1. It's impossible not to notice the improved atmosphere around One Bills Drive these days. Perhaps it's because time really does heal all wounds, but the toxic environment around the team at the end of last season has been replaced by a really positive vibe. That's likely the case in every NFL city – spring is a time that optimism abounds, after all – but the infusion of some rookies with real personality has brought some much-needed positivity. Friday at rookie minicamp was practically a comedy show. First there was Glenn Gronkowski explaining how he's smarter than his brother, Rob. Then there was Cardale Jones joking about Rex Ryan being his "long-lost dad," Eric Striker with a questionable take on chicken wings and then Ryan not knowing his new long snapper. Of course, this won't have much of an impact on the team's win-loss record, but the working environment Friday certainly seemed like one any player or coach would love to be a part of.
2. Patience will be the key word when it comes to rookie quarterback Cardale Jones. At first glance Friday, he's got the frame of an NFL quarterback. As mentioned above, he's also got the personality for the position. But Ryan made it clear Jones is nowhere near being a finished product.
"He’s got the physical gifts you look for, there’s no question about that," Ryan said. "You notice the stature and he’s got a big arm and all that, but you also notice that he’s just going through everything, like, it’s spinning right now. He’s throwing behind guys – he doesn’t know where he’s going with it right now. He’s got a long way to go."
The good news is the Bills can afford to be patient with him. With Tyrod Taylor the unquestioned starter and EJ Manuel returning as a backup, there won't be any rush to get Jones on the field.
3. If I were setting the over/under on undrafted free agents making the Bills' roster this season, the number I'd use is 1.5. Striker and Gronkowski would seem to have the best shot at that right now. Striker benefits from a thin group of linebackers in front of him, but also seems to have made an impression on Ryan.
"We’re trying to get him to learn everything but we put him in there," the coach said. "I think his body type fits there and the way the league is now, that position a lot of times is in space some. So we’ll see what he can do. I think the strength of his game, there’s a guy that loves to play. He’s a good blitzer and he can make plays in space. So we’ll see how he does.
"When we saw him on tape, that’s what he loved about him, he made plays. And I don’t care what he was doing, that dude was making plays."
Gronkowski, meanwhile, is probably competing against Jerome Felton for a roster spot. If he can convince the Bills he can equal Felton's blocking ability, while also offering additional versatility as a receiver and on special teams, it's not out of the question he could earn that job.
"I recruited him, there’s no question," Ryan said. "At the end of the draft, I called him up and recruited him myself because I really liked him when I saw him as a player."