The Bills closed out their OTA practices Friday and their head coach was generally pleased with what he and his coaching staff were able to accomplish with the players over the 10 days of workouts.
“We’ve learned a ton about individual players over the last few weeks,” said Chan Gailey. “We’ve been able to install a lot of our offense, defense, special teams. So we’ve gotten a ton out of this.”
The practice picked up steam as it went along with the offense turning in as many plays as they have in any session thus far. It began on the first play of 11-on-11 when
Fitzpatrick sounds pretty convinced that Jones can have a bounce back year after ankle injuries compromised his first season as a starter last season.
“Looking at Donald’s game last year against the Patriots when he had 100 yards and some of the success he had going deep, he’s proven it,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’m just hoping that he stays healthy this year and I think he’ll have a good year.”
Not long after Jones’ big play in the passing game
Other players that stood out offensively were
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Brad Smith has been exclusively lining up at quarterback during the OTA practices. On Thursday and then again on Friday Smith lined up at receiver for the first time this offseason. Gailey insists the team has a specific approach for the multi-faceted Smith.
“There is a plan,” said Gailey. “It’s not like we just flip a coin and decide what he does each day. We worked him at quarterback, which we needed him to do that. He’ll go into the season, unless something major changes which I don’t foresee, he’ll be the third quarterback so he’s got to have enough quarterback knowledge to get you out of a game. He’s a very good special teams player and can line up and do that. He can play receiver and help us there. So there are a lot of things.”
Smith, who had been in all the quarterback meetings until Thursday, admits it’s never easy to switch on the fly, but he’s ready to fill any role he asked to play.
“Changing it up,” he said. “Transformers, but I just come in every day and whatever coach tells me to work on that’s what I’m going to work on. The last two days were about going out with the receivers and getting acclimated with some stuff out there. I just do what I’m told.”
The full offseason has afforded the offensive coaching staff of expanding their plans for Smith in the team’s Wildcat package, something that wasn’t available to them with Smith’s late summer signing last year.
“We’ve yet to put in a Wildcat, which we’ll do and he’ll do that,” said Gailey of Smith. “It’s great that he can do so many things. It may hurt him in some respects because he doesn’t lock in on one thing, but for our football team he helps us tremendously by being a very versatile player to help us in a lot of areas.”
Buffalo’s attendance for the voluntary OTAs has been excellent over the past three weeks, but
Gailey was encouraged by the commitment of his team particularly the veteran players.
“I think they have a mindset of wanting to be a championship football team and you can’t be a championship football team unless you take the proper steps to get there and this is one of the proper steps, is for everybody to be here,” said Gailey. “When you have your great players showing up all the time that gives you a chance to be a successful football team.”
The Bills resume spring practices on Tuesday when they start mandatory minicamp, which runs through next Thursday. Tuesday’s practice is scheduled for 3:15 pm.