In the case of some players, Week One of the preseason offers the first chance at playing in an NFL game. Regardless of the situation, a player’s first snaps as a pro are very important as they serve as a first impression.
For Buffalo Bills rookie running back Devin Singletary, however, his first plays were met with an increasing amount of scrutiny, as the former Florida Atlantic University star was looking to strengthen his case in a wide-open position battle for the role of the club’s top RB.
His stat line on Thursday night – nine rushes for 27 yards, and three receptions for 21 yards – isn’t eye-popping. However, looking back at his performance, the 21-year-old demonstrated above-average vision in the contest.
After his first pair of runs had him bottled up at the line of scrimmage, Singletary was able to find the hole on his third run of the game for a solid gain.
His next attempt was a run to the right, but it was a shifty cut-back to the left that gave him some room. A diving defensive effort by Indianapolis Colts linebacker E.J. Speed prevented the third-round pick from busting it open for a larger gain.
In a third-and-one situation, the RB managed to bounce it away from the congested right side of the line, finding a hole up the middle to pick up the first down plus some extra yardage.
In the passing game, he displayed his receiving abilities on his second catch of the game. His route led him to the soft spot of the Colts’ defence. After making the catch, the diminutive tailback did an excellent job eluding the tackle and picking up the first down.
On his final reception of the contest, Singletary got open on a well-designed screen pass. He then followed his blockers and bounced off a tackler to move the chains again.
Sure, there were a couple of runs that kept him in check, but with rookie running backs, the most important thing initially is seeing if they can show some signs of being a solid runner. And while he doesn’t have elite size or speed, it appears Singletary may have the vision to make up for it, as well as the pass-catching prowess. Starting the season as the team’s third-down RB seems like a great way to acclimate the rookie to the NFL.