OPINION: Elam, Austin, Cook shine as Bills wrap up minicamp

The team cancels its third and final scheduled day on Thursday
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Orchard Park, N.Y. (WGR 550) - Next stop, training camp!

The Buffalo Bills wrapped up their three-day mandatory minicamp on Wednesday after only two practices in the sweltering heat outside the ADPRO Sports Training Center at One Bills Drive in Orchard Park.

Here are some observations and video from Wednesday’s session:

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Tavon Austin
Photo credit Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

Tavon has juice

Wide receiver Tavon Austin made a very good impression in a short amount of time since signing with the club a couple weeks ago. He, once again, moved well, ran good routes, and showed great hands, both in individual drills and connecting with the quarterbacks in the team portion of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11.

Stefon Diggs
Photo credit Jamie Germano - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle via USA TODAY Sports

Allen-to-Diggs in midseason form

I admittedly haven’t paid as much attention to Josh Allen as I normally would this time of year, but it’s because we know he’s the unquestioned starter, and one of the best in the league. But Wednesday I made it a point to watch him a little bit more closely, and it was evident his connection with Stefon Diggs is already in midseason form. QB1 and WR1 consistently hooked up in a variety of ways at different levels of the field.

Kaiir Elam
Photo credit Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

Elam picks Allen

The one time Allen did make a mistake it was clearly a miscommunication between him and either Gabriel Davis or Jamison Crowder (I couldn’t tell which). Neither were near the football, as rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam saw it headed his way, made a nice adjustment to get under it, and grabbed it with his outstretched hands. The rest of the defense went wild to congratulate him.

It was the first interception I’ve seen from Elam this offseason in any of the offense vs. defense periods. Elam has had a non-descript camp, and that’s not a bad thing. I haven’t noticed him making flash plays, nor getting beaten. So intercepting Allen on the last day is a great way for him to end his first minicamp.

Bills mandatory minicamp
Photo credit Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

Officially official

There was an entire, full NFL officiating crew at practice both Tuesday and Wednesday. The same crew, and one that will be intact for the NFL regular season. Players were getting feedback from them, and things they were doing right and wrong, and officials were talking with players and coaches about things they saw.

While only a rookie, Elam seems already versed in how to work that angle. On one play he had terrific coverage on Dawson Knox in the end zone, forcing the play to go the other way. But even after that, he turned right to the official to tell him that Knox was holding and exactly how. He complained about it, but no flag was thrown.

Later, Austin went low to the ground to make a catch. It looked like he got his hands under it, but it was initially declared incomplete for hitting the ground. It was near the offensive sideline, and those players started barking at the officials. They came together to discuss it. Ultimately, side Judge Sarah Thomas called it a catch, and the offense started chanting, "Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!"

It was a fun moment all-around.

Spencer Brown
Photo credit Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports

Still no Spencer Brown

Once again, the second-year offensive tackle did not participate and came out late wearing street clothes. This is the second day in a row Brown was not on the field.

Cornerback Tim Harris also missed his second-straight day, but wide receiver Jake Kumerow was back practicing in, what appeared to be, full capacity.

Matt Araiza
Photo credit Joshua Bessex - Getty Images

Matt Araiza: Holder

We finally got a chance to see Matt Araiza holding. However, it was just in limited individual drills with the other specialists and not in any sort of actual extra point or field goal environment as a team.

James Cook
Photo credit Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

James is cooking

Rookie running back James Cook is as explosive as advertised with the ball in his hands. It’s been evident through two days. He’s smaller and has a great feel for putting himself in a position to set up blocks, which allows him to then escape to the open area and use his speed.

It’s going to be really interesting to see how offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey utilizes him, especially in the passing game to get him in space.

Josh Allen
Photo credit Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

That’s a wrap

Minicamp was scheduled to go three days, but the team announced right after practice they were eliminating the third day (which usually is the case), at least as far as practice and media availability is concerned.

Players will essentially now be off until they report for training camp at St. John Fisher College in Rochester on July 23.

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