The Bills concluded their first week of training camp with the first padded practice thus far.
Here are three things to know from Day 6:
1. Intensity ramps up
With players practicing in pads on Saturday, the physical intensity of the day was higher than the previous ones.
"I feel like it's been a long time coming," head coach Sean McDermott said. "It's good to be in pads. I know some guys like it, some guys hate it. It's always a little uncomfortable wearing those pads that we don't walk around in every day."
The uptick in energy was felt early on when wide receivers and tight ends went through blocking drills going up against defensive backs to create space on the outside for the Bills' running backs. It was the first time going through the drill full-speed in training camp and players on both sides were able to go head-to-head.
The battle in the trenches was also something to monitor throughout as the offensive line has had to adjust with a few players missing time, including Dion Dawkins (non-injury absence), Ryan Bates, Rodger Saffold and Spencer Brown. But their absence in the first week has created chances for other lineman to get a chance to go up against the top defensive line unit in practices.
"It's really a next man up and right now we have some time for guys to heal and guys to step in and show what they can do," center Mitch Morse said.
With the physicality of training camp continuing to increase, McDermott is taking an approach to make sure players are able to be aggressive while also not over-doing it and potentially hurting themselves, or a teammate.
"There's always an adjustment though, try and show examples of what happens in practice and how we have to adjust and in order to be able to practice and stay fresh," McDermott said. "We're going to work hard but we also want a fresh football team as well. So that's part of my job during the practice."
2. Cornerback/Wide receiver battles
The duels between the Bills' defensive backs and the wide receiver room have been popcorn-worthy so far in camp and that continued during Saturday's one-on-one drills. Rookie CB Kaiir Elam and WR Stefon Diggs went toe-to-toe earlier in the week but on Saturday, Elam matched up on Gabe Davis on multiple plays.
On one in particular, quarterback Josh Allen lofted a ball down the sidelines for Davis with Elam stride for stride with him and using his hands to slow down Davis. The ball ended up just out of the reach of Davis in the end zone and the third-year wideout exchanged words with Elam, pointing out that the rookie unnecessarily had his hands draped around Davis' jersey. Davis later made a couple impressive catches during the 11-on-11 period.
CB Nick McCloud and LB Tyrel Dodson were able to come away with interceptions during 11-on-11, continuing a trend of takeaways this week for the defense.
Diggs was Allen's favorite target on Day 6 as the Pro Bowl WR was the recipient of his quarterbacks' first two passes during 11-on-11 then hauled in a handful more later in the period. Diggs was primarily matched up with CB Dane Jackson.
The wide receiver shook his counterpart on a comeback route, resulting in a solid pickup then beat Jackson on a slant. However, Jackson still held his own and slowed Diggs down just enough on one pass deep down the sideline to avoid a completion.
WR Isaiah McKenzie had one of the best catches of the day on a deep throw from Allen that found an open McKenzie in the back of the end zone.
3. Brotherhood in running back room
The Bills have liked what they've seen from their running back core consisting of returning veterans Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, along with the fresh face of rookie James Cook, the brother of Vikings star RB Dalvin Cook.
While all three are competing for snaps, the competition has been healthy so far. Singletary attributes that to all three growing up near the same area.
"It's looking good. We're all South Florida guys, so it's all love. This was already like a brotherhood," he said.
Singletary led the team in rushing a year ago but his mentality this year isn't to worry about touches but to make sure all of the RBs are complementing each other within the offense to create a cohesive group.
"We are definitely different in our own way. But I feel like what we do differently, we can learn from each other as well. We also make each other better at the same time," he shared.
The Bills have the day off Sunday and are back at practice Monday, August 1st.