The beginning of training camp already breeds new hope for every team in the NFL. For the Bills there is the added change of a new coaching staff, something some of Buffalo's veteran players have been through before. But as the more experienced players set foot on the St. John Fisher campus they admitted the collective vibe with respect to their coaching leadership was decidedly different from years past.
"Every coach is different, obviously, but there is a sense of a new beginning this year," said Chris Kelsay, who is on his fifth coach in eight years with the Bills. "Coach (Chan) Gailey and his staff, I believe, bring more of a disciplinary feel to, not only the meeting rooms, the practice field, obviously, but the entire atmosphere around the organization. I think that's what we need."
Gailey hasn't harped on any newfound principles that will guarantee success on the field. He's preached fundamentals, hard work and attention to detail thus far and that's expected to continue. But the way in which he demands them is clear and direct. Through the spring his players responded. Now there is an expectation on the part of the coaching staff for more and the players sound ready to deliver.
"He's bringing in a different vibe and a lot of people are going to try and feed off of it," said Fred Jackson. "So, right now, I think we're all excited with what he can bring and what he's going to try and get done. I think a lot of players are buying into it and we're excited about seeing what we can do this year."
As much as the spring practice schedule allowed the players to feel out their new head coach on the practice field, they know that training camp is a different animal. With the pads going on most returning players are eager to see what changes there will be from past camps with the expectation that it will be more physical.
"It's a little different feel, but I won't know exactly what that feel is until we get going and see what the different schedule is going to be and the different practices," said Kyle Williams. "Camp is something that you come into and you have to work at and get your team going and start to grow and learn each other a little bit better than we did at OTAs.
"I know we have more two-a-days, which is part of camp and you have to do it. (Coach Gailey) stressed toughness and the team being smart so I know we're going to work on those things. I don't know how long practice is going to be, but I would anticipate us getting after it pretty good."
The players that experienced the frustrating fourth quarter collapses of 2009 believe an added dose of discipline can go a long way in not only their execution series to series, but in their ability to preserve fourth quarter leads instead of squandering them.
"We've got a pretty young team and we need to do things the right way," Kelsay said. "We've got a long road, but we're all in it 100 percent – our hearts and our minds – and that's what it takes."