1. Keenum is all in on the Bills' offense
With training camp coming to an end later this week, veteran quarterback Case Keenum has used his time to get adapted to the Bills' offense. Keenum was traded to the Bills in March and has been banking on practice reps and watching starting quarterback Josh Allen to get on the same page as everyone in the locker room.
"Making reps, and then watching what Josh is doing, what he's telling guys, how he's doing it, those are all very important things and things we need at training camp to get everybody on the same page – to see defenses, to see routes, see how guys are in and out of breaks, see all those things the same way," Keenum said.
Part of adjusting to the new style of offense has been working with offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, which Keenum shared has been an easy transition. The two see the game in a lot of the same ways which has made for a smoother adjustment for the quarterback.
"We have some differences in background, and kind of different schemes and how we've done things before, but I've told him: 'I'm fully converted,'" Keenum said. "I love what they've got going on. It's really cool, and I'm definitely all in, and I love it. It's a great offense, great operations, just the way things are going, and I love it. I'm all in."
There's a different feel for Keenum in Buffalo and part of that is credited to the special offense.
"They're doing stuff here that nobody else is doing and that's pretty cool to be a part of," Keenum said. "17 (Allen) is a big reason for that, so I'm enjoying being a part of it and I'm trying to add as much as I can."
This training camp marks Keenum's 11th camp, and he's treated his job the same since his first camp - being ready to play to help his team win games. As someone who's been in almost every situation when it comes to his spot on the roster, he came into Bills camp understanding his role this year.
"I'm trying to get myself to where I'll be able to drive this really cool sports car that Josh is driving right now, and if something happens, maybe his shoelace comes untied, or something," Keenum said. "It's like a sports car; I'm trying to get to where I can drive it a little bit, and then hand the keys back over if need be."
For head coach Sean McDermott, Keenum brings a veteran presence to the locker room and to the offense.
"I applaud Case for his adaptability, his leadership, he's very resilient, and I think as the camp has gone on, he's really started to get his legs underneath of him in our offense," McDermott said.
2. Bates happy to remain with the Bills
This past offseason, offensive lineman Ryan Bates was a restricted free agent and with the situation being out of his control, he tried to remain even keeled through the process. During his media availability Monday, Bates made it known publicly that he's glad he's back with the team after the Bills matched an offer made by the Chicago Bears to keep him on the team.
"At the end of the day, I'm very happy to still be in Buffalo with the guys," Bates said. "These are my guys; I didn't want anyone to leave. In the situation, there was an opportunity to leave, and I didn't really want that. I wanted to stay here with the guys and I'm very happy."
Having the ability to play all five offensive line positions stood out to the Bills coaching staff, which also allows Bates to feel comfortable with the offense. For the lineman, the offense this season feels similar to ones the team has had in the past, so he has a strong recollection of the different roles everyone plays.
"When you understand the center position, everything else kind of falls into place because if you know center you know guard, you know guard you know tackle, you know tackle you know tight end," Bates said. "It's nice having the ability to this year, being focused on one spot and that's at right guard for me right now."
During training camp, Bates has been playing at right guard and he feels comfortable doing so. Bates feels that the close-knit group along the offensive line will be beneficial for ramping up for the season.
"I think we're ready to roll honestly," Bates said. "I think we feel great as a unit. We have a lot of depth, and we have the mindset where if someone's not ready to go, it's next person up mentality and we're going to roll forward."
3. Strong defense performance + other practice notes
The defense had a strong day, mostly shutting down the offense during several 11-on-11 periods.
Some standout plays included two pass breakups from cornerback Christian Benford as well as what looked like two sacks from defensive lineman Brandin Bryant on quarterback Case Keenum.
Benford broke up a pass from Josh Allen that was intended for wide receiver Jamison Crowder, as well as another pass from Allen that was heading for wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins. Benford's quickness to read and follow the route of both Crowder and Hodgins allowed him to get in the position to break the play up.
To make up for these plays, the offense, including Hodgins, was able to convert two touchdowns during 11-on-11's. The first touchdown of the day came in the red zone on a pass from Keenum to Hodgins, who made a one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone.
From McDermott's perspective, he feels that Hodgins is playing his best football and is impressed with the way he's played throughout camp. Keenum shares a similar appreciation for the receiver who he's connected with on numerous plays since camp started.
"I have the utmost faith in him looking out and seeing, as a quarterback I always say you look out at your receivers and you get this little tingly feeling with guys you want to throw the ball to," Keenum said. "He's one of those guys."
In one of the last plays of practice during a two-minute drill, Allen found Davis, who was tightly covered by Benford, for the second notable touchdown of the day.
Wide receivers Isaiah McKenzie and Khalil Shakir, and cornerback Taron Johnson did not practice for a second consecutive day due to continued soreness. Cornerback Tim Harris, linebacker Tyrel Dodson, and wide receiver Tavon Austin did not partake in practice today either.
Offensive lineman Spencer Brown continued to make progress today as he took part in reps during the team period.