Even when things go wrong, there isn’t likely to be a whole lot of yelling from the Buffalo Bills’ coaches as they take the players through their paces during organized team activity (OTA) practices.
The Bills are adopting an approach that emphasizes moving at a fast pace and running as many plays as possible during “two-spot” drills, with two offenses huddling simultaneously on separate fields. As a result, neither coach Rex Ryan nor his assistants are slowing things down by making many immediate corrections or comments.
The time for that, Ryan said, is in the meeting room when the coaches review videotape of each session with their respective position groups.
It’s a concept that Ryan said his team adopted from the San Francisco 49ers, who used it during the previous four seasons that Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman served in the same position for the Niners.
“You’ve got some of your players on one area and some on the other, and it’s just boom, boom, boom,” Ryan said. “I tell my assistants, ‘Just coach off the tape.’ And you really get a lot more reps in that way. Usually, the third group may get seven snaps.” On Tuesday, “they got 30.”
Ryan was pleased with the overall physical condition and attitude of the team.
“It was great, especially when you’ve been away from it,” he said. “We had that little, extra camp, very similar to what we’re doing now” a month ago because Ryan is a first-year coach. “But then you get away from it. You’re in Phase One, Phase Two, where you’re just on air. You don’t compete against anybody at all. So that’s good for teaching and all that.
“But, man oh man, it’s good to actually get out there and you have 11-on-11 because everything speeds up. You get to see people play football and not just run against air. That’s a good thing to watch. The tempo’s so much different. It’s not pretend stuff. You’re actually having to do it, now albeit without pads or hitting, but it’s good. Guys are getting into football shape, so I feel pretty good about that.”
According to Ryan, the only players who didn’t take part in Tuesday’s practice were wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who had a travel issue, and offensive guard Chris Williams, who has not been a part of any of the voluntary sessions.
Ryan did not seem pleased with Williams.
“I don’t know if he’s going to be planning on coming back or what; I haven’t seen him,” Ryan said. “I haven’t talked to him, I haven’t seen him. I don’t even know what he looks like. I know these are voluntary-type things, so that’s fine. I don’t know if he’s better than all of the rest of these guys, because all the rest of them are here.”
Running back Bryce Brown, who hadn’t participated in previous offseason workouts, was on hand.
Defensive tackle Kyle Williams and end Manny Lawson, who also had missed offseason sessions, were on hand as well.
“They impressed me, because these guys have been away from it but you could tell they’re in their playbooks,” Ryan said. “You’ve got Manny Lawson making all the checks for everybody. That’s pretty darn impressive.”
The Bills’ OTA session Wednesday is open to the media. There will be another closed practice on Friday.
After that, there will be six more OTA workouts: Monday; Wednesday, June 3; Thursday, June 4; Monday, June 8; Wednesday, June 10, and Thursday, June 11.
The June 3 and June 10 sessions will be open to the media.
The Bills are scheduled to have a mandatory minicamp from Tuesday, June 16 through Thursday, June 18, and all of those practices will be open to the media.