The Bills are fresh off their first day off from training camp and were back for practice number five on Friday morning.
Here are three things to know from practice.
1. Micah Hyde dealing with hip/glute injury + practice observations
Bills safety Micah Hyde went down during practice after catching an interception that was eventually dropped. Hyde hit the ground and laid there for a bit before getting up. Trainers came onto the field to help him up, but Hyde walked off on his own power with a bit of a limp.
The safety eventually took a cart ride to the locker room for further evaluation. The official word is Hyde is dealing with a hip/glute injury that is still being evaluated.
The Bills were also without left tackle Dion Dawkins on Friday. Dawkins was excused from practice for personal reasons.
The defensive line had another great day of practice by pressuring the quarterbacks because the offensive line was without a few key pieces. With no Dawkins, Rodger Saffold, Ryan Bates or Spencer Brown in the mix, the defense and defensive line won the battle in the trenches on Friday by picking up a couple tackles for loss and sacks. On one play, defensive tackle Ed Oliver came flying in and accidentally knocked Josh Allen down. Knocking your starting quarterback down is a big no no, but thankfully Allen was fine.
The secondary also had an impressive day. Safety Jordan Poyer intercepted a pass from Josh Allen that was tipped. Second-year safety Damar Hamlin also picked off a pass from Case Keenum.
The offense repped two-minute drill to finish practice. Josh Allen threw a beautiful deep pass down the sideline to wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie who made a nice grab in double coverage to put them in a two-minute situation. The defense did a good job of holding their own, forcing the offense to run through multiple plays before finding the end zone. On one of the plays, cornerback Kaiir Elam was able to force an incompletion on wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
A couple plays later, Allen fired a ball to tight end Dawson Knox in the back of the end zone for what would have been a nice touchdown if Knox was able to get both feet in. The series ended with an Allen rushing touchdown on a short-yardage play.
2. Matt Haack vs. Matt Araiza
The punter competition at St. John Fisher is heating up between Matt Haack and rookie Matt Araiza. While the two are focused on what they can do with their feet, that's not the only thing that will win them the job. Whoever makes the 53-man roster will also have the job of holding for kicker Tyler Bass.
"It will factor into it," special teams coordinator Matthew Smiley said about holding. "You have to be a very, very good holder because you're scoring points off that and you have to give Tyler access to the best ball possible."
Araiza and Haack have been alternating days on who gets to hold for Bass. The kicker said the art of holding isn't easy because it needs to be nearly perfect.
"It's head-to-head," Bass shared. "They're both doing a great job. So, they're both right here."
Even though the two are competing for a starting job, Smiley has been impressed with Haack's willingness to help bring Araiza along.
"I've been so impressed with the way he's carried himself as a man through the course of this competition, the spring and camp," Smiley said of Haack. "He's been punting the ball well these first two times, but he is not shying away from interacting with Araiza. There's been a good camaraderie in that room for all four guys. There have been times when Araiza has asked Haack questions, and Haack has helped him out and talked to him about different details of trying to be a player in the NFL."
"If somebody asks me a question, I'll answer it to the best of my ability and help people if they need it," Haack shared. "Or even just watching, if he's picking up pointers watching. I think we can all learn from each other, honestly. Maybe I see something he does that I like, and I'll pick it up or something. So to me, as of right now, we're on the same team. So, I want to win today, and if we can help each other out, we'll help each other out."
3. Tyler Bass still finding ways to get better
Bills kicker Tyler Bass has accomplished a lot in his first two seasons as an NFL player. Since coming into the NFL, Bass is second among players with 276 points. The kicker had 135 points last season and became the first Bill with back-to-back 100-point seasons since Dan Carpenter (2013-2015).
In his third season, punter Matt Haack believes Bass is capable of taking his game to the next level.
"I think the sky's the limit for Tyler," Haack said. "He's so talented. He's got a huge leg. Kickoffs, field goals, kind of anything that they ask him to do, he's willing to do. He works hard, and it shows on the field, it shows on Sundays. I really do think the sky's limit, and he'll be one of the best to ever do it here."
In 2021, Bass made 28 of 32 field goal attempts and went 51 of 51 on extra points. Bass said he wants to carry his confidence from last year into the 2022 season.
"I've done good things and done some bad things, so I've learned," Bass shared. "I've learned how to navigate the offseason. So, this offseason, I started timing out better. I feel like honestly, those seasons, you just take what you did well, and let that confidence carry over. And I think the more experience, the better for me."
Bass believes he did a better job of not overtraining and overkicking this offseason, which keeps him fresher for the season.