Quarterback Watch began Friday at St. John Fisher College with no clear front-runner.
No, head coach Rex Ryan won’t be over-analyzing quarterbacks day to day, bumping one ahead of the other throw after throw. Yet he did make it clear each rep is important.
“Every day is important,” Ryan said.
A few other notes from Ryan’s first camp press conference…
— The hiring of Pat Meyer as a football operations consultant, Ryan said, didn’t have anything to do with Aaron Kromer’s arrest and subsequent administrative leave. Meyer was the Chicago Bears offensive line coach last season under Kromer.
“Pat was hired the last day of minicamp,” said Ryan, though the move wasn't announced until one hour before the first training camp practice. “So he was already on board. It really had nothing to do with Aaron’s situation. As far as Aaron’s situation is concerned, there’s no update on that. We’re working with the league and still gathering the information.”
Ryan said assistant offensive line coach Kurt Anderson would oversee the group.
“He’s obviously been here throughout camp,” Ryan said. “He’s got the qualities to be a fine offensive line coach. But it’s just business as usual for us.”
— On a brighter note, wide receiver Sammy Watkins practiced Friday after indicating on Wednesday that he might ease back in to action from his offseason hip surgery.
The former fourth overall pick participated in full team drills, even going deep a handful of times on Buffalo's cornerbacks. He nearly hauled in one overthrown ball on a 15-yard out with one hand. While he's not revved up to full speed yet, Ryan was encouraged to have his top wideout on the field for Day 1.
“Having to defend against him, I know what a pain it is,” Ryan said. “You have to basically double him. If not, you’re going to struggle and he’s going to win most of those one-on-one match-ups. He looked great to me. It’s like nothing happened. That’s how he feels. He’s in great shape. I know he’s confident with the guys coaching him. He’s excited to get back out here.”
— As players trotted through the tunnel to their first camp practice, the loudest ovation of the day—and it wasn’t even close—went to running back Fred Jackson. This will be the 34-year-old back’s ninth season and he remains beloved by Bills fans.
Only now, there’s LeSean McCoy in the backfield… and Boobie Dixon… and rookie Karlos Williams… and Bryce Brown.
It remains to be seen how Jackson will fit into the offense. Ryan said first that Jackson is in “great shape.”
“He may be the oldest guy, but I still think he’s got some tread of that tire still,” Ryan said. “The first thing you notice immediately about Fred is he’s smart, he picks things up extremely well. He picked up our offense extremely well. He’s valuable as a threat out of the backfield. Great blitz pick-up. And by the way, he can still run the football. We’ll use him. We’re not going to say his role is going to be here yet. It’s too early to define roles that way. I get it. Obviously LeSean came in here to get the majority of the carries. That’s not a secret. But I think Fred can be very valuable for us.”
Last season, Jackson rushed for 525 yards on 141 carries for a career-low 3.7 yards per carry.
— Corey Graham worked with the first team at safety next to Aaron Williams over Duke Williams. Ryan said he wanted to see these two players work together with Graham having just moved from corner to safety.
— Ryan joked he was “a little disappointed” that he didn’t get an invite to McCoy’s infamous party, “but maybe next year.” Asked if he makes anything of it, he only said “no.”