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Top 3 things to know from the 2021 Return of the Blue & Red practice

Micah Hyde (23) interception against Stefon Diggs (14). Buffalo Bills Training Camp Return of the Blue and Red at Highmark Stadium. August 7, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert
Micah Hyde (23) interception against Stefon Diggs (14). Buffalo Bills Training Camp Return of the Blue and Red at Highmark Stadium. August 7, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert

Saturday marked the Return of the Blue & Red practice presented by Bud Light. It was the second open practice and the ninth day of Bills training camp, which featured a heavy portion of team periods making it feel like a scrimmage.

More than 18,000 fans packed Highmark Stadium to show Josh Allen some love after signing a six-year contract extension.

Here are three things to know from Saturday's practice.

1. Josh Allen and his offense put on a clinic

A new contract didn't stop QB1 from having another elite day of camp. Allen and his offense put on a clinic.

The quarterback had very few incompletions and had a few nice carries himself, including a rushing touchdown. It wasn't just Allen either, the whole quarterback room each had a few impressive completions throughout Saturday's practice.

During the first series, Allen connected with his receivers on four-straight passes. On the fourth play, he showcased his comfortability and quick feet in the pocket and linked up with Dawson Knox to push the ball downfield. The drive ended with an Isaiah McKenzie touchdown.

After two weeks of camp, it's easy to see that Allen and his receivers continue to look like they haven't missed a beat after last season.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs thinks Allen is playing with more confidence this camp.

"Going into the second year, my second year with him at least, I feel like he knows what he can be," Diggs said of his QB. "And he knows what he's capable of. He's more hungry than he was last year."

On top of the confidence, offensive lineman Jon Feliciano believes the offense is looking sharp due to their familiarity with one another.

"I just feel like most of us have been in the system," Feliciano explained. "This is my third year. I don't think anyone on the ones besides E (Sanders), I think everyone has been in it at least two years. Coming into camp we're not learning the playbook. We're so many steps ahead."

Two rookies who are taking steps in the right direction are tackles Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle. Brown has had a lot of reps at left tackle because Dion Dawkins remains on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Doyle had a fair share of action on Saturday because Daryl Williams had a rest day. Feliciano calls the two rookies smart, and is happy about the additions to their room.

Check out the best photos of practice action and fans from Saturday's open practice at Highmark Stadium.

2. Dawson Knox's mentality in year 3

Tight end Dawson Knox is preparing for his third season as a Buffalo Bill. The TE is focusing on getting the little things right in practice so they translate to games this year.

In 27 games, Knox has totaled 52 receptions for 676 yards and scored five touchdowns.

"I've always said I want to be a good, well-rounded tight end," Knox explained. "I don't ever want to come off the field whether I'm in pass protect or I have to run around the corner. I want to be that three-down tight end, so just working on every aspect of that game just to keep stacking those days on top of each other."

After having two seasons with the playbook, he's feeling ready to attack his third year.

"When I came in as a rookie, going from my college playbook to what I had my rookie year was like going from high school math to college calculus," Knox explained. "My head was spinning. I didn't know what I was doing, I was just trying to line up the right way. Now having a couple of years under my belt in the same system, Daboll just keeps adding little things on top of each other.

"The versatility we have is crazy. We can do a whole drive with five wideouts and the next possession bring in three tight ends. The versatility we have is what I think is giving us a little edge right now."

3. Best plays from practice no. 9

Even though the offense looked stellar in Saturday's practice, the defense had a couple exceptional plays of their own.

Linebacker Tyler Matakevich picked off a pass long before it had a chance to get close to the intended receiver. Matakevich lept out of nowhere to get into the passing lane, caught the ball with one hand and pulled it in as he fell to the ground.

The other defensive highlight from the day was an interception by Micah Hyde. Hyde jumped over Stefon Diggs and caught the interception basically sideways in the air.

Diggs joked and said it was pass interference, but the referees didn't throw a flag.

"It was a hell of a play," Diggs said. "I'm happy to see our defense making plays, whether it's on me or anybody else. Definitely going to need that going into the season. Trying to get a lot of turnovers to get the ball back for us, so a win-win, I guess."

Wide receiver Duke Williams and running back Antonio Williams were two players who stood out on offense in Saturday's practice. Fromm connected with the WR early for a touchdown. In the final series of practice, Webb tossed a beautiful deep ball to Duke who made a nice grab. Antonio had a hefty share of carries, and on multiple occasions found a hole and hit the second level with power. He also rushed in for one of the many touchdowns scored during team period.

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