ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Sunday morning the Bills delayed practice by an hour because of issues with COVID-19 tests at the lab they use along with 10 or 11 other teams.
It seems like there were some false positive tests that forced a few players to sit out of Sunday’s practice. Quarterback Josh Allen was one of the players that did not practice because of undisclosed reasons. Therefore backup quarterback Matt Barkley had to step up.
“We did get a text, the whole team did that everything was kind of pushed back today by an hour so something I figured was kind of off to begin with coming in but I didn’t really know anything until we got to the team meeting and you just realized a couple players weren’t there,” Barkley said on a zoom call with reporters.
“It was kind of a reality that we knew would come eventually in some form or fashion given the circumstances of this year so just having the mindset I guess for me that I’ve always had as a backup I’ve always been ready and being ready to go is kind of what I always had to do so today I guess was just a trial run of what that could look like if that were to happen in season.”
But that meant Barkley was able to get more work in with wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
“He’s a very communicative player where he gives good feedback and we were on the same page I felt like for not having gotten a lot of reps, we got a few in Miami when we were down there together, but Josh has gotten most of those recently but he was on point with everything and the timing with a red zone touchdown we had on one of those drives was comforting,” Barkley said.
And it’s not just Diggs that has impressed Barkley so far in camp. Just like many offensive player have mentioned, the rookie wide receivers, Gabe Davis and Isaiah Hodgins are picking up the playbook very well.
“I think they’re really talented and really smart and when you have that combination especially in this offense I think they’re gonna do great things. I had the opportunity to throw with Gabe and Isaiah out in California for a good portion of this offseason so I got a little preview of what they’re capable of and they were on top of everything,” Barkley explained.
Which is important to have rookies get up to speed as quickly as possible every season but especially this year given they didn’t get a regular offseason and there aren’t preseason games, just one of the many challenges teams are facing getting ready for the regular season.
Speaking of the regular season, what happened at Sunday’s practice could possibly happen when the season is in full swing.
“It was a fire drill if you could say that and the one thing I think is different is guys can play through injury, you can tough it out sometimes but this they could feel totally fine and be forced to sit out for two weeks or five days or whatever it is given the testing which hurts a lot of guys probably deeper inside than a normal injury would just wanting to be able to play when they feel fine. I know that will be tough and something we’ll have to deal with as a whole but in terms of the reps that we had today and having to deal with the situation I think we’re capable of responding the proper way,” Barkley explained.
“It’s something that we kind of rolled with the punches and it’s 2020 we are ready for anything this year.”