ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Everyone knows Matt Araiza’s nickname is the “Punt God” but Josh Allen has other ideas for what they should call the rookie.

“Try to keep him off the field and he’ll be the Hold God, not the Punt God the Hold God,” Allen laughed.

Araiza, a sixth-round pick out of San Diego State, won the Bills punting competition after they cut veteran Matt Haack on Monday.

“Just felt like it was time to move on with one punter in camp, sometimes it’s numbers and also wanted to give Matt Haack a chance to get out there and catch on with another team. What we’ve seen to this point with Matt Araiza is he’s off to a good start,” Sean McDermott said.

“That doesn’t mean he’s where he needs to be, he’s not arrived. Speaking with Matt this morning he echoed those sentiments in terms of he’s earned nothing, he’s gotta continue to work and I think that’s the right mindset. “

“I wouldn’t call it a relief because you have to go out and earn your job every week. It’s a step in the right direction and I’m grateful for it for sure,” Araiza said.

The Bills knew what they were getting from Araiza when it came to leg strength as he’s punted some absolute bombs, a perfect example was his 82-yard punt in their first preseason game against the Colts. That was on full display during his time in college but there were other questions with Araiza, like holding.

“Progressing, he hadn’t done it much if at all in college so it was a big question that we did have. I think he’s gotten off to a good start, the relationship he’s built with Tyler [Bass] and Reid [Ferguson] has been impressive to this point but again much work remains in that regard as well,” McDermott explained.

There haven’t been any issues with Araiza holding for Tyler Bass so far. He held on all six extra points during Saturday’s 42-15 win over the Broncos in preseason game number two. Araiza also held on two field goals against the Colts, a 48-yarder and one from 46 which was the game-winner.

“It’s more that you know the hold takes place so fast you don’t really have time to think about too much and I’m doing a lot of things naturally like by instinct now that I used to not be able to.” Araiza said.

Other than holding, Araiza didn’t see much action on Saturday because of just how much the Bills offense scored. They found the end zone on six straight drives, only failing to score a touchdown once which game on their last possession of the game which Matt Haack punted.

That’s why Allen suggested the nickname switch to “Hold God” given how explosive the Bills offense is.

“I’m okay with that, last game was pretty crazy for me to see how good this offense really was firsthand so yeah I agree with him, I think I’ll be doing a lot more holding than punting this year,” Araiza joked.

While the holding seems to be going well, another aspect of Araiza’s game the Bills would like to see improve is when he doesn’t have to boot it as far as he can.

“It’s one thing to punt the ball 80 something yards, it’s another thing to can you fine tune your game in those areas where it’s gotta be polished, the pooch punts, backed up situations, being aware of certain type of other situations that come up as a punter. It’s not just punting the ball or punting it as far as you can punt it. So all of that is a work in progress,” McDermott said.

“Just getting more comfortable with the operations as a whole especially like today I got more reps than I usually would because I’m not splitting reps anymore so that was good. But it’s a little bit of everything to be honest just getting better as a whole,” Araiza said when asked what he needs to work on.

Other notes from practice on Monday:

The Bills also cut wide receiver Tavon Austin and traded guard Cody Ford, former 2019 second-round pick, to Arizona for a 2023 fifth-round pick.

McDermott on Jordan Poyer’s elbow injury – “We’re not quite there yet [him playing on Friday] but he is improving, he’s put a lot of work in with our training staff and we’ll continue to take it one day at a time here.”

McDermott on Micah Hyde – “He’s got some neck soreness still so he’ll be out there but we gotta continue to monitor it.”

McDermott on Dawson Knox’s return – “Right now it appears tomorrow [Tuesday] so we’ll just take it one day at a time here.”