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Top 3 things to know from Day 7 of Bills Training Camp

Kyron Brown (32), Dezmon Patmon (19). Buffalo Bills Training Camp at St. John Fisher University, August 3, 2023.
Kyron Brown (32), Dezmon Patmon (19). Buffalo Bills Training Camp at St. John Fisher University, August 3, 2023.

The Bills had their seventh practice of training camp on Thursday morning—still four practices to go at St. John Fisher. The defense picked off two passes, but Josh Allen had some incredible throws in the red zone.

Here are three things to know about Thursday's practice before the team heads back to Orchard Park for the Return of the Blue & Red practice on Friday.

1. The cornerbacks are turning it up a notch

Earlier in the week, defensive backs coach John Butler spoke to the media about the cornerback battle opposite of Tre'Davious White and shared the strengths of each guy (Dane Jackson, Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford) competing for the job. Jackson, Elam and Benford have all flashed in different ways throughout camp whether it be breaking up passes, grabbing interceptions or providing good coverage.

During Thursday's practice, Jackson and Elam made some memorable plays. Both came toward the end of practice during a team period. Josh Allen threw a pass intended for Gabe Davis but the pass skipped off Davis' arm as he was turning and bounced into Jackson's arms. Jackson showed athleticism by how he quickly reacted and got his hands on the ball for an interception.

A few plays later, Allen fired a ball intended for Trent Sherfield but Elam showed off his physicality by jumping the route and got in the way for an interception. Allen was asked of the play after practice and shared just how much Elam works at this craft.

"I'm his locker mate so every time I sit next to him, he's got his iPad out, and he's watching film," Allen said. "He's in the training room watching film. He's very, very serious about his craft and he's working extremely hard right now. It's good to see him kind of taking the step in his second year. I know he's so internally driven. He wants to be a great football player, so he's working extremely hard at that, and I'm proud of how he's approached things."

In terms of making a decision on who will start in the CB2 spot, similar to the MLB spot, McDermott doesn't have a specific timeframe in mind.

"It's really just about you'll know when you know and you'd like it to be sooner than later for all these decisions," McDermott shared. "But in fairness to the player and the process, just giving it time to play out. We're going to have a great opportunity to evaluate as coaches, Brandon (Beane) and his staff come Friday night to the stadium with the crowd, which will be putting guys in a position that they haven't been in some time or ever, especially for some of the new players. And it'll be a great opportunity for us to evaluate, but also for our team to grow because there's going to be some mistakes because it gets stressful in some moments."

McDermott says Friday's Return of the Blue & Red practice will mark a point in training camp where they start to ramp up their evaluation process.

Scroll to see the best photos from Day Seven of Buffalo Bills Training Camp

2. Josh Allen impressive in the red zone + other practice notes

The Bills spent a good chunk of Thursday's practice doing one-on-one drills and working in the red zone.

During 1 on 1s, Stefon Diggs and Tre'Davious White were matched up against each other on multiple reps – White recorded a pass breakup on one play and several plays later Diggs had a nice catch against the CB. Elam also had a PBU against Diggs as well.

The best play from 1 on 1s came early in the period when Josh Allen connected with Gabe Davis for a touchdown. Davis was matched up with Dane Jackson. Jackson had good coverage on the play, but Davis was able to reach his left hand out and make a crisp one-handed grab as he was heading toward the back of the end zone.

Allen kept it going when the team got into 11 on 11 in the red zone. On the first play of the period, Allen fired an incredible pass down the sideline to Dawson Knox who made the catch and ran it into the end zone.

A few plays later, Dane Jackson forced an incompletion against Diggs. Later on, Allen threw a pass to the end zone intended for Kahlil Shakir, but Jackson again forced the ball out.

The other best throw of the day came from Allen as he fired one on a rope to Davis for a touchdown. The two have linked up on several plays throughout camp and it looks as if the two will take another step together this season.

Andy Isabella, who was signed by the Bills less than a week ago, made his presence known on a few plays. One happened while the team was in the red zone when Matt Barkley connected with the new WR. Isabella was covered tightly by Cam Lewis but made a great play on the ball.

The defense picked up a couple batted and tipped passes throughout the practice. A.J. Epenesa batted down one of Allen's throws. Later on, Kyle Allen's pass was tipped by what looked like a defensive lineman, which allowed Travin Howard to force a pass break up.

Other notable plays – Kyle Allen and Dezmon Patmon connected on a nice touchdown during a team period in the red zone. Kyron Brown, who was signed by the Bills less than a week ago broke up a pass intended for Jace Sternberger in the red zone.

3. Greg Rousseau wants to be more versatile in Year 3

Defensive end Greg Rousseau wants to add more to his plate in his third NFL season. From Year 1 to Year 1, Rousseau doubled his sack count going from four to eight. In his third season, he's ready to take on a bigger role within the defense thanks to his knowledge of the playbook.

"I know the playbook really well, most of our group is back from last year, so it's just really about going out there and doing it," Rousseau said.

When it comes to being more versatile, Rousseau wants to prove he can be a difference maker on the inside.

"I feel like I matchup well on guards sometimes," Rousseau said. "That's what I like about it, and I feel like if you understand how rushing works inside, it can make you better rusher outside as well and vice versa."

Lining up on the inside isn't something new to Rousseau as he did so during his time at the University of Miami. The edge rusher says his technique has improved quite a bit since his rookie season and now it's about executing.

"I feel like for me it's just going out there and having that dominating mindset and trying to win every single rush no matter what," Rousseau said.

Even without Von Miller a part of the lineup, the defensive line has had multiple practices this camp where they've put the pressure on QBs and picked up several sacks.

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