Skip to main content

Top 3 things to know from Day 2 at 2021 Bills training camp

Isaiah McKenzie (19). Buffalo Bills Training Camp. July 28, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert
Isaiah McKenzie (19). Buffalo Bills Training Camp. July 28, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert

The Buffalo Bills moved their second training camp practice indoors due to rain, but the change of scenery didn't put a damper on the group's energy. The offense and defense each had impressive moments during practice number two — Josh Allen's connection with the wide receivers was on fire, defensive end Boogie Basham had the play of the day and cornerback Siran Neal had the lockdown play of the backfield.

Here are three things to know from Thursday's practice.

1. Offense stays hot

We've heard multiple Bills coaches and players note that every season is different and there's an element of starting over each year. While there may be a few new faces on this year's offense, the passing offense and Josh Allen looked just as formidable as they were last season.

Allen and the wide receivers appear comfortable with each other and put together a slew of head-turning plays. In the second practice, all eyes were on Josh Allen, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie.

Sanders spoke to the media after practice and during his first answer he couldn't help but point out a crisp post play that Allen threw to Beasley.

"I think that we have a great team here," Sanders said. "The past two practices have just been amazing. Seeing the offense and the defense, playing with Stef (Diggs) and Beas (Beasley) and Josh (Allen). I mean Josh made a throw today that I haven't seen. A post ball to Cole Beasley, it was crazy, mouth dropping. I've been in the league for 12 years so I'm excited about what they've created out here."

That Beasley grab was sandwiched between two other top-notch plays of the day. The play before, Allen tossed a quick pass to the sideline to link up with a tightly covered Sanders. Even though Sanders is new to the team, he has already displayed a nice connection with Allen. The third play was a nice pass from Mitchell Trubisky to McKenzie who jumped in the air near the sideline to grab the ball as cornerback Dane Jackson tried to knock it down.

"They look good, looks like they haven't missed a beat," safety Jordan Poyer shared. "Josh is out there commanding the offense. I mean obviously you got Diggs, Emmanuel, Cole Beasley out there, Gabe (Davis). Those guys are really taking over. It's fun to watch and it's fun to compete against. It's only going to make us better."

The competition in the wide receiver room is also going to make each player better. It's obvious it will be tough to make the 53-man roster as a receiver because of all the great talent on the team right now. McKenzie, who had more than a few clean catches today, has always found a way to carve out a role for himself each season he has been with the Bills due to his diverse skillset.

"He's able to go out there and read coverages and run his choice routes, run his option routes," Poyer said as he pointed out McKenzie's quickness. "He's a fun player to watch. He's out there talking a lot of mess and it's always fun to compete against him."

I don't think any of us thought the Bills offense would look like they regressed from last season, but there's something assuring about the offense looking like they haven't missed a beat on day two of training camp practices.

2. Boogie Basham's play of the day

When the Bills drafted two defensive ends in the first two rounds this year, many people wondered, 'When can these two make an impact?' Bills general manager Brandon Beane answered the question multiple times during press conferences by saying he believes they can make an impact in some capacity this season.

Well, today was Boogie Basham's day to show out during practice. The rookie had the play of day. The best part was he didn't look like a rookie when it happened. Basham showed his athleticism as he batted down a pass, caught the ball and returned it for a touchdown. The defensive end looked like a volleyball player as basically set the tipped pass to himself before grabbing it and heading into the end zone.

"His athleticism, his ability to come off the ball, his work habits," Jordan Poyer said of Basham. "Guys that Brandon (Beane), Sean (McDermott) and Terry (Pegula) bring in here, those are the type of guys that they bring in here. You kind of expect nothing less from guys like that. Just to see him come in here and see all of them really come in here and embrace their roles."

The tipped pass Basham returned for a touchdown sent a spark through the defense and set off a couple different noteworthy plays from the group. Safety Micah Hyde said the veterans have noticed Basham's skillset.

"When I was a rookie, I remember some veterans were telling me, 'I'm not going to learn your name until you're out there making plays,'" Hyde said. "I know Boogie's name now. And I knew it before because obviously, I was just talking about the draft and how Beane was helping us out in the back end. But making a play like that, making a splash play like that, the play of the day, and he'll continue to make plays, it's going to force the vets to know his name. And we'll really appreciate that."

3. Siran Neal looked sharp on day two

Two plays after Basham's pick-six, cornerback Siran Neal grabbed an interception. Neal also had another impressive pass break up when he dove to the ground and almost pulled off another interception earlier in practice. The fourth-year corner was a fifth-round pick by the Bills in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Jordan Poyer thinks Neal could be one of the best all-around athlete's on the roster.

"Siran has grown so much since he came here in his rookie year," Poyer shared. "He's learned so much about the game of football and these coaches have learned to put trust in him to be able to go out there and do his job. To see him have the success that he's going to continue to have, I always tell him, 'Siran, you may be the most gifted athlete that I've ever seen.' Just his ability to run, jump, hit and obviously you saw today him make plays on the football.

"I'm excited to continue to see Siran grow and find his way within our team this year."

Neal has played in 47 games over the last three seasons, which has consisted of a role primarily on special teams. Having two lockdown plays in the second practice is one way Neal can work his way into having a bigger role on defense.

Related Content