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Bills Voluntary OTAs Phase 3


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I don't disagree that Epenesa looks really slim in this video. Like a completely different guy than the one who suited up at Iowa. 

On the other hand, McDermott had this to say about Epenesa today:

“He’s in great shape right now, he looks as good as I’ve seen him look. Credit to him for being here, he’s been here most of the offseason . . . He’s in a great spot now. He’s in shape, and he’s on track to have himself ready to go for training camp. What I’ve seen to this point is very encouraging.”

So...huh. Who knows?

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A few snippets:

 

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With a few more players on the field this week than in rookie minicamp, we got to see a little bit more perspective on third-round offensive tackle Spencer Brown. Even working against some veteran players, Brown showed off a vital skill that many offensive tackles must possess to be successful. Brown’s quick feet shined through in a bunch of reps, whether working against first-round pick Greg Rousseau or a veteran player. When pass-rushing, defenders would try to find the open air to Brown’s right, only for Brown’s quick kick-slide and natural athleticism to mirror them and keep the pocket clean. That’s an essential skill for Brown. Even though Dawkins is a bigger player, he routinely shows swift feet, and it gives him an advantage almost every pass-blocking rep. Conversely, having slower feet ultimately prevented Ford from securing the right tackle role in his first two seasons. Of course, you shouldn’t overreact to only OTAs, and Brown will need to pair the physicality with the athleticism, but his foot quickness was excellent and a nice start.

 

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Dane Jackson showing needed confidence


Few players will enter training camp with as much to gain as Dane Jackson. Brandon Beane praised the second-year cornerback multiple times this offseason and backed up those comments by not adding to the position in free agency or the draft. Now Jackson and Levi Wallace are the two players with the clearest path to the No. 2 cornerback job. Jackson intercepted Allen toward the end of practice during a walk-through speed, red-zone drill and didn’t mind letting the quarterback know about it. 

 

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Gabriel Davis flashes strong hands in focal-point role


Without Diggs or Sanders in attendance and a barely-working-out Cole Beasley, the top wideout on the roster was second-year wide receiver Gabriel Davis. The summer will dictate where Davis falls on the regular-season depth chart, but on Tuesday, it was his receiver room — if only for a day. Davis showed off his strength and long speed in working with Allen during drills and seven-on-seven. He was firm at the catch point and rose to the ball to meet it at its highest point. One area of Davis’ performance that was slightly disappointing was on a change of direction route. Davis looked slightly stiff in trying to change his body’s momentum from the inside to the outside and couldn’t get to the spot as quickly as others. It could just be a slight rust factor as players begin to get their legs under them in the spring, and it wasn’t a noticeable problem last year.

Outside of Davis, a couple of other receivers stood out for differing reasons. Jake Kumerow looked quick in and out of his breaks and was in perfect position for Allen’s throws. It will be a battle for Kumerow to make the team, but he does have a path if he can either outperform Taiwan Jones on special teams or steal the sixth receiver spot from either Isaiah Hodgins or Isaiah McKenzie. On the other hand, the first week of OTAs brought on a dropped pass for Brandon Powell. The Bills will likely see if Powell can challenge McKenzie for the kick and punt returning role, but Powell will need to show a little as a receiver to earn the roster spot. It’s too early to write off Powell for a drop, but it’s at least noteworthy since it wasn’t an issue for others. We’ll learn more as team drills become more prevalent.

 

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Isaiah Hodgins makes a few nice grabs


Like he did last year in training camp, Hodgins flashed the catch radius and hands to be a reliable possession and red-zone receiver. The second-year receiver spent all of last season on injured reserve and was still in a red no-contact jersey at practice on Tuesday, but his size and hands stood out. With the Bills’ top two receivers absent from OTAs, Hodgins has a chance to make up for some of the reps he missed last season.

The question Hodgins will need to answer is how he handles full contact when he’s able to shed the red jersey. There have been plenty of receivers over the years who look the part in non-contact drills but start to fade when the pads come on in training camp.

Every time we’ve seen Hodgins on the field, he’s flashed ability. Now it’s a matter of seeing more of it and on a bigger stage.

 

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Hollister’s overall quickness and fluidity in the open field were immediately noticeable Tuesday, especially when watching consecutive reps with him, Knox and Tommy Sweeney.

