"We want to get everyone in the same boat rowing in the same direction." That was head coach Chan Gailey's message on the first day of organized team activities today. It was directed at Marshawn Lynch, who was not in attendance, but the tone was different in Gailey's first practice than it was in Dick Jauron's tenure.
This morning the Buffalo Bills had their first official (but voluntary) workout under their new head coach. Several media outlets were there covering the action. Here's a recap of the day's news and events.
BuffaloBills.com's Chris Brown reports that players were broken into two groups in early and late morning sessions, with the late morning session starting at 11:30. The early morning group had 32 players in attendance, while "more than a dozen other players that were milling around. It's believed they’re part of the late morning group."
In a sign that it's back to business at One Bills Drive, the team has removed all televisions from the facility. "They said it's a place to work," said running back Fred Jackson. Looks like the Bills are serious about putting in the time and staying healthy. Nicholas Mendola, covering the first day for WGR 550, quoted Gailey as saying that when the team enters the building they are "going to work," and that needs to be understood.
Speaking of the strength and conditioning program, as expected the two S&C coaches have different responsibilities. One coach works with the linemen and one works with the skill position players, according to Mendola.
The best news of the day is that guard Eric Wood is in attendance and walking without a limp according to Mendola. He also reported Wood was doing all exercises that don't include jumping. Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle tweeted later in the day that Wood is "enthusiastic about his recovery and said a training camp return is realistic goal." He also added the second-year man from Louisvile "looks good but not close to practicing." That's very encouraging information.
Yesterday in introductory meetings, the Bills QBs sat down with play caller Chan Gailey. BuffaloBills.com said Gailey "went over some of the basics of the offense while also demonstrating his vast knowledge about the game and orchestrating a productive attack." All the quarterbacks received their playbooks yesterday and are busy immersing themselves in the nuances of coach Gailey's scheme.
Mendola caught up with two of those quarterbacks this morning. Trent Edwards was feeling the blame for the collapse of the 2009 season, but is looking forward to working under Gailey and mentioned the media "a million times." Edwards gave the media a pretty cold shoulder following his benching, and these are some of his first comments since the Titans game. "Edwards also talked about how he felt strongly about starting the year with Gailey as his head coach and main playcaller and glossed over the idea of this year being a 'fresh start' for him, preferring to say that it's a fresh start for the entire team." Maiorana added Edwards "wants to win back job. Thinks he can."
Also speaking with Mendola was Ryan Fitzpatrick who gave the "working hard and seeing what happens" answer to his goals.
The new 3-4 defense was formally unveiled to the players today in meetings. Kyle Williams "plans on playing the nose tackle position, but has been told to learn all the positions." Williams may be asked to play NT and DE depending on down and distance, and his spot will likely also be determined by whom the Bills draft in April. Regardless of where, rest assured Williams will be on the field in some capacity in 2010. Mendola also adds that Williams "won't necessarily add to his 304 lb. playing weight" and he "doesn't expect the Bills 3-4 to involve too much lining up directly over center."
Aaron Maybin has come back looking like a guy who wants to contribute. According to Mendola he is "excited for the 3-4" as Maybin has been saying on his Twitter feed. To add emphasis, Mendola mentioned Maybin "looks like he's wearing a Kent Hull/Rick Vaive neck collar of shoulder muscle." Maybin said he could be playing as high as 255 pounds as an OLB, and has used MMA and kickboxing as cross training.
A great sign from OTAs already is free agent addition Dwan Edwards new role as mentor. He acknowledged that many teammates have leaned on him for answers because of his experience in the 3-4 defense.
Last, but not least, Bills safety Donte Whitner spoke with fans on Twitter following this morning's session. "First team workout. I threw up today." When asked by a fan if "Club Jauron" was over, Whitner noted that it was fair to say that.
Attendees (via WGR)
Morning: Brian Brohm, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ellis Lankster, Reggie Corner, Jairus Byrd, Corey McIntyre, Lydell Sargeant, Cary Harris, Paul Posluszny, Kawika Mitchell, Jon Corto, Aaron Maybin, Geoff Hangartner, Garrison Sanborn, Jason Watkins, Andy Levitre, Jamon Meredith, Rashaad Duncan, Kirk Chambers, Andre Ramsay, Lee Evans, Chris Kelsay, Spencer Johnson, Kyle Williams, Ryan Manalac, John McCargo, Marcus Stroud, Andra Davis, Marlon Favorite, Christian Gaddis
Afternoon: Brian Moorman, Rian Lindell, Roscoe Parrish, Steve Johnson, Felton Huggins, Donte Whitner, Fred Jackson, Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin, Drayton Florence, George Wilson, Bryan Scott, Nic Harris (not participating), Keith Ellison, Eric Wood, Nick Hennessey, Chris Ellis, Dwan Edwards, Joe Klopfenstein, Jonathan Stupar, Derek Schouman
Missing, injured or absent: Marshawn Lynch, Cornell Green, Shawn Nelson, Demetrius Bell (Also not in attendance was Aaron Schobel and nobody saw James Hardy but that doesn't mean he wasn't in the building.)