Zack Moss' rookie training camp being cut short due to COVID-19

Ryan Kostecka

It wasn't the start to his professional career that Zack Moss was hoping for.

Not even two weeks into his rookie training camp and Moss is heading back home. The Bills organization announced on Thursday that the it was sending its rookies home due to five positive COVID-19 tests.

According to a statement by the Bills, of the five positive tests, three of them were positive — including a rookie who is asymptomatic.

“As we were informed by medical experts as training camp opened, we expected to have positive tests for COVID,” the statement reads. “With five since the beginning of the testing period last Tuesday, we decided to take a disciplined, proactive and preventative approach to hopefully eliminate additional cases within our team.”

As of now, the team did not announce a timeline for planning to resume in-person activities at the facility. However, players are not allowed to enter the team facilities until they've passed three consecutive COVID-19 tests. What that means is that three Bills players who also tested positive did so after initially being cleared to enter the facilities.

The Bills rookies, including Moss, reported to camp on July 21 in Orchard Park, New York. Veterans have yet to report to training camp, and there is no official date as to when that will be happening.

Nov 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) drags Washington Huskies linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio (48) into the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter at Husky Stadium
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo is a great fit for Moss, who should see early playing time in the replacement of veteran Frank Gore, who the Bills did not re-sign following the completion of his one season with the team.

Moss is the perfect replacement for Gore, and he specializes in a lot of the roles Gore held with the Bills, just in a much younger body.

“Correct me if I’m wrong but I think [Moss] had zero fumbles [in his college career]. You like the ball security. ... There were a couple guys in this draft that had some really good plays but were issues, we had concerns with the ball security,” general manager Brandon Beane told beat reporters. “I love his physicality. I like that he takes care of the ball. So, you know I think more of the goal line and things like that as we did with Frank last year, you’ll see Zack do."

But with Devin Singletary's elusiveness and skillset, that should make for a dynamic combination with Moss' physical presence. Right now it's expected that Singletary will be the starter, especially after coming into his own in the latter half of last season — but don't be shocked in Moss actually gets more carries and takes over that starting role at some point.

His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield while staying in to pass protect makes Moss a viable "three-down" running back. Coming back for his senior season, he was really able to showcase his ability to turn into a receiver as his quarterback at Utah, Tyler Huntley, consistently found Moss out of the backfield for big gains.

Also, with the strength of Buffalo's offensive line, Moss should be the go-to back in the fourth quarter when the Bills have the lead and want to bleed the clock. His ability to run through the tackles and keep hold of the ball are huge assets to any team looking to close out games.

“Zack, I think he’s a very good complement to Devin. Devin has that shiftiness. Zack’s gonna be more of that banging in there. Not that he can’t dodge, but he’s going to lower that shoulder and try to, a little bit like Frank did at an older age for us,” said Beane. “He’s going to be more of the physical [type]. He’s not necessarily going to try to avoid contact. He can but I think his best thing is, in the end, [physicality].”

The best guess, particularly now that Buffalo's rookies have been sidelined, is that Singletary will begin the season getting a 60-40/55-45 advantage in carries, especially as the Bills figure out what works best for them. This also keeps both players fresh for much longer while bringing Moss along slowly since he won't get a full offseason is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But when he finds his footing, particularly in the second half of the season, I would expect those number to turn in advantage for Moss as takes over the starting role.

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Twitter — @UtahUtes_SI and Ryan Kostecka at @Ryan_Kostecka

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