1. Defense shines in 11-on-11 drills
Much of the focus during day two was focused on third-down situations and the Bills' defense came ready, highlighting the practice session with four interceptions and several pass breakups.
Second-year CB Nick McCloud intercepted Matt Barkley twice and was able to pick up yards on the runback on the second one. S Jordan Poyer and CB Dane Jackson also had interceptions early in the day; Jackson's INT was aided by pressure from LB Greg Rousseau.
Other members of the Bills' secondary had pass deflections including CB Taron Johnson who knocked away what would have been a completion from QB Josh Allen to WR Isaiah McKenize. Rookie CB Ja'Marcus Ingram broke up a pass from Barkley.
It's a positive sign that some of the team's younger players, including first-round pick Kaiir Elam, have stepped up early on as the Bills are still without Pro Bowl CB Tre'Davious White who opened training camp on the PUP list (ACL). DC Leslie Frazier noted before practice Monday that it could be good for the young guys to get additional reps while White progresses from injury.
"Could be, but you'd love to have a healthy Tre'Davious for sure out there getting his reps. But short of that you're right, that means there'll be more opportunities for Kaiir and there'll be more opportunities for Dane as well," said Frazier.
The defensive front got pressure throughout the day, too. LB Von Miller was quick getting around the edge on a couple of plays and had to pull up on one pressure attempt to avoid contact with Allen in the pocket.
While Allen and the offense started slow, they ended the day strong during the two-minute drill as Allen made several strong throws downfield to WRs Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Davis especially stood out with a back shoulder catch for a big gain and Allen found Diggs down the sideline for another sizable pickup on the final play of the drive.
2. Diggs using leadership role to help Bills' young receiving core
Stefon Diggs has continued to be one of the best receivers in the NFL during his first two seasons in Buffalo, and while he isn't prioritizing setting personal goals in terms of yardage or touchdowns, he's emphasizing helping the rest of the WR core get better as a unit.
"That's part of being a leader in my eyes. How good are you making the guys around you?," said Diggs.
Though it's only been two days, Diggs has liked what he's seen from rookie WR Khalil Shakir who made several nice grabs in coverage on Monday. Shakir made the final catch of practice during a two-minute drill led by Barkley in which the WR made an over-the-shoulder snag while running along the sideline with a corner on him.
"He's a professional," Diggs said of Shakir. "He's been doing a good job so far."
Communication during camp is key, Diggs noted, especially as the offense as a whole adjusts to new OC Ken Dorsey calling the plays.
"Communication is everything, especially from an OC standpoint. Just trying to convey the message of what kind of offense you want to have. That's something everybody has been echoing: what kind of identity do you want to have? What type of team do you want to have?," said Diggs.
3. Knox likes versatility in TE group
TE Dawson Knox is already enjoying the presence of O.J. Howard who signed with the Bills in the offseason and he believes Howard will be an impact player on offense.
"He's a freak athlete first of all. He makes me feel small," Knox said of Howard who is listed at 6-foot-6, 251 pounds.
"Just having another weapon like that is going to make us that much harder to stop. I think he's just going to push me to be better, too."
Knox has already seen that the addition of Howard, along with the development of fellow TE Tommy Sweeney, will give the Bills the chance to throw different formation looks at the opponent.
"We've already started doing more '13' personnel (1 RB, 3 TE) stuff and '22' (2 RB, 2 TE) personnel with (FB) Reggie (Gilliam) on the field, too. We've seen more '13' personnel than we did a lot of last year, so it's going to be fun to just have that extra step of versatility."
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