A year ago, Rex Ryan infamously declared that the Buffalo Bills "won the offseason."
His team would proceed to win only seven games during the season, and Ryan wound up being fired.
When his replacement, Sean McDermott, was asked Thursday whether he felt the same about the current offseason, the coach replied, "I don't know if we've won the offseason. I'm not into that. I'm into the process, and I'm into where we are in our process and focused intently and only right now on that.
"It's important that we win off the field first. That's how you set yourself up to win on the field. Now we handle this time off the field with class, No. 1, and then we put in the work to earn the right to win as a football team, myself included. That's what I expect. The players know that, the coaches know that."
McDermott acknowledged that the six weeks between Thursday's conclusion of offseason workouts and the start of training camp on July 27, when players are on their own, worries him.
"Yes," he said. "One word answer, yes. It absolutely does. It's a period of time where (bad) things tend to happen, and that's been brought up. We discussed that as a team and so I pray every night going to bed that, as a family we do the right thing and the Good Lord takes care of us, and the same thing with the players because I worry about that. I do care about them and we're all a family here."
The Bills will open training camp on Thursday, July 27, with a 5:30 p.m. practice at St. John Fisher College.
Unlike previous years, it will be the only night session at the Pittsford campus, where five night practices were held under Ryan in 2016.
This summer's only other night camp practice, also with a 5:30 start, is Friday, Aug. 4, at New Era Field. A ticket will be required for that and the July 27 practice. Also, two Sunday afternoon practices at Fisher, at 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 6 and 13, will require tickets. An announcement on where to get tickets will come at a later date.
The Bills scheduled to have 13 public practices at St. John Fisher (with nine starting at 8:45 a.m.), where camp is due to end on Aug. 15. That's a week earlier than last year.
"We just feel again for us, schedule wise, that going out and getting our work in in the morning – sometimes we get the pop-up storms in the summer – it gives us some flexibility once we get our work in throughout the day," McDermott said. "We are putting our players in a position to be successful."
Offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, who continues to be bothered by an ankle injury, watched Thursday's final practice of the offseason still wearing the walking boot he has worn through all three mandatory minicamp sessions this week.
Asked if there were any long-term concerns with Glenn, McDermott said, "Not at this point." He added that he anticipated the lineman to be ready for training camp.
Former Bills offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio has found a new team.
Kouandjio signed with the Detroit Lions Thursday, the same day they also acquired offensive tackle Greg Robinson, a former second overall pick, from the Los Angeles Rams.
Kouandjio joined the Bills in 2014 as a second-round choice from Alabama, and proved to be a major disappointment.
Late last January, he suffered a broken hip that required surgery after taking a fall, apparently while exercising at his apartment in Orchard Park. In April, he was involved in a bizarre incident with police, who found him half-dressed in a field in Elma. He was taken to Erie County Medical Center for observation.
Late last month, the Bills released Kouandjio.
Former Bills safety Aaron Williams visited the Houston Texans this week, but the team has no immediate plans to sign him, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Before Thursday's practice, McDermott offered high praise for his first-round draft pick, cornerback Tre'Davious White, who has been impressive since the start of offseason workouts.
"He’s made plays on the football, he’s shown up in that regard in a positive light, and when I look out there I’m looking at a player that, he plays like a second- or third-year player at this point," McDermott said. "That’s credit to him, credit to the program at LSU, Coach (Dave) Aranda down there and, again, Coach (Gill) Byrd and (Bobby) Babich here, and Coach (Jim) Salgado. I think (defensive coordinator) Leslie Frazier’s background certainly helps, being a corner himself in terms of Tre’Davious transition into the NFL."
As if on cue, White proceeded to intercept Tyrod Taylor on the first play during the opening 11-on-11 drill.
After a rough Wednesday, Taylor rallied with a strong performance Thursday ... other than that pick he threw to White.
Taylor showed much better accuracy on his throws, and generally had the offense moving well and getting the better of the defense, which had dominated the previous two days.
"We tried to make our team better in the three mandatory days that we had on the field and I think we came out of (Thursday), going into this break before training camp, as a better team," said Taylor, who plans to gather for workouts with his receivers during the break.