What Hollister lacks in some size compared to Knox, he makes up for with athleticism. Knox was still relatively quick, but he doesn’t show the same type of downfield speed that Hollister showed on Tuesday. Hollister also has a prior connection with Allen when the two were teammates at Wyoming. Only on first glance of Tuesday’s OTAs, Hollister’s agility gives the Bills a little something different at the backup tight end role than what either Tyler Kroft or Lee Smith did in 2020. As long as Hollister stays healthy, he looks like he’s in a terrific position to make the 53-man roster without much difficulty.

 

Also:

 

 

 

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I get its voluntary but seems odd that Devin wouldn’t be there knowing how big of year this is for him. Disappointing is one word to describe Star’s absence. Makes me pause to reflect, is he that much different than Dareus? Would think he would be craving to get back on the field. Wonder if the front office would trade him if the opportunity presented itself?

5 hours ago, Logic said:



I don't disagree that Epenesa looks really slim in this video. Like a completely different guy than the one who suited up at Iowa. 

On the other hand, McDermott had this to say about Epenesa today:

“He’s in great shape right now, he looks as good as I’ve seen him look. Credit to him for being here, he’s been here most of the offseason . . . He’s in a great spot now. He’s in shape, and he’s on track to have himself ready to go for training camp. What I’ve seen to this point is very encouraging.”

So...huh. Who knows?

I’m a huge Iowa fan as well. But AJ looks like he’ll get swallowed up by an OT and certainly looks small to hold the edge. Would be a huge bonus to the DL if his play significantly improves this year.

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6 minutes ago, TFBillsfan said:

 

I’m a huge Iowa fan as well. But AJ looks like he’ll get swallowed up by an OT and certainly looks small to hold the edge. Would be a huge bonus to the DL if his play significantly improves this year.


I just don't understand the thinking behind taking a big, strong guy like Epenesa, whose best attribute is his strength, and who does not have an elite first step and does not seem to be an edge-bending speed guy...and asking him to slim way down, lose power, and try to become Jerry Hughes. It doesn't make any sense.

Then again, I'm just a rube on a message board. I'll trust the professionals on this one, but I'm definitely in "wait and see" mode, because the plan with Epenesa seems bizarre.

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5 hours ago, Logic said:



I don't disagree that Epenesa looks really slim in this video. Like a completely different guy than the one who suited up at Iowa. 

On the other hand, McDermott had this to say about Epenesa today:

“He’s in great shape right now, he looks as good as I’ve seen him look. Credit to him for being here, he’s been here most of the offseason . . . He’s in a great spot now. He’s in shape, and he’s on track to have himself ready to go for training camp. What I’ve seen to this point is very encouraging.”

So...huh. Who knows?

 

Epenesa (listed as 6'6" 260) looks skinnier than Tre Edmunds (listed as 6'5", 250)

 

He makes Jerry Hughes (6'2" 254) look like a rollin' keg o' butcher knives by comparison

 

This is who the Bills have at DE and their heights/weights for comparison:

image.thumb.png.7aea756000c0898d46ac8f0fed396cf2.png

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Logic said:
I don't disagree that Epenesa looks really slim in this video. Like a completely different guy than the one who suited up at Iowa. 


On the other hand, McDermott had this to say about Epenesa today:

He’s in great shape right now, he looks as good as I’ve seen him look. Credit to him for being here, he’s been here most of the offseason . . . He’s in a great spot now. He’s in shape, and he’s on track to have himself ready to go for training camp. What I’ve seen to this point is very encouraging.”

So...huh. Who knows?

Seems like McD is going out of his way to praise Eppy's look.  So either

 

1)  Eppy wasnt in shape last year and McD is giving the ol' "atta boy" positive reinforcement, or

2) Eppy is where they want him but maybe Eppy or the fans dont like this new look, so McD is signalling us and Eppy to understand that its by design.

Edited by maddenboy
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Posted (edited)
On 5/25/2021 at 1:28 PM, Logic said:



I don't disagree that Epenesa looks really slim in this video. Like a completely different guy than the one who suited up at Iowa. 

On the other hand, McDermott had this to say about Epenesa today:

“He’s in great shape right now, he looks as good as I’ve seen him look. Credit to him for being here, he’s been here most of the offseason . . . He’s in a great spot now. He’s in shape, and he’s on track to have himself ready to go for training camp. What I’ve seen to this point is very encouraging.”

So...huh. Who knows?

Cole Beasley running a route against his stunt double?

 

 

Edited by Warcodered
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49 minutes ago, Logic said:


I just don't understand the thinking behind taking a big, strong guy like Epenesa, whose best attribute is his strength, and who does not have an elite first step and does not seem to be an edge-bending speed guy...and asking him to slim way down, lose power, and try to become Jerry Hughes. It doesn't make any sense.

