PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WIVB) — Monday’s training camp practice at St. John Fisher University was closed to the general public, but the Bills invited select friends and family to watch, including a Hall of Fame coach. Here are four observations from practice:
Sideline to sideline
One of the few coaches more recognizable in upstate New York than Sean McDermott was in attendance. Jim Boeheim, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member who recently retired after 47 seasons leading the Syracuse Orange, watched from the sideline, joined by his wife Juli and oldest son Jimmy, who wore a Bills themed t-shirt and matching basketball shorts. Boeheim, in a Syracuse polo shirt, spent much of the morning hanging around owner Terry Pegula. He was later greeted by general manager Brandon Beane, McDermott, star quarterback Josh Allen, and running back Latavius Murray, who is from the Syracuse area. “I just love the Bills, and my son Jimmy loves them,” said Boeheim, who grew up in Lyons, about 40 miles from Rochester. “It’s going to be a special year. Really looking forward to watching them for sure.” Boeheim added, “when you fish one day, and you play golf one day, and you can’t catch fish and you can’t catch golf balls, I’m happy to be up here.”
Bumps and bruises
The Bills began practice with a few players not participating, and another joined them by the end. Starting defensive tackle Ed Oliver is dealing with back soreness, and defensive back Cam Lewis injured his groin in a hard fall on Sunday. Left tackle Dion Dawkins left the practice field early on Monday after banging his hand. David Quessenberry took the first team reps in place of Dawkins, who is listed as day-to-day. Fullback Reggie Gilliam (groin) and receiver Isaiah Coulter (knee) also were sidelined, along with star pass rusher Von Miller (knee) and special teams performer Tyler Matakevitch (calf), who remain on the physically unable to perform list. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, who was activated from the PUP list Sunday, did conditioning work and was not in pads. Allen spent about 20 minutes with the trainers early on in practice, but returned for team drills and showed little sign of injury.
Having practiced without pads the day before, increased physicality caused tempers to flare on a muggy Monday morning. Linebacker Tyrel Dodson got into it with offensive linemen Ryan Bates during team drills, and Terrel Bernard had a similar encounter with Spencer Brown that needed to be broken up by teammates. Cornerback Kaiir Elam and receiver Trent Sherfield wrestled to the ground during one-on-one drills. No punches were thrown, but helmets popped off. With two training camp practices left before Saturday’s preseason opener, the Bills appear eager for an opponent to hit.
Sherfield made the highlight play of the day, beating Taron Johnson to the pylon for a sliding touchdown grab during no-huddle work. … Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid continued his impressive camp performance by reaching back to make a one-handed catch while tightly covered by Dodson. … Owner Kim Pegula watched practice for the second day in a row from inside an SUV parked on the track beyond the end zone.
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.