Another off-season is almost finished, which means football is almost here (8) weeks to be exact. Here’s what to watch for at Buffalo Bills training camp:
- The RT spot is currently up for grabs. Rookie RT Dion Dawkins and 5th year pro Jordan Mills are in the midst of the battle. Mills started 16 games for Buffalo in 2016, he allowed a handful of sacks in 2016, which was the main reason why Buffalo was ranked #1 in Most Sacks Allowed in 2016. Mills was drafted in the 5th round by the Chicago Bears in 2013. After a strong preseason and camp, Mills won the RT job; he allowed 3 sacks on 1,022 plays. Since then Mills has spent time with the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, and currently the Buffalo Bills. Dawkins, a 2017 2nd round pick from Temple started 41 of 44 games in college, and was a First Team All-American Athletic Conference selection after his senior year.
Prediction: Rookie Dion Dawkins has an impressive preseason, and wins the starting job.
- The #2 QB spot is currently up for grabs. It’s between 2nd year pro Cardale Jones, rookie Nathan Peterman, and 5th year pro T.J. Yates. Peterman was drafted by the Bills in the 5th round of the 2017 draft. After transferring to Pittsburgh in 2015, he won the starting job 2 games into the season, beating Chad Voytik. Peterman totaled 2,287 yards, 20 TD’s, and 8 INT’s that season. Jones appeared in 1 game for Buffalo during the 2016 regular season, totaling just 96 yards and 1 INT in 1 quarter of play. Yates was signed by Buffalo on April 10th, he has a history with new Bills OC Rick Dennison, and will teach the young QB’s a thing or two during camp.
Prediction: T.J. Yates wins the 2nd string job, while Cardale Jones starts the season as Buffalo’s 3rd string, and Nathan Peterman starts the season as Buffalo’s 4th string QB.
- The Middle LB spot is up for grabs between Preston Brown, Reggie Ragland, and recently signed LB Gerald Hodges. Brown is in his 4th season with Buffalo. During his time with Buffalo, Brown totaled 368 combined tackles, 1 sack, and 3 INT’s. Reggie Ragland missed the entire 2016 season after tearing his ACL in training camp, and was placed on season ending Injured Reserve (IR) on August 30th. Ragland totaled 220 tackles, 4 sacks, and 1 INT in 4 seasons with Alabama. Buffalo signed Gerald Hodges to a 1 year deal on May 25th, the 5th year pro totaled 83 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 INT’s last season for the San Fransisco 49ers. Hodges was drafted in the 4th round by the Minnesota Vikings, after leaving Minnesota after 3 seasons, he spent time with the 49ers and currently the Bills.
Prediction: Reggie Ragland starts at Inside LB, while Preston Brown and Gerald Hodges start at OLB. Both Brown & Hodges have experience at the OLB position, so it shouldn’t be too difficult of a transition.
- Buffalo currently has 2 Punters on their team, 5th year pro Colton Schmidt and rookie Austin Rehkow. Schmidt went undrafted in 2013 before signing with the 49ers, after San Fransisco released Schmidt, he signed with the Cleveland Browns. He later re-signed with the 49ers in 2014 then got released again. Schmidt later signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2014. He was signed by Buffalo to handle punting duties, while Jordan Gay was signed to handle kickoff duties. Rehkow was signed by Buffalo following the 2017 draft,he was a kicker and a punter in college for Idaho. Rehkow hit 16-20 FG’s (80%) over the past 2 seasons. He also saw his fair catch percentage rise from 21.6% to 35.1% last season. Rehkow doesn’t have the leg to be an NFL kicker, since he hit only 1 FG from 50 or more yards in his career. I see Rehkow as more of a punter rather than a kicker, but if Steven Hauschka gets injured, Rehkow would make a nice replacement until Hauschka heals up, plus it saves Buffalo a roster spot.
Prediction: Austin Rehkow defeats Colton Schmidt for the starting Punter job.
- Is Adolphus Washington’s roster spot in jeopardy? The 2nd year pro was arrested Sunday night after flashing a gun at police officers outside of a water park in Cincinnati, Washington was later charged with carrying a concealed weapon. “You don’t know how lucky you are man,” an officer says. “That was close, buddy. That was really close.”“Ninety-nine percent of the time, what would have happened tonight?” an officer asked. Washington replied saying: “I would have got shot. I know it. I understand.” This isn’t the first time Washington has been in legal trouble. On November 9th, Washington was cited for soliciting a prostitute, which caused him to be suspended for their bowl game. Those charges were later dropped after completing a program. Washington appeared in 15 games for Buffalo last season, totaling 12 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 1 pass defended. It’ll be interesting to see how coach McDermott and GM Brandon Beane handle this.