After the dust settled on the much ballyhooed quarterback pecking order Thursday there was a lot of other developments to digest concerning Buffalo's offensive and defensive lineups as training camp practices got underway.
First and foremost was the tone that was set by head coach Chan Gailey as he had his players dressed in full pads for the first practice. It was a bit foreign to some players who have been on the roster the past couple of years.
"It was just a little bit different style," said Trent Edwards. "A little different set up, some longer periods here and there, some shorter periods here and there. For the most part the one big thing was we haven't been in pads when Dick (Jauron) was here the past few years and now we're padded up and we're going full go right away and that's kind of the mentality here where we're hitting and banging heads right away and that's kind of the attitude we're going to take."
As far as Gailey was concerned it was no big deal.
"We're in training camp, aren't we," Gailey asked. "Training camp is a time to go to work. We only have a certain number of opportunities to get out here and get better and be a physical football team so we take advantage of every opportunity that we have."
Moving around with the pads on proved to be an adjustment for a lot of the players with Gailey characterizing the practice as a little sluggish, though he was relatively pleased with execution.
"It was the first day with pads on and they're trying to get back into it carrying pads and that's not an easy thing all the time," said Gailey. "But I thought the mental retention that we had during the course of practice was very good. From what they did in OTAs and minicamp to (Thursday), they retained a great deal, which will pay dividends down the line."
Torbor taking first team repsMaybin toward the tail end of minicamp practices was not getting first team reps early in series with the defensive unit during team work. That carried over into training camp Thursday as veteran Reggie Torbor was one the field with the starters at the weak outside linebacker position.
Maybin was sprinkled in from time to time, but largely ran with the second unit. Torbor has the advantage of knowing the 3-4 system having played in a similar version of it in Miami the past two seasons. The second-year pass rusher will need to continue to show he has a firm grasp of the scheme to garner more time with the ones.
Bell and Wood backAmong the most positive news was the fact that both Demetrius Bell and Eric Wood were on the practice field in full pads with their teammates Thursday. Wood looked fit and operated at his familiar right guard spot as if he didn't miss a beat despite a long rehabilitation from a broken leg.
"It felt pretty good," said Wood after his first full practice. "It's more just getting used to it and letting your knees and ankles feel what it's like to hit people again and pushing guys that are 300 pounds. There's nothing you can do in the weight room to replicate that besides being on the field. Being out here on the field is what's going to get me back."
"He's had to come a long way," said Gailey. "I think that tells you a lot about Eric Wood's makeup. He would've been out earlier if he could've. He's proven to be a fast healer, which some are and some aren't. He's able to push through the tough times, which a lot of guys are not able to do that. He's made an amazing recovery and we're the benefactors of that."
The approach with Bell is a bit more cautious in nature. Bell participated in the walk through portion of practice as well as individual position drills, but was held out of team work in 11-on-11.
"He's not quite ready," said Gailey. "We're being careful with him. We're going to ease him back in. He didn't have the advantage that Eric Wood had of taking the last couple OTAs and minicamp practices. So we're trying to let him ease into it."
Bell understands he has to take his cue from the trainers and coaches with respect to reps in the team setting, but is anxious to be full go soon.
"I felt pretty good," he said. "I'm glad to be back after seven, eight months. I thought I did good. I just got to get back in the swing of things and get back to the same page as my teammates. I don't think I'm far off, but still I have a ways to go just getting back totally."
When Bell was not working with the first unit in team work Jamon Meredith manned the starting left tackle position with fifth-round pick Ed Wang working with the second unit on the blind side.
Speaking of Meredith, when Bell was lined up at left tackle during the walk through portion of practice, Meredith got a few reps at the right tackle spot with the second unit. If Bell progresses well do not be surprised if Meredith pushes veteran starter Cornell Green at the right tackle spot.
Aside from the Meredith for Bell switch the starting group was largely unchanged with Andy Levitre, Geoff Hangartner, Wood and Green manning the other four positions.
The second unit saw a pair of undrafted rookies across the front. Left guard Cordaro Howard and center Sean Allen worked on the interior with veteran right guard Kirk Chambers. Wang and Nick Hennessey were the tackles.
Number two receiver updateWho would get the nod to line up opposite top receiver Lee Evans with the first unit on offense was a question that was answered Thursday with Steve Johnson being handed that role at the outset of camp.
"He earned it in OTAs and minicamp," said Gailey. "We did that with most every position, whatever somebody earned in OTAs and minicamp. If you don't do it that way, then you're saying OTAs and minicamp weren't worth anything. So, we tried to make sure we used that as our evaluation process as we go into training camp."
Johnson saw most of the reps as the second wideout with Roscoe Parrish lining up as the primary slot receiver. Chad Jackson, Felton Huggins, James Hardy and David Nelson all saw time with the second unit with Huggins and Hardy turning in some nice plays Thursday.
"I thought at the start of OTAs that he was just average," said Gailey of Hardy. "That's exactly what I thought. But as we went further and further and further down the line, he continued to improve. He got a better idea of what's going on and he's right in the thick of things. There's a bunch of them and that's a good thing probably. It looks like Lee [Evans] is the only one that's proven and everybody else has got to prove themselves and we'll see who rises to the top."
So much like the quarterback competition, the number two receiver role will remain open as well.
DefenseOn the defensive side as expected Marcus Stroud, Kyle Williams and Dwan Edwards manned the starting defensive line. With Paul Posluszny sidelined Kawika Mitchell lined up alongside Andra Davis at the inside linebacker spots with Chris Kelsay and Reggie Torbor at the outside backer positions. The secondary was manned by Terrence McGee, Drayton Florence, Donte Whitner and Jairus Byrd.
Leodis McKelvin would come in to play right cornerback in nickel situations with Florence moving into the slot.
Kelsay left practice early with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Chris Ellis. Gailey said Kelsay is expected to miss some practice time.
HighlightsRoscoe Parrish got things started in 7-on-7 when he made a nice outstretched reception down the seam on a throw from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Marcus Easley showed good feet along the sidelines as he made a couple of receptions on both the near and far side of the field on throws from Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm.
Brohm also hit James Hardy for a 35-yard touchdown reception as Hardy jumped higher than the defender to make the catch.
Felton Huggins pulled in a touchdown catch on a well thrown ball by Levi Brown.
Defensively, Leodis McKelvin posted the first interception of camp on a throw intended for Lee Evans from Fitzpatrick.
Reggie Corner had a pass break up in the end zone on a pass that was intended for Donald Jones.
And Chris Ellis got good penetration in 11-on-11 and batted down a Trent Edwards pass at the line of scrimmage.
ScheduleThe Bills have a pair of practices scheduled for Friday, but just the night practice is open to the public. The first night practice of camp is scheduled for 7 pm.