ORCHARD PARK, NY – When von Miller first came out of the tunnel at High Mark Stadium Friday night in front of nearly 36,000 buffalo bills Fans, the sun pouring down on his face amid a sea of red and blue, he said he felt right at home.
Fans crowded into Miller’s new home for Blue and Red’s return in hopes of getting their first glimpse of Miller in a Bills costume. The 33-year-old had the night but felt the love as fans showered the team with cheers all night.
“I’ve been to some special places, but Buffalo is different,” Miller said after practice. “All the kids are here, everyone is supportive. I saw 40 shirts, he’s an incredible guy. We’re going to have a fun year. Such a fun, great fan base and I’m excited to get it grounded….It’s easy to fall in love with this place.”
Here are a few takeaways from the night where the bills spar for the majority of two-hour training.
Gabby Davis can’t be guarded
Gabe Davis performed in front of the Bills Mafia at Highmark Stadium. Once the team started an 11 on 11 session, Davis was practically unguardable. It opened with a landing reception from Josh Allen. In the second series of the first team offensive, Allen went to Davis in back-to-back plays including a big winner. Davis added a second touchdown later on in practice with Dane Jackson trying to cover the receiver. Davis will find the end zone again on a two-point conversion from Allen with Kaiir Elam covered.
No matter who the bills lined up at Davis, the receiver seemed to be on top. -Talbot
Rousseau became a problem
Miller wasn’t available, which means Russo crept to the top of the watch list on Friday night. The second-year passing acceleration scored an early run against tackler David Cosinberry, who remained in the right tackle as Spencer Brown continued to come back from a back injury.
Russo spent most of his time trying to apply the brakes as he lunged against Allen. Tonight he was rewarded with a whistle by the crew in charge. Russo’s potential breakthrough could be the kind of leap that takes Buffalo’s defense to another level.
With injuries up front, there are legitimate concerns that the attack may need a little help from defense early in the season with their opening slate of games. Introducing Russo will help make for consistent games, especially if Jordan Boyer isn’t ready by week one. – Barino
A few members of the Bells’ junior class made notable plays on Friday night, but Khalil Shaker was arguably the best night in the recruiting picks.
Early in practice, Shaker was working with the third team. After a big game from Matt Barkley to Tanner Gentry, the No. 3 Buffalo quarterback looked down at Shaker Road in the end zone. Shaker managed to pull the back shoulder pass down to land after a nice adjustment. In addition to the team’s third attack celebrating around the Shaker, Josh Allen made a point to run into the end zone to celebrate with the rookie receiver.
Shaker would work with the second team’s attack and connect with a pass from Keenum’s bag before pulling another long ball from Barkley.
Shaker actually received a tribute from Allen at the training camp. After the blue and red came back on Friday, left tackle Dion Dawkins earned high praise for the bullish receiver.
“Of course. I mean, 10 (baby) special,” Dawkins said. “(Brandon) Bean knows what he’s doing. Ben’s got the right guys here. 10 is 10, 10 will be 10 and 10 will appear several times after another, after another, after another. this is a promise.”
Buffalo doesn’t have to rush to get Shaker on the field this season, but he could get his way as long as he keeps making plays for attack. -Talbot
Josh Allen just understood it
Allen came onto the field wearing a red T-shirt and matching red helmet very similar to the famous Bells helmet from the ’90s. Fans broke out, mostly because it was Allen, but the look definitely caught everyone’s attention. Pictures of the helmet went viral. On the court, Allen was called and threw a pair of touchdowns to Davis and Dawson Knox. The second came for Knox against the safety of Jaquan Johnson, who responded too late to Knox. Allen put the laser on Knox’s line, which made the big play. – Barino
Who is in the lead in running backwards?
All three bills looked good on Friday. Devin Singletary started things off with a big run early in the melee that lasted for about 30 yards. The run stood out because of the speed at which Singletary found the hole and accelerated through it. Zack Moss received most of the work in the red on his first attack drive. He found it hard to work at times but he worked hard. The best play of his night came with a short pass from Allen. He took it a step and raised it a little to get to the second level. Moss looked explosive again and was still healthy. James Cook did most of his work in the second team, but he had his moments. It looks like Singletary still has a lock on the starting mission, but Moss is hot in his wake. There will likely be a short leash for any of their backs who prove ineffective with the talent that has accumulated in the room. – Barino
Bates don’t miss the beat
Buffalo’s attacking streak at training camp was wrecked, but the unit is starting to bring some faces back into the squad as the regular season approaches.
On Friday, Ryan Bates was on the offensive with the first team at High Mark Stadium. Bates is expected to start in the right guard position for the Bells this season after taking over the left guard last season. One person who was happy to see Bates return in The Return of the Blue & Red left Dionne Dawkins.
“Anytime we can have familiar faces out there, everyone is on the same page,” Dawkins said. “And as I always explain, the line with new men and older men, it all goes in a bucket of speaking the same language. With Bates back, everyone is closer to the same grammar because we know what he’s doing. But it’s a blessing. As long as he’s healthy, He can be there with his towel and helmet on. He’s doing the right thing. The Buffalo Bills signed him to play ball as long as he’s on the field, he’s honestly doing what he’s supposed to be doing.”
Buffalo is still working on getting Roger Savold and Spencer Brown back on the field, but Bates’ return has been an encouraging sign for the offensive line. –Talbot
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