Bills Mafia brought the noise to the fourth training camp practice at St. John Fisher University as campus was without power, and therefore music during practice for a few hours. The team spent a good amount of time working in 11 on 11, which was highlighted by a nice day from the defensive line and multiple exciting touchdowns.
Here are three things to know from Sunday's practice.
1. Dalton Kincaid's take on his first few days of training camp
After four days of training camp practices, it's hard to ignore rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid. The first-round pick has made his presence known on the field and in the offense.
"It's fun out there running around playing football and then just the offense making a lot more sense," Kincaid said after Sunday's practice. "And then it's valuable getting those reps with Josh (Allen) and just kind of getting on the same page with him."
Kincaid and Allen have connected on more than a few passes through four practices. During team drills on Sunday, Allen threw a pass through a few defenders and found Kincaid for a nice gain. More often than not, the two have made their connection look easy.
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league," Kincaid said of Allen. "So, it makes my job a lot easier. I just got to catch the ball and be in the right spot for him. But he's very creative and crafty in the things he does, and it just kind of makes someone else's job a little easier."
The rookie knows he still has plenty to learn but is feeling like he has a good handle on the offense through the first week of camp.
"I think just a lot of study," Kincaid shared. "Coach (Rob) Boras does a great job of teaching. So that's been very, very helpful too. He's passionate about teaching, and he does a really good job of finding creative ways for us to learn it. And then having vets in the room like Dawson (Knox), Q (Quintin Morris) and Reggie (Gilliam) is super helpful as well."
Kincaid has elite hands and scored 35 touchdowns in college but when it comes to receiving playing time in Year 1, head coach Sean McDermott says it's all about earning the spot.
"You got to earn it, just like everybody else," McDermott said. "But when you're a rookie that just takes a little bit more time to earn that, and it's not intentionally that we do that. It's just the major thing is trust. You're giving someone the keys to the kingdom so to speak, and the players around them more than anything have to trust that they're going to execute."
Kincaid is working to earn his teammates trust every time he steps onto the field. McDermott said when the pads go on on Monday, they'll get a better feel for another aspect of Kincaid's game.
"The other piece is the blocking piece that'll be on display when we put the pads on tomorrow here," McDermott said. "We haven't seen it yet. So, we're not able to do that until tomorrow. So, I think we get a better feel tomorrow as to what that looks like."
As for Kincaid's first day of full pads in the NFL, he's getting ready for a big moment.
"I'm expecting a welcome the NFL moment," Kincaid said with a chuckle. "I don't know when it will be, could be in practice could be in a game, but it'll come."
2. Timeline of the MLB battle
The competition is heating up between the middle linebackers and will only continue to intensify once the pads come on. Through four practices, Tyrel Dodson, Terrel Bernard and Baylon Spector have been splitting time at the position by each getting a full day of practice with the first unit to focus on the MLB spot.
"We start with a plan and then from there, we want to be able to stay consistent, and I think that's important as much as we can for as long as we can to stay consistent," McDermott explained. "After that it's earned, and if you take advantage of the opportunities you're given, you'll get more. If you don't, maybe not on the first chance but after that, we're gonna have to make some adjustments to playing time and opportunities."
So far, each player has made notable plays when given the opportunity. On the first day of practice, Dodson got in the way of a pass intended for Dawson Knox and was able to rip the ball out to force an incompletion. During Bernard's day, Bernard grabbed an INT due to having great placement on a pass that bounced off Khalil Shakir. The next day, Spector disrupted a pass intended for Kincaid by jumping in the air to tip the pass.
Aside from the type of skillset and physicality they bring to the table, McDermott is also looking for a leader as the middle linebacker is considered the captain of the defense.
"The leadership piece is evaluated as well because it's a position that comes with a great amount of leadership in the job description," McDermott shared. "So, voice inflection, command, leading by example, being able to tell somebody the truth when they're not doing what we need them to do. It's really a coach on the field in a lot of ways."
While the competition is just getting started, the coaching staff knows an answer needs to be made with enough time to prepare for Week 1.
"I'd like to get it settled at some point," McDermott said. "I've got a rough estimate on my mind, but we're not there. We're not even close, still today working without pads. But I'm really just trying to evaluate from that right now who has the best command and who can lead our defense."
3. Poona Ford's pick-six + practice notes from Day 4
The defense got after it during Sunday's practice with five pass breakups from what we saw and two interceptions.
The play of the day happened in the middle of practice during team drills when Matt Barkley threw a screen, but defensive tackle Poona Ford quickly moved into the right lane and got his hands up for an interception. With not too many in sight, Ford ran it 72 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
That wasn't the only play the defensive line made. A few plays before, Tim Settle batted down Kyle Allen's pass at the line of scrimmage. The DL also provided good pressure on several plays causing the quarterbacks to make quick decisions or be flushed out of the pocket.
The other impressive defensive highlight came in the red zone when Josh Allen fired a pass intended for Stefon Diggs, but Jordan Poyer jumped right in front to intercept the pass near the goal line. That was Poyer's second interception of camp.
One of the best plays on offense came when Allen targeted James Cook deep for a touchdown. It was a back shoulder throw that Cook caught just steps before he found the end zone. Micah Hyde was in coverage and wrestled with Cook to try to knock the ball out but was unsuccessful. Cook has shown off his route-running ability early on in camp.
Practice ended with the team going through a two-minute drill starting on their on 39-yard-line with 46 seconds left. Josh Allen found Diggs for about a 16-yard gain on the first play of the drive. Allen was then pressured by Ed Oliver for no gain. The next two plays, Allen targeted Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty for completions. The drive ended with a 25-yard touchdown to Gabe Davis with four seconds left.
That wasn't Davis' only notable play of the day. He also out-jumped White for a touchdown during an 11 on 11 period.
Other notable plays -- Josh Allen found Diggs for a nice back shoulder grab against Tre'Davious White who provided little room for Diggs to secure the pass during one-on-one drills. Also during one-on-ones, Kyle Allen threw a pass intended for KeeSean Johnson but Alex Austin got in front of it for an interception.
During team drills, Allen fit one into a tight window to link up with Dalton Kincaid for a nice gain. Kyle Allen targeted Quintin Morris for a good touchdown grab. Josh Allen and Deonte Harty also connected in the end zone.
Scroll to see the best photos from Day Four of Buffalo Bills Training Camp