It was easy to see in Thursday’s practice what coach Arbuckle was emphasizing this week: finishing games in the 4th quarter. In the last 4 games, Josh Allen has thrown 6 interceptions in the 4th quarter when playing with a lead. That means multiple times when the Bills had the opportunity late in games to put it away and secure the win, Allen left the door open for the other team by making careless reads or poor throws. When asked about the interception problem in his presser, coach Arbuckle said, “The late-game turnovers have to stop. We have been lucky so far to not have had them cost us a win, but that luck will run out eventually if we don’t fix it. You can’t win a game versus a great team in the playoffs if you keep giving them extra possessions in the 4th quarter.” In the team periods of their Day 2 practice, the Bills spent almost all of their time recreating the recent 4th quarter scenarios they’ve been in and replaying them with better execution. From the looks of it, Allen seemed to be getting on the same page with their playcaller on what he should be doing with the ball under those circumstances. “We are still learning and growing as an offense. This is week 6 in an entire new offensive playbook for everyone here, and that’s something that other teams went through by the end of preseason and we are going through it in week 13 of the regular season. I’m going to fix what I need to, but it’s great to see how well we have performed as a unit considering the obstacles we are overcoming this season,” said Josh Allen in his post-practice interview.
Allen is right about the offense growing; it’s changing rapidly as new players are stepping up and taking control of certain roles. One of those roles that’s very important is that of the main RB. Lamar Miller was brought onto the team 4 weeks ago to add some depth to the backfield. In week 10, he managed 3 carries for 32 yards and a TD, which was a big spark in that game against Houston since Singletary and Hurd combined for less than 3 yards per carry. The following week against the Dolphins, Miller saw his touches increase and he made the most of it tallying up 8 carries for 43 yards and 2 TDs plus 5 receptions for 68 yards. This lead to his first start of the year last week against the Saints and Miller produced 137 rushing yards on 15 carries and 2 TDs with 4 catches for 14 yards in the passing game. In practice this week, Miller has been taking all of the 1st team reps in both the base offense and 3rd down offense, while Singletary has been taking the 2nd team reps in the base packages and Hurd has been the 2nd team 3rd down guy and also getting 1st team reps in empty formations. It’s safe to say that Miller has earned the starting job at RB and we can only hope that his production on the ground game continues. Having a consistent run threat will take a lot of pressure off of Allen from having to throw for 400 yards per game.
Defensively, the Bills have brought a lot of intensity to practice this week feeding off the momentum of their performance against the Saints, allowing only 14 points and creating 5 turnovers. The Bills look to be adding to their blitz package this week, a sign they’re aiming to capitalize on Sam Darnold’s struggles with making poor decisions under pressure. One player in particular that has stood out in practice even more than usual has been MLB Tremaine Edmunds. Look for him to have a really big game this week and lead this defense to new heights against the division rival New York Jets.