Zay Jones joked that it felt nice to look like the rest of his teammates again.
For the first time this camp, Jones was wearing blue instead of a red non-contact jersey and had a full green light to practice as normal on Monday.
It was an eventful day.
Jones made a pretty leaping grab to open a 7-on-7 session. A few plays later, he was on the receiving end of a couple Micah Hyde punches. Both players brushed off the incident after practice.
“It’s camp. The sun’s not out. It’s Monday. It was just one of those days,” Hyde said.
Jones says he still had the intensity and was still competing at a high level, even with the red jersey. Monday’s practice was his first without restriction since last December.
“Being away from the game gives you an appreciation of the game,” Jones said. “Just loving the game again. Realizing the reasons that I play and overall improvement of my game.”
Kelvin Benjamin knows what it feels like to be a receiver coming back from injury.
“You’re excited, but you know you have to trust the training room,” Benjamin said. “Trust your coaches. Trust that they are going to take care of you. At the same time, once you’re out there on the field, just go. Just give it your all. Don’t try to baby it. Just go.”
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is happy with Jones’ rehab and says that he’s improved every day. However, getting back to practice is an important hurdle.
“It’s one thing sitting in the classroom and listening to it and being able to answer questions and do all that,” Daboll said. “It’s another thing when you’re going out, there’s a defender in front of you and you have to read a particular coverage and run a route adjustment.”
Jones thinks he’s in a much better place this year than he was in his rookie training camp and much further along as an NFL player.
“I’ve learned more mentally and physically about myself moving ahead. That’s just the leaps and bounds you take as the seasons go by as a professional,” Jones said.
Jones seemed strong and confident during a plus practice for him on Monday, even with the fight. He seems in a good place.
“I’m enjoying it. It’s great to be back out here amongst a great team,” Jones said. “This team’s going to go very far. We’ve got a great vision ahead. We just got to keep working.”
AJ McCarron (ankle) and Nathan Peterman (right arm) both were full go at practice despite dings in practice yesterday. Peterman wore a sleeve on his right arm Monday.
Josh Allen took all the reps with the second team on Monday, in what appeared to be a promotion.
None of the quarterbacks were particularly distinguishing. Allen had a brutal interception to Breon Borders on a floater off his back foot. Peterman ended the day with a pick in a hurry up drill.
The third team offense had the ball on the ten yard line with five seconds to go, needing a touchdown. Peterman was flushed from the pocket and running right, but his throw to a tight end was behind the target and Julian Stanford made the interception.
The first and second team offenses did not get past midfield in the drill.