising breakout player by ESPN and looked every part of the first-round pick he was drafted with by Houston.

9. Special teams – Corey vs. Cory

The Bills likely aren’t going to carry two punters on their final roster leaving Corey Bojorquez and Cory Carter in a battle to be the team’s punter. Bojorquez finished his rookie season with 45 punts for 2,028 net yards for a 45.07 average after it was cut short by injury. Carter has dealt with injuries the first two seasons of his career and has never appeared in an NFL game. Expect for this battle to be determined during the Bills’ training camp/four preseason games.

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