PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WIVB) — The moving trucks are loaded up and the players have hit the road as the Bills wrapped up training camp at St. John Fisher and head back to Buffalo. The team held 12 practices in Rochester and here are Josh Reed’s 4 observations from what was another eventful training camp.

Defense dominates daily

Last year the Bills offense looked incredible during training camp but that wasn’t the case this year as the defense won way more battles. It’s pretty typical for the defense to be ahead of the offense at this stage of the preseason and that was clearly the case at Fisher. The defensive line looked dominant and spent a lot of time during camp standing along side Allen in the backfield. Ed Oliver looks poised to have a huge season on the interior of the line. Despite injuries in the secondary, they looked solid on the back end and depth at safety and cornerback was on display each practice.

Competition in the slot

Coming into training camp this was one of the few position battles on the roster. The Bills said Isaiah McKenzie would have a bigger role and he earned it with his day-in and day-out performance at Fisher. McKenzie looks to be way more than just a “gadget guy”. Jameson Crowder was injured and missed a lot of time early in camp. He did return to the field the last few days and made some plays. Crowder was brought in to help with the yards after catch and he made several of those type of plays at the end of camp. The rookie, Kahlil Shakir had some good moment as well and overall had a solid first training camp. As camp wraps—McKenzie seems to have the edge on the being the top slot receiver.

Dorsey-Allen chemistry

“It’s a work in progress”. We heard Josh Allen and new OC Ken Dorsey use that phrase during camp. I’m not sure how much we actually will learn about the chemistry until we see it during live game action but the offense didn’t look as smooth and there’s clearly work to do on that side of the ball. Injures and players missing time on the offensive line was big reason for some of the struggles but they look to be getting healthy as we approach preseason games. Am I worried? No. At the end of the day the Bills have Josh Allen and a ton of weapons so they’ll get it figured out but it will be interesting to see how long it takes to get to that point.


There were more scuffles at this training camp than I can recall since Sean McDermott took over. Nobody should question the intensity and competitiveness of this camp. We asked players and coaches about the fights and they basically blew it off as “we’re competitors trying to win the rep/play/practice”. Things got heated but this team is full of solid veterans and leaders so there’s really no concern. Sean McDermott’s team seems to do a good job of leaving it on the field when practices end.

Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more of his work here.