The Bills held practice on Tuesday afternoon where they continued preparation for their final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. Here are two things to know from the day.
It was a dream come true for rookie running back James Cook to put on a Bills uniform for the first time play in his first NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago. As he continues to live out his dream of playing in the NFL, Cook’s mindset is focused on helping his team win and not about what his exact role within the offense will be.
“Just trying to do whatever to help the team win,” Cook said. “That could be running back, receiver; just help the team win.”
Between Cook’s explosive rushing ability and his comfort level on the receiving end, the versatility Cook brings to the running back room has been apparent in the first two preseason games. Though he had just five rushing yards against the Colts, Cook had several big gains last weekend vs. Denver.
The rookie averaged 9.5 yards per carry on four attempts for a total of 38 yards against the Broncos, including one run where Cook got to the edge for a pickup of 19 yards. He also added one reception for 12 yards.
“He’s done a great job adapting and learning and putting himself in a position to help us on offense,” offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey said. “He’s really come in and done a great job learning the system, learning our offense, learning the ins and outs of it. Whether it’s the run game, protection game, pass game, he’s gone out and executed at a high level.”
Playing football at the University of Georgia prepared Cook for the NFL, especially when it comes to speed of an NFL game. During the transition from life as a Bulldog to a Bill, Cook turns to learning new schemes and different calls to get acclimated to the NFL.
“Just grinding really every day,” Cook said. “Just getting accustomed to the speed. I came from the SEC, so it was kind of fast, but it’s a little different up here.”
Cook shared that while everyone in the RB room is different in their own way, the group learns from one another on a daily basis. While fellow running back Duke Johnson has seen his teammate’s game grow throughout training camp, he’s not surprised by Cook’s ability and determination to make that happen.
“He’s doing a great job, he’s taking everything in, and he’s working hard,” Johnson said. “His skill set, the way he works, and the kind of guy he is. So, kind of impressed but not really because I expected that from him.”
General manager Brandon Beane addressed injury and roster updates ahead of Tuesday’s practice.
With Tuesday being the deadline to get the active roster down to 80 players, Beane said the team is placing offensive lineman Ike Boettger, who is out with an Achilles injury, on the reserve PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list.
“I think he’s going to need some time. He had a little bit of a setback with his (injury), but he still has a chance to play this year,” Beane said. “He’s done great. He handled it well. That’s tough when you have a long injury and then you have a little setback in your rehab process, but I do think Ike has a chance to help us this year.”
Beane said they are going to try to “run out the clock” when it comes to potentially moving cornerback Tre’Davious White to the PUP list, which gives them another week to see how he is continuing to progress. There is still no firm target date for White’s return, though Beane said that he’d like White be able to practice before putting him in live game action.
“These other guys getting ready for the season, have practiced a lot and calloused themselves up,” Beane added. “We need to do that to be fair to him (White), too.”
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