The Bills are now less than a week away from their first preseason game. Here's what to know from Sunday's practice.
1. OC Ken Dorsey sees progression + experience from calling plays in the booth
Entering the final week of training camp, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey is encouraged by communication in the huddle as he prepares for his first year as the team's OC and play caller.
What's contributed to that progression is the sense of urgency the team has whether it's coming in or out of a huddle or swapping out receivers. The offense was able to simulate that sense of urgency during the team's Return of Blue & Red practice on Friday.
"It was a good test for us here the other night to get a little bit of that type of action," Dorsey said. "These preseason games will be good for that communication and just to continue to grow and get a feel for each other and that smoothness of being able to do those things."
Dorsey used Friday's Blue & Red practice to call plays from the booth as opposed to on the field where he's spent most of his coaching career up to this point. While he felt the experience in the booth went well, he's not 100% sure where he will call plays from during the regular season and will use the preseason games to sort out which route he will take.
"We're still playing with it a little bit," Dorsey said. "But fortunately, we're not in a rush because I want to make sure it's wherever I'm most comfortable and wherever the team and the guys are comfortable with us."
Dorsey spent part of his media availability Sunday talking about the intricacies of calling plays from the booth vs. on the field.
"If you're up in the box you have to trust your coaches down on the field to convey the feel of the sideline and that communication there," Dorsey shared. "If you're down on the field, you've got to really trust the box guys to be your eyes and be the vision of some of the things that might be in your blind spot down the field."
Regardless of where he's located for games, Dorsey's main goal is to be involved with all position groups and get a feel for how they're being coached on an individual basis. He believes it's key to invest time in each position group to establish trust with one another.
"You try to balance it and try to be as much of a part of each individual room as I can," Dorsey said. "Those guys, seeing that I'm around, I think it's important."
2. Rousseau ready for second-year jump
Heading into his rookie year last season, defensive end Greg Rousseau felt that he was prepared to handle life in the NFL, while also understanding there's always room to grow.
Now looking ahead to his second year with the Bills, Rousseau has continued to make improvements to his game as he aims to make impact plays for one of the best defenses in the league.
"It's all about experience, and growing as a person and as a player," Rousseau said. "Every game, every practice, and play, everything under your belt adds experience. You're getting better as a player, getting better as a person, seeing more, and learning more."
From last year to this year, Rousseau feels that the biggest difference on the field right now is how the game has slowed down in numerous ways. Despite these differences, the defensive lineman is still striving to keep his game at the top, knowing players and teams are going to adjust to you.
"Not just the passing and the run game, but also just like the calls that we run as a defense," Rousseau said. "I've been getting a better grasp of everything. Just a better understanding of how things work in the league, and I've been out there before so I know how it goes."
Reflecting on his rookie season, Rousseau shared that he learned new lessons every day that he took with him into the offseason. A lot of time this summer was dedicated to working on pass rushing techniques.
"Obviously playing defensive end, you got to be able to stop the run, rushing the quarterback, but the real important thing is to be able to close out games late," Rousseau said. "You've got to be able to win your one-on-one rushes late in games."
One resource in particular that Rousseau is exciting about learning from is Von Miller, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
"I learn a lot from Von, on and off the field," Rousseau said. "Great resource, great dude. I asked him about a lot of things. Anything that I need advice on, I go to Von. And he's just like an open book."
3. Bills tone down intensity following Blue & Red
The team had a lighter practice today and did not practice in pads.
Cornerback Taron Johnson, wide receivers Isaiah McKenzie and Khalil Shakir, and center Mitch Morse did not participate in Sunday's practice. Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Morse had a vet day while the remaining were dealing with general soreness from Blue & Red.
"That was more of a game-like atmosphere out there and, we've been mostly on grass," Beane said. "Sometimes when you go to the turf it's a little bit different on your body. Some guys are sore, just making sure. Some guys could be a little bit but nothing crazy."
Guard Rodger Saffold was activated from the NFI list ahead of practice today. Saffold, who was out due to injured ribs, dressed for practice and did some work in certain periods for the first time since camp started. And in other good news, offensive lineman Spencer Brown has started to do more work throughout practice and participated in one-on-ones today.
As for practice itself, the defensive line had another day with a few sacks during team drills and cornerback Travon Fuller intercepted a pass from quarterback Matt Barkley that was intended for tight end Quintin Morris.
When the team was practicing one-on-one reps, quarterback Josh Allen continued to do what he does best. Allen had a deep ball to wide receiver Jake Kumerow, who was covered by Fuller, for a touchdown.
Allen also hit wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a nice route against cornerback Kaiir Elam where Diggs was able to get separation from the crisp route he ran. And to wrap up the day, Allen found wide receiver Gabe Davis as he was heading to the sidelines for a toe-tapping catch.
The Bills have three more days of training camp at St. John Fisher before their first preseason game on Saturday vs. the Colts.
Scroll to see photos from the hottest day of training camp so far at St. John Fisher.