5 Players Who Need To Step Up During Training Camp
As Training Camp opens, here are my top 5 players the Bills need to have a big Training Camp.
Josh Allen, QB
This one goes without saying; however, the Bills spent a pretty penny to move up in the 2018 NFL Draft to pick Allen. The expectations for Allen during Training Camp will be as high if not higher than any other Bills rookie in recent memory. General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott believe Allen is their guy. The rookie has the necessary physical traits to play quarterback at a high level but concerns over his accuracy will come to light. Allen doesn’t necessarily need to “win” the starting job in Training Camp, but If he does, it might say more about McCarron and Peterman than it does about Allen.
Chris Ivory, RB
As LeSean McCoy’s legal situation continues to unfold, the running back position will be one of deep concern for Bills fans. As most of us know by now, the Bills aren’t expected to break any passing records this year, so with that said, the Bills need continue to rely heavily on the running game through the 2018 season.
I was a little surprised when the Bills did not address the running back position during the later rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. In the possible absence of McCoy and a younger ball carrier, the Bills may be relying too heavily on their backup, Chris Ivory. Although Ivory has been productive during his eight-year career, his rushing attempts, yards, rushing average, and touchdowns have been in decline over the previous two seasons. Coupling this along with the fact that Ivory is on the wrong side of 30, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills struggled to maintain an effective running game with McCoy off the field. Whether McCoy is off the field for a few plays at a time to catch his breath, or off the field completely due to his alleged off field conduct remains to be seen.
Ryan Groy, C
This offseason, the Bills lost two starters on the offensive line; Center Eric Wood and Guard Richie Incognito. Groy, who has been an interior rotational lineman the past few seasons will be expected to compete with newly signed Center Russell Bodine and Guards Vladimir Ducasse, John Miller, and draft pick Wyatt Teller for the three interior lineman positions. The Bills clearly like Groy, as they matched an offer sheet from the Los Angeles Rams last offseason, but will this be enough to propel him into a starting role?
Shaq Lawson, DE
The former first round pick out of Clemson was supposed to be a pass-rushing force for the Bills for years to come. However, scheme changes along with injuries have made Lawson’s first two professional seasons largely forgettable. As somewhat of an insurance policy for Lawson’s development, the Bills signed Defensive End Trent Murphy from the Washington Redskins to compete with Lawson throughout Training Camp. Lawson needs a strong performance at camp to solidify his position on the defensive line rotation. If not, the Bills could move on from Lawson sooner than later. Teammate Jerry Hughes could lend an ear to Lawson as he went through a similar situation to the start of his career in Indianapolis, which resulted in a trade to Buffalo.
Vontae Davis, CB
The former Dolphins and Colts cornerback signed with the Bills this offseason to replace EJ Gains, who signed with the Browns. Davis, is coming off an injury last season that limited him to only five games. In addition to Gains, the Bills also allowed both Leonard Johnson and Shareece Wright to walk in free agency, giving Davis the inside track to play alongside Tre’Davious White. The Bills will be relying on Davis to return to full health and continue to play at a high level this season, as the overall depth in the secondary is very thin. The best-case scenario for the Bills is that Davis plays at a serviceable level throughout the year, enough so that they wouldn’t have to commit an early draft pick to the position group during the 2019 NFL Draft.