NFL training camps are upon us once again. And although the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, things will be a little different than last year’s league plan, which included no preseason games and training camps that had to be held on teams’ premises. The rules are a little different this year for the league and the Buffalo Bills, who reported to Orchard Park today and will begin practicing Wednesday.
There will be preseason games again. But because the NFL has added a 17th regular-season game, the number has been reduced from four to three.
The Bills’ Highmark Stadium, which was one of the venues that did not allow fans last season, will be open to full capacity for games this year and will host two open practices during training camp, in which a return to the Bills’ usual camp venue, St. John Fisher College, was permitted by the league but declined by the team due to lingering uncertainty about the pandemic.
Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds heads into his fourth NFL season still trying to live up to the monster standards he created in his first one, with 121 tackles, seven quarterback hits, 12 passes broken up, two interceptions and 2.0 sacks. All stand today as career highs.
That doesn’t mean that he’s been a bad LB ever since, however. In fact, Edmunds made the Pro Bowl the following season and came through with 119 tackles and 2.0 sacks again last year. He and Matt Milano, who was re-signed to a below-market deal this offseason, are the linebackers who remain on the field when the Bills are in the nickel package, which is most of the time.
Perhaps no player on the Buffalo Bills’ defense is more excited about Star Lotulelei’s return than defensive tackle Ed Oliver. After two solid, yet unspectacular seasons with the team since being drafted No. 9 overall in 2019, Oliver believes the stars are aligning in a way that will allow him to finally perform to the level he did during his monstrous collegiate career at Houston. And through one week of Bills training camp, Oliver is excited to begin building the team’s pass rush from the ground up – something he said wasn’t a possibility last offseason due to his recovery from a groin injury.
“This is my first year coming into camp healthy and being able to be with the guys to really build that rush,” Oliver told reporters following Saturday’s practice. “Last year I was coming off a groin injury, so I had limited time. But this year is the first time we’re building that rush from the ground up. Not me coming in halfway through camp, which was kind of weird. Even through the first few games, it was kind of weird. We’re starting from day one building that rush and camaraderie which will carry over to the regular season.”
Don’t try going over Micah Hyde’s head. It’s just not worth it. He and fellow Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer just don’t allow it, which is one of the reasons the Bills’ secondary is ranked fourth in the NFL by Pro Football Focus heading into the 2021 season.
Hyde and Poyer have been Buffalo’s safeties every since Sean McDermott, a safety himself in his playing days at William & Mary, took over as head coach in 2017. That was the year Hyde came from Green Bay and made the Pro Bowl with totals of 82 tackles and five interceptions that still stand as career highs. He’s been a perfect fit for the team and the fan base since Day 1.
I think the bills will have a strong defensive core that would help backup our offense I believe we will have the number one defense this year
written by Jaaquan Littlejohn