J.P. Losman emerged from his darkened film room Friday and finally got to play some real football.
It felt mighty good.
"It was exciting," the Buffalo Bills' new starting quarterback said Friday. "I've been telling everyone, 'I've got it, I've got it' in the film room. But you never know until you come out here.
"I was excited actually for the coaches to call the plays just so I could show the players I know my plays," Losman said. "Last year it was like, 'OK, J.P.'s in. Here we go. Y'know. I don't know what he's going to call, and if he calls it, we don't know if it's going to be right.' "
Losman and 83 other Bills teammates went through the first of three days of minicamp workouts at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It was the start of a long on-the-field education to get Losman ready to run the show when the Bills open their season against Houston on Sept. 11.
In stepping into the shoes of 12-year veteran Drew Bledsoe, Losman is focused on earning the respect of his teammates. The first step is proving he has the program down cold.
Losman showed up in Buffalo on Feb. 7 to begin work and has been studying daily for the past 11 weeks under the eyes of Bills quarterbacks coach Sam Wyche.
"He did a good job of commanding the huddle," said receiver Eric Moulds. "He called the plays correctly and he did a great job of getting people lined up and getting people in motion."
"I think he missed some throws today but at the same time he's still young and he has a long time to get ready for the season," Moulds said. "He's going to have some missed throws and some missed reads. But he's going to make some big plays also, because he can scramble and he can throw on the run. -- And we've surrounded him with a lot of guys who know how to play."
"The best part of the day was you could tell the guys on the team were anxious to see how well I knew the offense -- the linemen especially, and I think the offensive coordinator," Losman said, referring to coach Tom Clements. "I've been working predominantly with Sam, so he (Clements) didn't really know himself. I could see he started saying the plays, and then he started saying them faster. He's like, 'Dang, the kid got it.' So he started saying them faster. And we just started rolling. It was a good feeling."
Losman had cameo appearances in just four games the second half of last season. He said the left leg he broke last August is fully healed.
On Friday Losman showed his strong arm, hitting some pinpoint throws down the middle to Jonathan Smith and rookie tight end Kevin Everett. He missed on some too. Minicamp is about learning plays, formations and terminology, and introducing it to all the newcomers on the squad.
"There was some rust," Losman said. "There was one ball today that I threw over (tight end) Rod Trafford's head by about 20 feet. It was embarrassing. I know I can make that in my sleep but the fact is I haven't done it in awhile. You look around and everyone doesn't want to look at you because they think you're going to be mad. But I realize there is some rust there."
Coach Mike Mularkey thought it was a good start for Losman.
"I was proud of some of the things he did," Mularkey said. "I saw him make some adjustments on line calls and fix some things. I thought he threw some good balls. He was late on a couple throws, but as far as his command, I was real pleased."
The Bills' defense even threw a series of blitzes at Losman and the first team offense in what were two up-tempo practice sessions.
"I've never had a blitz drill on the first day of minicamp in my 20 years in the NFL," Mularkey said. "The more we do it, the better I feel he'll get."
There still are three full months before the first day of training camp. The 24-year-old Losman said he's determined to make the most of them.
"I try to tell you guys I'm not the normal California kid that you guys all think of," he said. "I've been hearing all the rumors. I work hard. This is my job. This is my profession and I'm going to do whatever I can to make the most of it. I worked hard to get where I am and I'm not going to stop now."