ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. [WKBW] — It was good to be back. For the first time in 2020, we walked into Bills Stadium and watched the team practice on the field as they get ready to open the regular season against the New York Jets in just 24 days. Thursday was the first day the Bills had a practice with live tackling since camp opened on July 28.
Observations from inside Bills Stadium:
Not just a between the tackles runner
Zack Moss prides himself on his versatility and skill set. When the Bills used a third-round pick on Moss in April, many fans and media members, myself included, thought of Moss as a hit the hole kind of back. While that's certainly a big part of his game, Moss also feels comfortable catching passes out of the backfield.
“I was able to do a lot of good things in college when it came to catching the ball out of the backfield and things like that," Moss said. "I’m definitely trying to continue to grow in that aspect of my game, to you know, be another weapon in the offense over the years and things like that. I think I do a pretty good job on catching the ball, but I want to continue to get better at that for sure."
Moss has already made some nice plays during the first few days of camp and he's happy to get a better gauge of what it's like to play at the next level.
"You know, just getting this live work in and now finally getting a chance to put on pads and go full speed I guess it has helped me out a lot," Moss added.
Rookie wide receiver Gabe Davis had the highlight of the day, taking a 67-yard slant to the house during 11-on-11 drills. Despite their inexperience, Davis and fellow rookie Isaiah Hodgins have already received some serious praise from some of the veterans in the wide receiver room.
“ They are the two best I’ve seen so far since I’ve been in the league, those guys know the playbook better than any of the veterans right now," John Brown said last week. "Gabe Davis can play different positions, he knows every spot, he knows every alert, hot read, and he’s going to be a big help to the puzzle. So with those guys it’s going to be amazing because they’re even out there to help me."
Epenesa makes a statement
It's always fun to watch the defensive lineman and offensive lineman battle at practice. With their pads on, we saw that for the first time today and rookie defensive end A.J. Epenesa didn't disappoint.
Brian Winters vs. AJ Epenesa: advantage Epenesa pic.twitter.com/uXEOfUfFIH— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) August 20, 2020
A lot has been made about Epenesa's versatile skill set and that was on display when he bull-rushed veteran guard Brian Winters.
Both rookie Tyler Bass and veteran Stephen Hauschka had a chance to kick on the field at Bills Stadium Thursday morning and the youngster made an impression. Bass finished his day 7-of-8, converting multiple kicks from more than 50-yards-away. Hauschka finished 5-of-8, missing his first three attempts from farther than 50-yards-out until he converted on a 52-yarder to close out the day.
Norman goes down
Veteran cornerback Josh Norman beautifully stepped in front of a Josh Allen pass during 11-on-11 work to intercept the pass intended for Stefon Diggs. That's the good news. The bad news -- while returning the interception, Norman was caught by Diggs and taken to the ground, landing awkwardly on his left leg. Norman limped off the field and spent the next several minutes with trainers. According to the Bills, he has a leg injury but the team didn't provide any further injury update.
Other injuries from Thursday include:
DT Ed Oliver missed his fourth straight practice with hip soreness
WR Robert Foster remains in concussion protocol
FB Patrick DiMarco missed his third straight practice with a neck injury
OL Jon Feliciano remains sidelined after going pectoral surgery
TE Tommy Sweeney remains on the PUP list with a foot injury