ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Players have to take advantage of any and all opportunities they get to show the coaching staff what they can do, especially rookies. And that’s exactly what Bills offensive lineman Spencer Brown is doing.
With left tackle Dion Dawkins still on the Covid-19 list, Brown has gotten many of those reps in practice.
“That’s what happens when unfortunately guys are out, it’s an opportunity for someone else to step in and show us what they can do and I think Spencer is off to a great start,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said before practice on Wednesday.
Dawkins started training camp on the Covid list and still has not come off it so the third-round pick out of Northern Iowa has gotten a head start in making the coaching staff and fellow teammates notice him.
“It’s awesome especially coming into camp not expecting that situation with Dion going down but Mitch Morse said it best, sink or swim and I don’t plan on drowning,” Brown said after practice on Wednesday.
“It’s just getting in with the older guys and learning from them because they’ve been playing together for a while so just get in the rhythm with them.”
And so far, Brown hasn’t looked out of place in his short time with the Bills.
“He’s held his own in there against some good competition and now with Jerry [Hughes] back it’s given him another look at what a veteran defensive end looks like from that side in particular so it’s been good for him to get the reps he’s gotten,” McDermott explained.
During the offseason, the Bills added size and length to their defensive line but the same can be said about the offensive line especially with a guy like Brown. It’s hard not to stand out when you’re 6-foot-8.
“It’s been mentioned a few times especially by like Isaiah McKenzie and Cole Beasley a little bit but I’ve been getting that a while so they might think it’s a big guy but it feels normal to me I guess,” Brown laughed.
Now it’s about translating any success from practice to a game and that’s just what these preseason games are for and it starts for the Bills Friday against the Lions.
“It’s pretty calm right now, I don’t get too riled up for games but right before kick-off is where I get going and I have to remember my game day routine, it’s been a while so I’ll have to figure it out but excitement level is pretty high right now,” Brown said.
And even though Brown has looked strong and won many one-on-one battles during practices, he has had those plays that reminded him he’s just a rookie.
“Mario Addison gave me a welcome to the NFL moment I think and Jerry Hughes yesterday I mean those guys have been playing since I was going through puberty so I think they’ve had all the tricks in the book and I’m learning from them, just the speed and power that comes off the edge,” Brown explained.
Those are some of the veterans on defense he’s learning from and on offense Dawkins has been a great tool for him.
“He’s super important, for me especially just learning from him because I remember in the summer he would take his reps and I would take mine and we would come back and talk about it. He was back in meetings yesterday and then I was sitting back there talking with him about it,” Brown said.
“Even out here today I would lose a rep and we’d talk about it again so he’s very important to the offensive line, as a leader standpoint and helping the younger guys develop.”
Dawkins is still on the Covid-19 list but did start doing some work on the sideline by himself during practice, which is a good sign he’s getting closer to returning. Brown said despite dealing with Covid issues, Dawkins larger than life, goofy personality hasn’t changed, he’s feeling better and it’s good to have him back.