Leslie Frazier: Bills need Kaiir Elam to 'play well for us early'

Nick Wojton
Bills Wire

Pressure? What pressure?

That’s how Buffalo Bills first-round rookie Kaiir Elam is looking at his first year in the pros.

"There’s no pressure," Elam said earlier this month from Buffalo’s spring practices. "Football is football. I go out there, listen to my coaches, make plays and have fun. At the end of the day, help this team win, that’s the most important thing." 

Well, someone might want to give Elam a heads up. Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier pretty bluntly that the bar is raised for Elam this week.

Buffalo Bills first-round NFL football draft pick Kaiir Elam stands with a helmet during an introductory news conference Friday, April 29, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

"We need Kaiir to step up and play well for us early," Frazier said via video conference on Tuesday.

Fact is, Frazier can get away with saying that because everyone knew that regardless of what Elam said.

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The Bills will be without Tre’Davious White early in 2022 as he rehabs his injured knee. His status for opening day is likely in jeopardy and Frazier’s comments all but solidify that Buffalo’s coaching staff does not expect White to be back when the regular season gets going.

That’s where Elam clearly comes into the picture and every second for him on the practice field is going to be vital toward getting him ready for the regular season without White.

But there’s faith.

Frazier said even though spring practices aren’t the most intense workouts, especially compared to training camp, Elam’s still taking steps.

"One of the reasons we were excited about (Elam) was because of his press [coverage] ability. This is a chance for him to grow his game a little bit, OTAs, where the rules are a little bit different," Frazier explained. "He gets a chance to learn a little bit more off [coverage] which he didn’t do a lot of at Florida and be able to grow in that area so we’re seeing it as a positive."

Elam has a long way to go until the Bills will be fully confident in his ability to takeover starting snaps. But the good news is that the team has got an equally lengthy distance until September.