ORCHARD PARK, NY (WKBW) -- The Bills kicked off voluntary organized team activities today at One Bills Drive. New Head Coach Chan Gailey was happy with the participation, but there were two notable players missing.
Running Back Marshawn Lynch, and Aaron Schobel were not in attendance.
Read below for transcripts from Head Coach Chan Gailey and QB's Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Chan Gailey Comments
On having the full team out on the field for the first time:
First of all, it was good to get back out on a field and it was pretty close to the whole group so that was good. There was a lot of effort. We don’t know what we’re doing, but that’s to be expected. Actually, some of the younger guys that have gone through the earlier mini camp knew more than the older guys. So that was a positive. We’re trying to make sure we lay a foundation, that’s what this whole thing is about, laying a foundation.
On how long it will take for players to adjust to new positions and a new scheme:
Every guy is different, that’s part of it. You have to understand that you can only move as fast as the lowest common denominator will let you move. So whoever is having the most trouble picking it up, that’s the speed we can go at.
On how the four quarterbacks played today:
We don’t need to cancel practice. We have a lot of work to do in the throwing game. We’re rusty and we have to continue to work route running as well as throwing the football. I could tell we haven’t thrown the football- we’ve thrown it individually but not with bodies flying around and that’s a lot different.
On Marcus Easley:
Marcus has a great burst. He doesn’t look like he’s running fast but he is. He’s got very good hands, he has strong hands. That’s been two impressive things about him so far.
On how the quarterbacks will be rotated:
We have a schedule for the entire OTAs, both mini camps. We have it worked out where there will be equal number of reps. These first two weeks, the first six practices, we’re giving Fitz [Ryan Fitzpatrick] and Trent [Edwards] a few more of the reps because Brian [Brohm] and Levi [Brown] had the whole rookie mini camp. Those two guys had almost 100 reps a piece in that mini camp so we’re trying to catch these two guys up because they haven’t had any reps yet. So the first six practices, the majority of reps will go to those two guys and then it’ll start to even out more after these two weeks.
On if a quarterback competition is changed at all when installing a new offense:
Well I could see both sides of that. You can call it both ways. If you had open competition but everything was set in place, everybody else would know what they were doing so it might make it easier to determine who’s making faster progress. But at the same time, with everybody learning it, everybody starting at ground zero. It’s not just statistics you go by- you have to look at who’s grasping things and who gets it. Because they might be out there with a receiver that’s a rookie or when you do the rotation, they may be out there against the thirds. And when you’re a rookie DB, it’s not fair to evaluate him against a rookie. So there’s a lot of unanswered questions going in now.
On Marshawn Lynch not being present:
I assumed he wasn’t going to be here. I didn’t assume he was so I didn’t plan on it. None of this is mandatory. We ask them all to come and participate to learn. None of it is mandatory until you get to the last mini camp.
On what he thinks about the good turn out of players:
I think these guys are eager to win, they want to win and they want to learn and they want to gain knowledge. As I told them today, knowledge is power. You gain knowledge about anything and you become stronger and that’s what we’re trying to do, create as much knowledge as possible.
On if there is any progress on Aaron Schobel:
On who he thinks will step up to be the No. 2 receiver:
I can’t tell you that because I don’t know. We’re waiting to see who’s going to step up. It could be any of those guys out there, I don’t know who it’s going to be right now and I don’t know how it’s going to play out. I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve been amazed before so it’s not smart on my part to make predictions.
On if a player’s third year is when you can get a better sense of what kind of player they are:
That is a true statement but if you’re in the same system, it sure helps a lot. But if you’re not in the same system, it makes it harder for everybody. You can be in your third year but if you’re in your third system, it’s like being in year one and a half.
On Eric Wood’s progress:
We’re looking forward to several of those guys being ready for training camp. That’s what you hope for. I don’t know if he’ll make it or not, but that’s what you hope for.
On St. John Fisher:
I went out there last Monday and that’s an impressive facility. I know we’re in negotiations for redoing it, so I probably can’t talk a lot about how great it is but it is a great facility. I’ve been to quite a few in this league and it is very nice.
Trent Edwards Comments
On if having another year under his belt helps prepare him for OTAs:
It’s still the first day. It’s always tough to get back into football mode a little bit. There are plays and things that you haven’t done in awhile, there’s muscles you haven’t used in a long time that you’re trying to figure out how to use them. No matter how old you are it still takes a little while to get back into the swing of things. I think there are a few guys who would say the same thing on the team that it takes a little while to get back into the swing of things. But I think the first day overall went pretty well.
On if the offense is difficult to learn and the transition from the classroom to the field:
The thing that’s difficult about this offense is the verbiage is a lot different. It’s almost a whole different language. I’ve been speaking English and for the last eight or nine years, I’ve been playing football and this is probably a little more like Spanish. So it’s a little bit of a change. It’s probably a little opposite of what I’m used to, but you’re still a football player, still studying your playbook every day, still trying to pick it up. It’s one thing to sit in the locker room or in the video room and study up, it’s another thing to go out there see it play out on the field. So that’s what’s nice about going out and practicing today is seeing those plays actually take shape.
