PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WIVB) – So far this summer, the Bills secondary has dealt with injuries to a few starters and because of that, some of the young defensive backs are getting valuable reps with the first-team defense.
Jordan Poyer is still out with an elbow injury so backup safeties Jaquan Johnson and Damar Hamlin are splitting time with the 1’s. Hamlin is entering his second season in the NFL after the Bills drafted him in the sixth-round last year.
News 4 Sports reporter Heather Prusak talked one-on-one with Hamlin after practice on Monday at training camp.
“I’m a lot more comfortable, you know I’m just seeing everything for a second time, it just allows me to just trust my instincts and just play ball but I still got a lot more room to grow,” Hamlin explained.
Hamlin isn’t taking for granted his time with the starters in training camp.
“It’s very valuable, you know going against the best quarterback in the league it just allows me to just see what I gotta work on in my game, see how he’s reading me when I’m at safety and just allowing myself to play off of him,” Hamlin said.
“I feel like that’s the biggest thing that is the most valuable just getting those reps with the best quarterback in the league.”
Poyer and Micah Hyde were not at spring workouts so Hamlin also got a bulk of reps with the starters before training camp as well. He made sure to take that experience with him during that break between the spring and camp, working on whatever it takes to stay healthy for the upcoming season.
“Conditioning and I really just try to keep everything the same as far as my approach to any season. Just working on my speed, working on my footwork, getting stronger, just getting more durable for a long season,” Hamlin said.
He also gets to experience life in the NFL with one of his childhood friends and college teammate at Pitt, Dane Jackson.
“Very special, you see as soon as you said it I smile just because it’s something that everybody don’t get to experience playing with one of your brothers, your childhood dream. Sometimes I just glance over at him in meetings and stuff and just be like wow like we still at it,” Hamlin smiled.
“I can remember like how we used to sit during Pitt meetings and it’s pretty much the same way ain’t nothing changed. So I hope this thing can last forever.”
So does it ever get old?
“Nah, never. He gets on my nerves a lot but it don’t get old,” Hamlin laughed.
It seems like Jaquan Johnson is the frontrunner for the number three safety job but Hamlin could see extra snaps in the regular season if Poyer’s injury lasts longer than expected.