Minicamp wrap up - QB race "close," Bell update

The Bills brought their spring practice schedule to a close on Friday, but not much was revealed in terms of the much talked about quarterback pecking order that head coach Chan Gailey plans to put in place when the team reconvenes for training camp at St. John Fisher in late July.

"We have three guys," said Gailey referring to Brian Brohm, Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick. "They got pretty much equal reps during OTAs and minicamps. We'll go to camp and, like I said earlier, we'll have a pecking order but nothing is in concrete. Everybody still is going to have a chance to win the job."

Gailey made sure to reiterate that the depth chart at the start of training camp is subject to change based on performance in practice and into the preseason. He also made his first assessment of where the quarterback race stood at the close of minicamp.

"Yes," said Gailey when asked if he knows what the quarterback order will be come late July. "It's still open. Don't read too much into who takes the first snap, who takes the second snap and who takes the third snap. Don't read too much into that. It's close."

Ryan Fitzpatrick expressed the hope that he and his fellow quarterback would know where they stood before leaving the Bills training facility Friday, but Gailey stated that he will keep his quarterback pecking order to himself until the team reports to training camp later this summer. Presumably the quarterbacks will find out where they stand when they report to the St. John Fisher campus on July 28th.

Gailey was asked for his thoughts on Brian Brohm's play specifically and praised the Louisville product for his growth toward the end of the spring workouts.

"He's made a jump in my opinion in the last two weeks," said Gailey. "I thought he practiced well. We'll have to see how he progresses once we get pads on and all that. But I thought he made a good jump."

In and outMissing the entire spring practice schedule were Nic Harris and Demetrius Bell, who both spent the entire offseason rehabbing from knee surgeries. Gailey provided an update on Bell's status as it's expected that the left tackle job will be his to lose come training camp.

"He's ahead of schedule and at one time it was a question of whether he'd make the first of training camp. I think now there's no question he'll make the first of training camp," said Gailey. "It's going to be vital for that group. The continuity and the communication in the offensive line is one of the secrets to success in our business. So having that group on the same page will really help."

Also missing the final spring practice was Keith Ellison, Joe Klopfenstein, Derek Schouman and rookie Ed Wang. New to the non-participation list was Steve Johnson.

Schobel updateAaron Schobel, who has gone on record saying he's leaning toward retirement, missed the entire mandatory minicamp. It was no surprise that he did not attend, but the unresolved Schobel situation could last through the summer and into training camp. Buffalo's head coach is undeterred.

"Our stance hasn't changed, nothing's changed," said Gailey. "We would like to have had him here, but he chose not to and he's got a tough decision in his life to make and we understand that. It's not like we don't understand, we do understand. He'll have a lot of catching up to do when he gets here."

When asked if he has a deadline as to when he needs a decision from Schobel on his playing future, Gailey said he hasn't set one.

"We don't impose one, there's a natural one," he said. "Training camp gets here and you go from there. We're going to coach the dog out of those that are here and those that aren't here, we're not going to worry about it."

HighlightsHighlights from the final practice on the defensive side of the ball began with Bryan Scott who batted a pass out of the air near the line of scrimmage early in 7-on-7.

A couple of plays later Ellis Lankster broke up a throw that was intended for Marcus Easley.

And Reggie Corner got his hand on a pass that had Chad Jackson targeted during 7-on-7.

On the last day of practice however, the offense had more of the highlights. Levi Brown hit James Hardy in stride as he came across the middle for a 20-yard pass play.

Hardy followed that up with a catch close to the near sideline on a crossing route on a throw by Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Jonathan Stupar pulled in a strike over the middle from Brown in 7-on-7 for a 20-yard pickup.

Lee Evans had a pair of touchdowns in red zone. The first came on a broken play with Ryan Fitzpatrick hitting him along the far sideline for the score.

On the very next play Fitzpatrick hit him again with a well timed fade pass to the back left corner of the end zone for another touchdown.

Shawn Nelson made a high twisting catch and then turned up field to reach the end zone on a throw from Trent Edwards.

Naaman Roosevelt had a difficult catch deep over the middle from Brian Brohm during a two minute drill.

And Donald Jones helped the offense finish on a strong note when he made a catch two yards short of the goal line, faked out and then turned in to get to the end zone for a touchdown with four seconds left on the clock in the two minute drill.

Player releasedJust hours after the final minicamp practice the team waived safety Brett Johnson. The undrafted rookie free agent was a free safety in his time with the Bills, but rarely saw time on defense in the practice setting due to the veteran depth at the position.

ScheduleThe Bills now have five weeks off before training camp begins. The team will report to the St. John Fisher campus on July 28th with the first set of practices scheduled for July 29th. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for updates on the team's unsigned draft choices and other previews of the 2010 roster.

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