On this being his third offense under four offensive coordinators:
This is the fourth coordinator, I know that. This is probably I’d say my third offense here, yes.
On playing in different offenses under different coordinators in a short span in the NFL:
It is, but I’m not going to make excuses. I’m still a football player. It still comes down to making plays. You’d rather be with one offense your entire career. And you’ll probably look at the stats of the guys that are winning Super Bowls that are probably in systems they’ve been in for quite some period of time. I’m not going to sit here and say I wish Steve Fairchild was still here running the offense. That’s the way the business is run. That’s the way I have to be. I have to play, I have to adjust to it and that’s kind of where I’m at right now.
On an even starting point for the four quarterbacks in the new offense:
We’re all sharing reps out there. It’s still early on in the process. We’re still trying to get to know the coaches a little bit and they’re still trying to get to know us. So there’s really no reason for them to point any favorite or any starter right now. They’re still trying to get to know our game a little bit. We’re still trying to understand the offense. I think once they do that, once we get in the playbook a little bit more I think they’ll probably make some changes there I’d imagine.
On how much of a daily competitiveness there is:
There always is competition. There’s competition at every position on this team. There’s obviously a new coaching regime that didn’t draft any of these guys except the guys that came in this year. So they don’t really owe us anything. That’s the mentality I’m taking now. I need to work my butt off when I’m getting my reps in there. When I’m not getting my reps I need to make sure I’m watching the other guys and making sure I’m not making the same mistakes that they’re making and not making the same mistakes I’ve made in the past. It’s an open competition and I’m here to compete just like everyone else is in that locker room.
On if he got a sense of a vote of confidence after the team did not draft a quarterback early on in the draft:
Sure. There are a lot of reports on what guys they should have taken and what round, what position they should have picked. And them not taking a quarterback (early on) obviously says a little bit about what the coaches think of the quarterback position right now. There’s no say in why they could have taken a guy pretty high and wanting to get one of us out of here but they didn’t do that. So confidence-wise, it definitely helps you out and hopefully we continue to grow.
On Coach Gailey’s reputation for developing quarterbacks:
The thing I really like about Chan right now, and I’ll try to explain it as best as I can, is I’ve never been around a guy that’s very conscientious of what offensive plays setup other plays. And you’ll talk to him about that. He’s doing a lot of motioning and shifting, trying to disguise a certain play so it doesn’t look like it’s the same to the defense and that’s what’s nice as a quarterback. You’re sitting there talking to him and he understands that certain formations we run a lot of the same plays. And there are coordinators that get pretty basic, predictable and I feel like Chan isn’t going to be that predictable. And it’s nice that at the quarterback position that you’re kind of keeping the defense off-balance and that’s nice as a quarterback to have.
On Gailey being an offensive minded coach:
Yes. I don’t want to keep talking about the past here. I’m really excited about the future but it’s nice having one person to report to. It’s a guy that obviously has been around the game a long time. He knows how to coach the quarterback position, he knows when you have a problem or he has a problem with you. He’s the only guy you’re really going to talk to whereas places I’ve been before and things I’ve gone through before there’s kind of a few more people you’re talking to.
On what makes him excited about the future:
It’s football honestly. That’s what it comes down to. I’m happy to be back out here, I’m happy to get under center and I’m happy to be around my teammates again. That’s what the beauty of the sport is that it’s a game that relies on trust. You build camaraderie through the off-season and the way you win football games is through having trust and having those off-season workouts. You’ve done your preparation, you’ve prepared to win and you have friends on this team, guys that you compete with everyday and you grow as a team together. Going into September we’ll have high expectations. But to really answer your question, the thing I really like is it’s back to football, it’s back to what I love.
On if he has additional motivation this year for how he wants to play:
I think I talked to you guys last year about this. The quarterback makes their biggest step from year two to year three. I remember talking to you guys about how if a quarterback is going to mature and grow it happens in that third year. You guys obviously know what happened last season and we had our bumps and bruises. But going into my fourth year the expectations are still just as high as much as my rookie year, just as much as my second and third years. There’s really no change for me. I need to grow and develop as a person, as a player and that’s what I’ve changed for the better. But it’s not like I’m really seeing it as a make or break year. I feel like every year is like that.
On if he added or changed anything to his off-season preparation:
Maybe just studying the playbook a little bit more. Like I said early on it’s a little bit of a foreign language right now. There are certain things, words that aren’t coming off my mouth the way I want them to in the huddle and just working a little more on the playbook. But even if you’re the starter going into a season you still need to play at a high level. And I need to play at a high level right now. Obviously I’m not the starter, so either situation I’m still competing and playing pretty hard.
