Here's the Bills news of note for April 5th.
**1 - Watkins still on schedule
**Sammy Watkins was all smiles as he reported for the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program this week. After a trying year compromised by a pair of foot surgeries, Watkins is getting close to a return to the field.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott confirmed that while Watkins isn't doing much on field conditioning he is still up to speed with every facet of his rehabilitation regimen.
"Yeah, Sammy looks good. He's right on schedule," McDermott said. "There [have] been no setbacks. I know he's chomping at the bit to get back on the field and we're anxious to have him back on the field, in all honesty. We just expect him right now to keep attacking that rehab process for us like he has been to this point."
Watkins missed eight games last season after he was unable to fully recover from the first foot surgery and perform up to his expectations. His second surgery came after the 2016 season.
2 - Playoff caliberWhen the offseason conditioning program got rolling this week, several of the players donned Bills T-shirts that had the phrase 'Playoff Caliber' on the back. It's coach McDermott's mantra for his team as they begin preparations for the 2017 campaign.
"That's really the day-to-day vision for what we're trying to get done," said McDermott. "You've got to earn the right (to be playoff caliber). Every team, this time of year talk about winning the Super Bowl. We want to do that as well, but what's the plan between now and then?
"That's our vision on a day-to-day basis, and that standard is to be a playoff-caliber football team, and that means every day. That's what it gets back to in terms of earning the right to win. How we meet, how we talk, how we work out, how we practice when we do practice, how we play – that's the standard we're trying to get to every day."
"It's going to take 90 guys coming together working hard and then we separate ourselves into that 53 and once we have that 53, consistency every day doing those little things so we can go out and win games on Sunday and put us in a position where we want to be," said Lorenzo Alexander.
**3 - Player friendly playbook
**Phase one of Buffalo's offseason conditioning program not only has the players training on the field and in the weight room. There is also classroom instruction with their position coaches as they get introduced to the new offensive and defensive playbooks that will be implemented by the new coaching staff. Tyrod Taylor, who was exposed to a similar version of the offensive playbook during his year with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison in Baltimore (2014), is especially intrigued with what the scheme will do for their offense.
"I'm definitely excited," said Taylor. "Going through the playbook when I received it, some of the things started to come back from when I was in Baltimore in that scheme. It's a player-friendly playbook. I know I'm excited about it, but I also believe the other playmakers on our offense are definitely going to be excited about the opportunities they are going to have to make plays."
Taylor explained what he meant by player friendly.
"Just being able to take advantage of everyone's strengths," Taylor said. "Being able to have those opportunities to go out there and make plays and I think this offense does a good job—as well as other offenses—but the playmakers we have on this team. Getting the shots to Sammy, getting Shady out in space and create space in the passing game for him as well."