Rookie minicamp can be a daunting challenge for the newest Buffalo Bills. In essence they're coming in blind, unaware of their surroundings, unfamiliar with their teammates and coaches and completely new to their respective offensive or defensive system. It's done little however, to dampen the spirit of Buffalo's draft choices as they prepare for their first practice as professionals late Friday morning.
"I've been ready to go," said top pick C.J. Spiller, who made a pre-draft visit to One Bills Drive and then a post-draft visit a day after being taken ninth overall by Buffalo. "I like the group of guys that we have here. Everyone is ready to work hard and everyone wants to be on one page."
Buffalo's draft choices were climbing the walls the past two weeks, knowing close to half the NFL clubs have already completed their rookie minicamps.
"I was really looking forward to getting up to Buffalo as soon as I could once I got drafted," said fourth-round pick Marcus Easley. "But we had to wait until the following week."
"One of my buddies got drafted by the Packers and they had their rookie camp last week," said Bills third-round pick Alex Carrington. "I'm ready to get going."
Perhaps the biggest challenge sits in the lap of seventh-round pick Levi Brown. The quarterback from Troy will have to execute plays on the field at speed less than 24 hours after being handed the playbook. That's why he tried to get his hands on Buffalo's offensive scheme sooner than Thursday night.
"When they called me and told me they were drafting me one of the first things I asked them was if they could send me a playbook, but the coaches were not real comfortable about sending the playbook through the mail," Brown told Buffalobills.com. "I was hoping to get at least a little bit of an idea on what we're going to be doing. Still I'm incredibly excited to get started."
The main reason why is for the five practices between now and Sunday, it will just be Brown and Brian Brohm taking all the snaps at quarterback.
"You can sit there and look at a playbook all day and draw it up on the board, but it's never quite the same as actually getting out there and doing it," said Brown. "The more reps I get early, the more it's going to help me. So I'd take every rep if they'd let me and worry about icing my arm after the weekend."
Spiller, who will no doubt be lining up in the backfield behind Brown at times, can't wait to see what Coach Gailey has in store for Buffalo's offense.
"Coach Gailey knows how to use his guys," said Spiller. "So I'm excited. I'm looking forward to going in there and learning from the coaches, and learn what my role is for this team."
At the same time the rookies realize there are going to be some first and second-year players practicing with them that have experienced the demands of an NFL season and are already adjusted to the speed of the NFL game.
"It's going to be a big change," said second-round pick Torell Troup. "There's better competition, stronger guys. I'm a young guy, but I feel like going into (rookie) camp I'll get some experience and come training camp I'll be okay."
While there might be some moments of apprehension, on the whole, the rookies just want to get started with the next chapter of their football careers. Having not played real football for the better part of the last four months has only made them more impatient.
"I mean I practiced and played in the Senior Bowl, but that was only a week. That was like a tease," said Carrington. "It seems like forever that we've been doing all this combine training and now we can finally get back into football."