On if he tried anything different while training and if he talked to Saints QB Drew Brees:
I did not get a chance to talk to Drew all that much. I played in his golf tournament. I didn’t play as well as I wanted to (jokingly). With Eric (Ciano) and John (Gamble) in there, we’re changing some things up. We’re doing more Olympic lifting, a lot more core but nothing really that much different than year’s past. Still added in some TRX and obviously conditioned pretty hard but still have a long way to go, still have OTAs and minicamps to go through and hopefully to continue to get better.
On being criticized based on where he’s from:
The way I really look at it, honestly, is people have to care in order to criticize you. So if I wasn’t getting criticized I would think people wouldn’t care. And that’s honestly the approach I’m taking. Do I want to hear criticism? No, but that’s probably the way it’s going to be at this position. I’ve accepted that and people that criticize you obviously care enough to make some comments about that. That’s sort of my attitude.
On if he’s changed his approach to OTAs because of the quarterback competition:
You’d love to say it doesn’t change it at all because you’re always going to work to be the starter, that’s what everybody says. But I think Trent [Edwards] and I both have a role in getting everybody else ready and there’s not one certain guy right now so there’s a lot of communication between Lee [Evans] and James [Hardy] and the guys on the outside and Roscoe [Parrish] with us. And it’s not coming from one voice, but we had to make sure we were on the same page in terms of getting everybody on the same page and ready for the season.
On how he handles the role of helping others prepare while still competing himself:
It’s all about coming out here and working. Whoever the starter ends up being, if I work as hard as I can and I’m the starter, I know the team’s going to be better. If I work as hard as I can and Trent [Edwards] is the starter, then we’re going to be a better team because of it. I’m going to push him and he’s going to push me.
On if the team not drafting a quarterback in the first round of the draft gives him more confidence:
It definitely was something that they let us know that they were confident in us, even before the draft they let us know that whatever happens happens, but they still have to form their opinions of us too. What Chan [Gailey] is seeing on film, he hasn’t seen us in-person, how we work in the film room, how we work on the field so there’s still a lot to be worked on and working with him will be great.
On being in a competition where everyone is on the same level going into a new system:
This is a pretty unique situation I think. The competition, it’s absolutely necessary but what makes it hard is there are a lot of reps that are being split up. It’s being back there and making sure on every play that you’re going through it as if you’re taking the rep because when you’ve got three or four guys that are splitting reps, all of sudden you see yours getting cut back and it just makes it a little more difficult. But being around it, going into six years for me, I’ve seen how other guys have worked and I’m kind of used to that role so it’s good sitting back there and working through plays in your head.
On having to do more with less, in terms of the amount of reps he has gotten in the past:
I’ve been in a lot of systems so it’s one of those things. All systems are different. They’ve got their different terminologies but at the same time, conceptually, a lot of things are the same from offense to offense. So for me, I have an advantage because I’ve been in so many offenses. I do need the reps, I don’t want to say I don’t need the reps but being able to go out there and perform as a backup my whole career, that’s something I’ve had to do.
On if he thinks the new system will be more beneficial to the players the team has:
First off, when Chan [Gailey] came in, that’s what he had said and we got to it right away. He’s the guy, there’s one voice, he’s the guy that’s telling everybody this is what we’re doing and this is how I want it done. And I think a lot of guys have been receptive to that because we all know what’s going on every play, we all know the focus and what we’re trying to accomplish. With that being said, guys also know that he’s going to give you an opportunity to make plays. You take a guy like Roscoe [Parrish], a guy that last year was a bit down in terms of playing time and all that. All of a sudden you see his attitude and his work ethic change all off-season. He’s a guy that knows he’s going to get an opportunity, just as everybody else does, and there are a lot of guys working really hard knowing that they’re going to get that shot to make plays.
On the amount of classroom work he puts in:
It’s been very superficial because we haven’t been on the field yet much. That was our first day doing seven-on-seven against the defense. It’s one thing to learn in the classroom and start learning routes but every guy is different in terms of how they run it, having to respond to guys in their face, reacting to defensive coverages. It was nice having that classroom work, but this is really the time where the team starts to come together and we start to push forward as a group.
On how he’s dealing with the new terminology:
There are definitely some tongue-twisters in there and he really does a good job of trying to limit it with the syllable count. Just different shifts and motions and things where you have to get it straight in your mind, it’s not all second nature yet but hopefully by the end of the OTAs and the mini camp, and not just me but everybody; the guys up front, the receivers, it’ll be second nature to everybody.
On the most complex terminology he’s been exposed to:
My rookie year, I stepped in and I was in Mike Martz’s offense. That’s the same thing where you’re expected to know it, so I’m in the huddle trying to spit out all the words right. And you’re stumbling, you’re a rookie, you’re afraid and then you get kicked out of the huddle and you just stand there trying to think of it. But he [Gailey] tries to make it easy on everybody and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s such a dynamic offense and he’s had so much success in the past.
On if he’ll be keeping track of the number of reps each quarterback will be getting:
No, I mean they have a system down where they’re going to worry about that and try to see everybody evenly and evaluate from there. But hopefully by training camp everything will be figured out and settled down and the reps will go to who they need to go to, in terms of the starter getting the most and so on.