The first week of OTA workouts came to a close for the Bills on Thursday and the schedule by all accounts has been demanding. But most players that have been on the roster the past few years are willing to do anything if it means winning come September.
“Even if we thought we were working hard before, it’s a lot harder now,” said Donte Whitner. “So it’s almost like a welcome to the NFL type of thing. The weight room, its totally different thing from the way we lift, the style of lifting, the things we do, the running. It’s almost going back to college knowing how hard you work, the conditioning, running the gassers and the times that we have to be here and the amount of work that we have to put in. That’s what it’s going to take for us to win everybody in top peak shape. We’ve been in the top 3 the past couple of year in injuries. That should help us, so I think we’ll be pretty good.”
“It’s important to study and know your stuff because we’re really hitting on the fly,” said Chris Kelsay. “Stuff is going in really quick with installation we’re putting in four or five defenses a day and we don’t have a lot of time in between when we get here in the morning and practice time. It’s important to stay on top of your studies, get your film work done and allow it to sink in and most importantly have it translate on the field.”
The flip flopping at the top of the quarterback rotation continues between Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick. After Fitzpatrick was first through in the rotation Wednesday, the first sets of reps went back to Edwards on Thursday.
Edwards got a few more reps during the run game portion of team work and was followed by Fitzpatrick and then Brohm and Brown.
In 7-on-7 Edwards was again followed by Fitzpatrick with Edwards getting another series after that followed again by his quarterback counterpart.
In 11-on-11 Brohm was the first under center and was followed by Edwards, Fitzpatrick then Brown.
Finding the tight ends
The quarterbacks were sharper Thursday as a group than perhaps they were all week. Their accuracy is rounding back into form and they were looking early and often for their tight ends.
Part of that might have been in part because Lee Evans was not in attendance at Thursday’s voluntary workout, but all three tight ends that were working made plays in the passing game. Free agent signee Michael Matthews had a couple of quality receptions with Shawn Nelson and Jonathan Stupar also making contributions.
Matthews may be able to offer more in the passing game than initially anticipated with his history of being an in line blocker.
OT Nick Hennessey, who was on the Bills practice squad as a rookie last year, got a couple of reps at right tackle with the first unit before veteran Cornell Green jumped back in with the ones.
With Evans not in attendance Chad Jackson and Steve Johnson were the first two wideouts through in the rotation to start. FB Corey McIntyre was also not in attendance.
Rookie seventh-round pick Kyle Calloway has seen most of his work at guard, but took a handful of snaps at tackle. Calloway played both positions in his time at Iowa.
Calloway admitted the pace has picked up with the veterans now out there, but with everyone new to the staff and the scheme as well as the blocking techniques up front it’s made it easier for him to adjust.
“We’re all on a level playing field,” said Calloway. “It does, it really does because it allows the coach, while he’s coaching the veterans and the starters it’s relevant to everyone. We’re all learning the technique, the plays. We’re doing basic stuff right now, but he’s really going into detail about it which has really allowed me to get some learning in.”
Defensively, the play callers in the defensive huddle for the three defensive units have been Andra Davis, Ryan Manalac and rookie Mike Wright.
Safety Bryan Scott was limited Thursday and did not participate in team work.
During the run game portion of team work, Spencer Johnson knifed into the backfield to drop C.J. Spiller for a would-be loss.
Roscoe Parrish had a diving catch over the middle on a throw from Trent Edwards.
Chad Jackson pulled in a deep ball from Edwards down the far sideline.
Michael Matthews made a good looking reception over the middle on a pass from Fitzpatrick. Matthews later showed strong hands pulling in a pass despite very tight coverage.
Fitzpatrick also made a solid throw into double coverage to hit Felton Huggins for first down yardage.
Shawn Nelson ran a well-timed route enabling him to hook up with Brohm for a 15-yard gain along the near sideline.
Jonathan Stupar made the most difficult catch of the day with his twisting over the shoulder reception in tight coverage from Levi Brown.
Steve Johnson made a nice hands catch on a throw behind his body to convert for a first down.
Defensively, Paul Posluszny had a pass breakup on an underneath throw.
Reggie Corner had an interception on a pass intended for Huggins.
Donte Whitner had a pass breakup in 7-on-7.
Rookie Arthur Moats had good coverage on Shawn Nelson over the middle to force an incompletion.
Jon Corto had a pair of nice back-to-back plays. First, he broke up a pass in centerfield, then had a would-be sack on the next play on a blitz.
Lydell Sargeant closed out practice with a pass breakup on a throw intended for Nelson.
The Bills are back on the practice field Tuesday, June 1st for the second week of OTAs for a 12:05 pm workout.