Friday, June 25, 2010
Bills minicamp notes and observations
By Tim Graham
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills wrapped up their three-day minicamp Friday and broke for the summer. Here are some random thoughts from their five practices ...
It was difficult to get any kind of idea what the offense will look like. Not only did head coach Chan Gailey rotate his top three quarterbacks through first-team rotations, but he also did the same with his skill players. For example, in a seven-on-seven drill Thursday afternoon, Trent Edwards took the "first-team" reps, but his touchdown passes went to Chad Jackson and undrafted rookie David Nelson.
If Chan Gailey knows who his starting quarterback will be, he didn't tip his hand during minicamp.
I'm no scout, but I thought Edwards looked better than Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm. Edwards threw a nice ball and didn't seem to make as many mistakes as Fitzpatrick and Brohm did.
Brohm did close out the last practice well. Shortly after throwing an interception right to linebacker Andra Davis, he came back in a two-minute drill and found Donald Jones for a touchdown on the final play of minicamp.
Wide receiver James Hardy, the 41st overall pick two years ago, looked like he still was getting into shape. Gailey said Friday that Hardy had been slowed down this spring but didn't say why. Turns out Hardy underwent sports hernia surgery after last season and couldn't work out for six weeks, a league source said.
Buffalo's defensive backs have incredible hands. There's an old saying that if defensive backs could catch, then they would be wide receivers. But when I watched the Bills' secondary go through individual drills, the ball rarely touched the turf.
Running back Marshawn Lynch didn't look obviously out of place for having missed almost every voluntary offseason workout, but Gailey noted Lynch was behind the rest of the offense in terms of knowing the playbook."I don't think he's caught up," Gailey said. "You can't miss that much and be caught up, but he seems to be a fairly quick study."
Aaron Schobel still appears on Buffalo's roster at outside linebacker, even though the two-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher hasn't shown up all spring or summer and came close to announcing his retirement two weeks ago. Gailey called the July 29 start to training camp a "natural" deadline."
Our stance hasn't changed," Gailey said. "Nothing has changed. We would have liked to have him here, but he chose not to. 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. He'll have a lot of catching up to do when he gets here."
Left tackle Demetrius Bell sat out the entire offseason while recovering from knee surgery, but Gailey said Bell will be ready to participate when training camp opens.
The Bills have one of the league's best kicker-punter combinations in Rian Lindell and Brian Moorman. The club didn't bother to bring in any other legs. The Bills didn't spend much time practicing field goals, but when they did Lindell was perfect, hitting from as deep as 53 yards by my spot.
Compared to the other AFC East workouts I attended, the Bills were quieter and more reserved -- probably due to the fact they're installing a new offense and learning a 3-4 defense. The Miami Dolphins have that militaristic feel under barking head coach Tony Sparano, while the New York Jets are highly animated with a lot of trash talk going back and forth between the offense and defense.