Week one of the preseason is officially in the books for the Buffalo Bills. It gave us a small glimpse of some starters and a long look at players fighting for a roster spot. For many fans, this was the first opportunity to see how the new additions have gelled and how returning players have progressed. It’s the first real step towards games that matter and it brought with it some performances that stood out. Rookie Devin Singletary put up an impressive showing while veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley looked like a natural in the offense.
Devin Singletary, Cole Beasley Highlight Buffalo Bills Week One Standouts
We know what Buffalo Bills fans want in 2019, and it’s going to take a lot to get there. Week One of the preseason isn’t the end-all-be-all of a season, but it is a measuring stick and team determinant. It can also be a liar and deceiver. Like it was with this guy last year for the Bills in the preseason. Nevertheless, it’s fun and exciting to see players do well in the preseason and it breeds hope. For the Bills, several players stood out positively in week one of this preseason on both sides of the ball. Let the hope and possible lies and deception begin!
The Bills running backs situation was one to monitor come camp and the preseason, and week one added fuel to that fire. To begin with, Frank Gore started the game but only had three touches, and LeSean McCoy didn’t play at all. We saw T.J. Yeldon get some burn but he fumbled and was done from there. Which leads us to standout performer number one from preseason week one for the Bills, rookie running back Devin Singletary.
Singletary came away from this game as the talk of the town amongst Bills fans. Though his first several touches didn’t yield much, the more he got the ball the more he delivered. Singletary showed the short-range burst and elusiveness that made him a consistent threat in college. The vision he showed on several cutback runs and carries where he had to find a hole to run through was also very encouraging.
However, the biggest feather in Singletary’s cap from his NFL debut was his ability to catch the ball. He finished the game with three catches for 21 yards and displayed timing and proper spatial recognition when coming out of the backfield. Being a consistent threat in the receiving game, makes Singletary a threat to every other Bills running back. His performance in week one of the preseason has him off to a good start.
Josh Allen and the Bills offensive starters didn’t give us a large sample size, but what we saw showed change from last year. Part of the reason for that change was the addition of Cole Beasley. Beasley came to the Bills with the idea that he could be a security blanket for Allen and do damage in the slot. In week one of the preseason, he came as advertised.
Beasley officially finished the game with one catch for 13 yards, although he also had another catch that was called back due to penalty. Again, small sample size, but what we can take away from that sample size is important. On both of Beasley’s catches, he did what no receiver did consistently last year for Josh Allen. First, he caught the ball. Which is improvement enough given how last year went for Bills receivers. Second, he read the coverage in front of him, found the soft spot, and got himself open. This is what he did for Dallas, and that skills appears to have translated to Buffalo.
Allen isn’t afraid to throw deep, we know this. However for his progression, and thus the Bills success, he’s going to have to complete shorter chain-moving throws. In order to do that, he needs someone that can separate underneath the coverage and be able to read what’s in front of them and make plays. Beasley did that for Dak Prescott. He did that in week one of the preseason for the Bills. Continuing to do that, is crucial for this season in Buffalo.
Preseason isn’t so much about the starters as it is about the guys fighting and clawing to make a roster. Jaquan Johnson is a rookie safety, picked in the sixth round out of the University of Miami and falls into that category of having to fight and claw for a spot on the Bills roster. The Bills secondary as a whole is loaded with depth and the safety position is no different. Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are the incumbents (and very good) starters and the addition of Kurt Coleman solidified the overall depth even more. So how does a rookie sixth-round pick make a team that’s loaded at their position? The answer is to do what Jaquan Johnson did in week one of the preseason.
Johnson was all over the field vs the Indianapolis Colts. He finished the game with nine tackles, including eight solo, one tackle for a loss, and one pass defended. He lead the team in tackles with those nine, four more than anyone else. Johnson played both free and strong safety in his NFL debut but the majority of his success came when he dropped down and played near the line of scrimmage. This is where Johnson excelled at Miami.
Jaquan Johnson led the Hurricanes in tackles in 2018 and 2017 and tallied six interceptions combined in those two years. Johnson is a thumper who can also cover, and is most comfortable when around the line of scrimmage and covering in the hook-curl zones and the flats. He needs to continue these performances for the rest of the preseason. But if you watched week one it was impossible not to notice Johnson on almost every play. That’s a good start for a rookie sixth-round pick trying to make the team.
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