The Bills closed out their OTA practices Friday and their head coach was generally pleased with what he and his coaching staff were able to accomplish with the players over the 10 days of workouts.
"We've learned a ton about individual players over the last few weeks," said Chan Gailey. "We've been able to install a lot of our offense, defense, special teams. So we've gotten a ton out of this."
The practice picked up steam as it went along with the offense turning in as many plays as they have in any session thus far. It began on the first play of 11-on-11 when Donald Jones won his one-on-one matchup on a deep post with Ryan Fitzpatrick hitting him in stride for a 40-yard pass play. Jones and Fitzpatrick also hooked up for a touchdown during red zone work on a post pattern.
Fitzpatrick sounds pretty convinced that Jones can have a bounce back year after ankle injuries compromised his first season as a starter last season.
"Looking at Donald's game last year against the Patriots when he had 100 yards and some of the success he had going deep, he's proven it," said Fitzpatrick. "I'm just hoping that he stays healthy this year and I think he'll have a good year."
Not long after Jones' big play in the passing game C.J. Spiller pulled off a nifty juke in the hole to fake out a defender, which drew some 'whoops' from those along the sideline as he tore into the secondary for extra yardage.
Other players that stood out offensively were Marcus Easley, who had a 30-yard touchdown catch from Tyler Thigpen and a difficult catch in traffic along the near sideline. Easley rose up and out jumped two defenders for the ball before coming down with it for an 18-yard pickup.
David Clowney made a pair of nice back shoulder receptions on a two-minute drive including the touchdown catch to cap it with no time left on the clock.
Ruvell Martin had a twisting, turning touchdown reception and Scott Chandler had a difficult fingertip grab over a defender along the near sideline.
HighlightsFor all the highlights you can go to the Media Center at Buffalobills.com.
Brad Smith on the moveBrad Smith has been exclusively lining up at quarterback during the OTA practices. On Thursday and then again on Friday Smith lined up at receiver for the first time this offseason. Gailey insists the team has a specific approach for the multi-faceted Smith.
"There is a plan," said Gailey. "It's not like we just flip a coin and decide what he does each day. We worked him at quarterback, which we needed him to do that. He'll go into the season, unless something major changes which I don't foresee, he'll be the third quarterback so he's got to have enough quarterback knowledge to get you out of a game. He's a very good special teams player and can line up and do that. He can play receiver and help us there. So there are a lot of things."
Smith, who had been in all the quarterback meetings until Thursday, admits it's never easy to switch on the fly, but he's ready to fill any role he asked to play.
"Changing it up," he said. "Transformers, but I just come in every day and whatever coach tells me to work on that's what I'm going to work on. The last two days were about going out with the receivers and getting acclimated with some stuff out there. I just do what I'm told."
The full offseason has afforded the offensive coaching staff of expanding their plans for Smith in the team's Wildcat package, something that wasn't available to them with Smith's late summer signing last year.
"We've yet to put in a Wildcat, which we'll do and he'll do that," said Gailey of Smith. "It's great that he can do so many things. It may hurt him in some respects because he doesn't lock in on one thing, but for our football team he helps us tremendously by being a very versatile player to help us in a lot of areas."
Dareus absentBuffalo's attendance for the voluntary OTAs has been excellent over the past three weeks, but Marcell Dareus had to miss the last two days to handle some personal business back home in Alabama.
Gailey was encouraged by the commitment of his team particularly the veteran players.
"I think they have a mindset of wanting to be a championship football team and you can't be a championship football team unless you take the proper steps to get there and this is one of the proper steps, is for everybody to be here," said Gailey. "When you have your great players showing up all the time that gives you a chance to be a successful football team."
ScheduleThe Bills resume spring practices on Tuesday when they start mandatory minicamp, which runs through next Thursday. Tuesday's practice is scheduled for 3:15 pm.