Bills head coach Chan Gailey made it clear following day five of team OTAs that no quarterback to this point has stepped forward as a front runner through the first week and a half of practices. Based on the type of evaluation Gailey intends to make it’s unlikely that a leading candidate will be determined prior to training camp.
When asked if he was satisfied with the progress of the quarterbacks specifically, Gailey offered the following response.
“Never,” he said. “Again it goes back to never being satisfied. We’re making progress every day though. I see these guys understanding what we’re trying to do and I think they’re getting better. We’ve got a long way to go yet. It’s easy when you’ve got shorts on and nobody is hitting you. That’s the easy time to play quarterback. It’s a lot harder when they’re all flying around you and they’re all trying to take your head off.”
It seems clear that Gailey wants to wait to fully evaluate the quarterbacks in training camp and the preseason when practice conditions and the games are a bit closer to live regular season action.
For what it’s worth
Fast paced learning
Knowing there’s a lot of ground to cover in installing new offensive and defensive schemes, Gailey and his staff have been pushing the players with a high volume of playbook installation each day. On Wednesday there were blitz packages installed on defense, while the offense worked on draw plays, screens and blitz pickups.
Adding plays and packages at such a quick pace has challenged the players mentally and kept them intently focused. Despite the demanding schedule Gailey is not convinced it will give him and his staff time to refine those plays and packages when they get through the whole playbook the first time.
“There will be review days,” he said. “I’m not sure there will be very many refinement days. But they’ll be a lot of review days. Hopefully in those review days we do a little bit of refining, but I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where I’ll need to cancel practice.”
The defensive staff appears to be mixing and matching different combinations of players of late.
“I will say that our rookie group has added size and speed and a great deal of quickness to our football team,” said Gailey. “We’ve got a good group of young players and that includes the free agents, not just the drafted guys. We’ve got some guys that have shown a lot on the football field. They’ve really been quick to learn.”
Lee Evans made a couple of technique-sound receptions along the near sideline as he expertly got both feet in bounds on both plays.
The first team offensive line had a very good looking blitz pickup during 11-on-11 team work giving Brian Brohm enough time to hit rookie
Ashton Youboty almost had an interception on a pass for Evans late in 7-on-7.
Rookie outside linebacker
Bills defensive coordinator George Edwards said aggressiveness will be part of the team’s identity on defense and that was evident with blitz packages going in the past day or so. A handful of times the defense got quality pressure on the quarterback.
“You’ve got to like an aggressive coordinator that’s not going to have you on your heels and is going to have you in attack mode,” said
The offense, however, had answers with the draw play catching the defense over committing to the pass rush a couple of times.
With the defense pinning their ears back and coming up field hard, Fitzpatrick ran a draw play to C.J. Spiller who darted through a cavernous hole for what would’ve been big yardage.
Some defenders were caught so out of position that it prompted some hooting and hollering from some offensive onlookers that were not participating in that particular play.
Six plays later rookie back
The Bills wrap up week two of OTA practices Thursday with a 12:05 pm practice. That’s followed by a voluntary minicamp which runs Friday through Sunday.