Then again, I'm just a rube on a message board. I'll trust the professionals on this one, but I'm definitely in "wait and see" mode, because the plan with Epenesa seems bizarre.

I hated the Epenesa pick and I really think it speaks volumes about what the staff thinks of Epenesa so far in that they drafted DEs with their first two picks this year. 

21 minutes ago, maddenboy said:

Seems like McD is going out of his way to praise Eppy's look.  So either

 

1)  Eppy wasnt in shape last year and McD is giving the ol' "atta boy" positive reinforcement, or

2) Eppy is where they want him but maybe Eppy or the fans dont like this new look, so McD is signalling us and Eppy to understand that its by design.

Or McD is just being a coach and not trying to hurt “Eppy’s” feelings...

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7 minutes ago, whorlnut said:

I hated the Epenesa pick and I really think it speaks volumes about what the staff thinks of Epenesa so far in that they drafted DEs with their first two picks this year. 

Or McD is just being a coach and not trying to hurt “Eppy’s” feelings...

Could also have something to do with the high priced, low production, old vets who are both on the last year of their deals.

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I know these are voluntary practices, but what would keep a player from attending one of these? I just don't get it and never have. Even if you are hurt, be in the building to be with the players and coaches. It's not like they need time off, they've been off for 4 months and will be off again soon. Can anyone shed light on why players wouldn't show up to practices?

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So I dunno if I'm the last one who knew this....if you're watching the video clips, Heads Up:

Jake Kumerow has taken #15!

Tanner Gentry has taken #87

 

So...I was watching a clip where #87 went up for a ball in traffic, made a nice catch, and showed good body control turning in the air to land headed downfield and thinking "nice catch by Kume" and No, that was Gentry (course in a real game the DBs flanking him would have eaten him, better to go down)

 

 

Then watching a clip where #15 caught a ball and turned in stride asking "who is that?" it's Kumerow.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPTfQDlJa6a/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

 

1 hour ago, TheyCallMeAndy said:

Can we talk about the shape out DTs look to be in? Harrison Phillips and 90 look like they trained hard! 
 

Groot and Epenesa look to be in great shape too. 

 

Brandin Bryant looks as though he's ready to make a play for a spot

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1 hour ago, whorlnut said:

I hated the Epenesa pick and I really think it speaks volumes about what the staff thinks of Epenesa so far in that they drafted DEs with their first two picks this year.

 

Not sure how you conclude that. 

 

Beane has been vocal about needing to make a shift to younger cheaper. 

Hughes and Addison are #3 and #5 for highest cap players on the team this year, and both in their last deal.

We moved on from Murphy already.

 

Fundamentally even if Epenesa hits, I think Beane sees it as I need 4 guys next year, who they gonna be?  If he gets some success from Epenesa plus 2 of his 3 acquisitions this season (Groot, Boogie, Obada) we probably still need another guy.

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Awesome to see almost a full roster out there for OTAs. Happy the Bills decided to participate. I’m ok with some of the veterans sitting out the OTAs and giving the young guys the reps and attention from the coaches. 

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14 hours ago, Logic said:


I just don't understand the thinking behind taking a big, strong guy like Epenesa, whose best attribute is his strength, and who does not have an elite first step and does not seem to be an edge-bending speed guy...and asking him to slim way down, lose power, and try to become Jerry Hughes. It doesn't make any sense.

Then again, I'm just a rube on a message board. I'll trust the professionals on this one, but I'm definitely in "wait and see" mode, because the plan with Epenesa seems bizarre.

 

I wonder if they are grooming him for Klein's role 

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32 minutes ago, 716er said:

 

I wonder if they are grooming him for Klein's role 

 

I've speculated this earlier, I get the feeling McDermott and Frazier may be bringing a tweak in the front 7 scheme.

Epenesa may be looking at a hybrid role in a new look.  

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, JPL7 said:

I know these are voluntary practices, but what would keep a player from attending one of these? I just don't get it and never have. Even if you are hurt, be in the building to be with the players and coaches. It's not like they need time off, they've been off for 4 months and will be off again soon. Can anyone shed light on why players wouldn't show up to practices?

The players who took pay cuts - Addison, Butler, Morse, star … probably all will skip voluntary stuff. There is a union piece to it as well so depends on each player

Edited by YoloinOhio
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  • YoloinOhio changed the title to Bills Voluntary OTAs Phase 3

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