The offense showed signs of improvement in the last OTA practice of the week for the Bills. Quarterbacks coach David Lee felt starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had his best day thus far on Friday.
"I didn't anticipate him hitting the back shoulder (throw) until the middle of camp and he just nailed that one," said Lee following Friday's practice. "He hit the go route, which bothered him last year especially to his left. I'm really pleased with how quickly he's taken to it, but it's not muscle memory yet because we haven't done it long enough. He's improving, but he's not yet where he's going to be."
Lee said the attributes of Fitz's game that he likes most are his confidence, toughness and his play under pressure.
"You've got to be a pressure player," said Lee. "What he did out there against Oakland last year we need him do it four or five times this year because that's what's required at our position right now. Eli Manning brought them back seven times last year. That's what our game is coming down to because everybody is so good. Everybody has great quarterbacks and receivers and running backs. It's coming down to that last series or two of a game is going to determine whether you go to the playoffs or not."
Thigpen a spectatorFellow quarterback Tyler Thigpen did not participate in practice Thursday or Friday due to a small abdominal tear.
"It's about a centimeter in length," said Thigpen. "We're just being smart about it."
Thigpen didn't say when he would return to practice.
Williams gets team workSeeing Kyle Williams doing individual position drills coming off Achilles surgery at this stage of the game was surprising enough on Tuesday. On Thursday and Friday however, he was sprinkled into 11-on-11 team work for some reps.
"I did one play in each set of team series Thursday so that was a total of three plays," said Williams. "And then (Friday) I did two plays in each set for a total of six plays. Not quite 50 percent of the plays."
For Williams having bodies leaning on him again was a bit of a change from individual drills.
"It's a lot different. Thursday it felt uncomfortable," he said. "Obviously I've been out of it for a while so being in my stance and being able to adjust things, but it comes back pretty quick and so Thursday I felt like I was kind of feeling it out and (Friday) I felt I had a little more snap and a little more get off and felt more comfortable. I want to avoid anything that gets me off to a slow start. When we get to camp I want to hit the ground running because I want to be ready to roll come September. So this is big."
Defensive install at a steady paceBills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt is taking a measured approach to installing his 4-3 defensive scheme. At the close of the first week of practices Wannstedt believes the right degree of progress has been made.
"The walk-through meetings that we had prior to OTAs gave us a chance to get a little bit of a jumpstart with it," said Wannstedt. "The coaches on defense have done a great job. We've spent a lot of time obviously going through this and the players have been outstanding and responsive to what we're doing. And we're not taking it too fast, obviously taking it probably at a little slower pace. I think at this point where we're at that's the best way to approach this thing."
What puts Wannstedt's mind at ease despite that deliberate pace with installation is the collective work ethic of his players.
"It's obvious that we've added talent," he said. "That's no secret, but the thing that excites me as much as anything is the talented guys that we brought in are good people that want to win and are willing to work. There's a lot of talented guys out there that I've been involved with, you trade for or you sign in free agency and they have talent but their agenda is not what the team's is. The guys we've signed are as good as people and attitude wise as they are in talent. I think that's what's most exciting to me."
HighlightsThe offense turned in some big pass plays on Friday. For all the highlights go to the Media Center at Buffalobills.com.
ScheduleWeek 2 of OTAs for the Bills begins on Tuesday with a 12:34 pm practice.