Tuesday marked the first padded practice for the Bills this summer. The energy level was high as the Bills got another solid day of work in. The team has an off day on Wednesday and then will return to practice on Thursday.
Here are three things to know from day six of Bills Training Camp.
1. Pads add more energy to practice
With the pads coming on, it means that real football is getting even closer. When the players were walking out for practice, there was an increased level of energy and excitement and it translated onto the field.
The Bills defense was more physical in today's practice. The defensive backs played tighter coverage and pushed the wide receivers to use more power to create separation. In one-on-one drills, Siran Neal intercepted a ball that was intended for Marquez Stevenson. In the same drill, Dane Jackson broke up a pass that was intended for Gabriel Davis.
For a veteran player like Mario Addison, he's been through the training camp schedule over and over during his 10-year career. He's learned that when the pads come on, he needs to bring a different mentality to practice because he knows his teammates will do the same.
"I know these guys are gonna come hard, so I know I got to elevate my game no matter what," Addison said. "A young guy, or a veteran guy, they are gonna go hard when they put the pads on. So, a day like this, I know I got to wake up with the right mindset, and that's to play low and dominate the man in front of me on every play."
Sean McDermott said that training camp was about building the toughness of the football team, and you do that by winning at the line of scrimmage. With pads on, Tuesday's practice was the first real look that the coaching staff got at their offensive and defensive linemen. McDermott was excited and anxious to see how the team would perform on the first day with pads.
"This day never changes, right," McDermott said before Tuesday's practice. "First day in pads since the time you put on pads, however old you were. For me, it was seven or eight years old. Always wake up in a little bit of a different mood on the first day of pads. And it doesn't seem to change when you're coaching. It's always a certain mindset that you wake up with."
Scroll through to see the best photos from day 6 of Bills training camp, presented by Connors & Ferris.
2. Stefon Diggs had a productive day
Training camp this year is completely different for Stefon Diggs than it was just a year ago. He has a full season under his belt in Brian Daboll's offense and has built up more chemistry with Josh Allen. While the spotlight might not be on him just yet as the coaching staff is trying to evaluate the other wide receivers on the roster, Diggs continues to make plays when his number is called.
Diggs produced several catches throughout Tuesday's practice. During one-on-one drills, he ran a route with Dane Jackson in coverage, put his footwork on display and made a beautiful catch over the middle. During team drills, Allen connected with Diggs deep down the field, as Diggs was able to get a decent amount of separation from the cornerback.
Having Diggs in the lineup helps the team tremendously because of the talent he brings to the field. Diggs also helps by being a mentor to the younger wide receivers on the roster. Teammate Gabriel Davis trained with Diggs down in South Florida in the offseason to learn as much as he could from the All-Pro wide receiver.
"I was out there with him, running some routes, cleaning some things, just trying to work on my game a little bit," Davis said. "And Diggs is a big help. He has a different style of play than I do, so I'm always trying to pick his brain on what he likes to do and what he does. Just watching what he does and being able to add that to my arsenal."
3. Hyde makes the defensive play of the day
During the team drills, it didn't take long for Micah Hyde to make an impact. On the second play the team ran, Josh Allen threw the ball intended for Dawson Knox with Matt Milano playing tight coverage. Before Knox could get his hands on the ball, it bounced off Milano's helmet twice and then Micah Hyde made an athletic interception.
Even though it is early in camp, the Bills defensive backfield looks motivated and hungry to start playing someone in a different jersey. Putting the pads on for Tuesday's practice only fueled that even more. With Hyde being one of the leaders of this team, he knows how important it is to bring energy every day in camp to make himself and his teammates better.
"As soon as I get an opportunity to get out there and start training, I hit the ground running," Hyde said. "I know that when we get back here, the other guys are doing the same thing. So, you don't want to be that guy that's coming in and the conditioning test that's barely getting by. That's kind of the culture we've built here over the last couple of years. Everyone's taking a step forward to try to keep that standard."