Cardale Jones sat around for a long time Wednesday before his crack at running a two-minute drill for the Buffalo Bills came up.
The wait was hardly worth it for the second-year quarterback.
Jones was intercepted on his first throw during an 11-on-11 session, airmailing the ball right into linebacker Jacob Lindsey's hands.
"I just checked it down to the running back a little too high," Jones explained. "Trying to get it over the D-line, didn't follow through all the way, and it just went over his head and right into the linebacker's hands."
One throw in June might just be a very tiny part of the evaluation process, but it wasn't a good look for Jones, who finds himself in a battle with T.J. Yates and Nathan Peterman for what will likely be two spots at quarterback behind starter Tyrod Taylor.
"You wait on your opportunity all day, your number is called and I kind of didn't take advantage of it," Jones said. "All I can do now is get in the film, watch it and compete tomorrow."
Quarterback reps for the two-minute drill at the end of practice went like this: Taylor, Yates, Peterman, Taylor, Jones. That puts Jones fourth on the depth chart at a position teams rarely keep more than three players.
"We're all just kind of learning the offense, understanding where everybody's got to be," he said. "My main focus is getting guys line up in the right position and knowing what I've got on every play."
Jones is at a disadvantage in terms of knowing then offense when compared to Taylor and Yates, both of whom have previously played under offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. He was also drafted under a different front office and coaching staff than currently is in place, so Peterman is ahead of him in that regard, too. Considering all that, it's fair to put Jones squarely on the hot seat at training camp.
"I mean, this is my job," he said. "I understand we're going to have the players on the team that put us in the best position to win. Competition will bring out the best, not just in me, but everyone around me."
Yates led an impressive touchdown drive during his crack at the two-minute drill Wednesday, while Peterman got the team in position for a field goal. While that was going on, Jones could only watch.
"Usually we score quick or the defense stops us quick," he said. "The two drives before that were probably 10-play plus drives. So you're sitting around. You're already anxious to get in and see what you can do. Your reps end on one rep. They ended practice on that."
The Bills blew up their depth chart in the defensive backfield this offseason.
Gone are starters from last year like cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safeties Aaron Williams and Corey Graham. In their place are first-round draft pick Tre'Davious White at cornerback and the tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer at safety.
That has meant some long days of learning, but at least all of the aforementioned are studying the same chapter of the same book.
"Communication is key in this defense and the coaches rely on the safeties a lot to make a lot of the calls," Poyer said after the Bills wrapped up their second minicamp practice Wednesday inside New Era Field. Hyde "and I together, I think we’re coming along really well. The communication is there, the chemistry is there – I think if we just keep building day by day, we’ll get to where we want to be.
"We’re all new to this system, to the verbiage. Guys haven’t played with each other before, so just being able to learn the defense from square one and be able to communicate since square one and understand where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there, I think that’s a huge key."
Poyer is 100 percent recovered from the devastating blindside hit that left him on injured reserve last season with a lacerated kidney and internal bleeding after just six games.
It’s exciting to get back out on the football field," he said. "It’s definitely a blessing to, like I said, just put the cleats on again and be on the field after the injury last season. I put that behind me and I’m excited to move forward with this group of guys."
Poyer came up with a big play during Wednesday's practice when he jumped a pass at the goal line intended for tight end Charles Clay during a red zone drill, leading to a interception of Tyrod Taylor.
"We’re growing as a defense each and every day, especially in the meeting rooms and then you take it out here on the football field," he said. "You see it in practice and it’s exciting and it’s exciting to be a part of. I can’t wait to just keep growing with this unit."
Said Hyde: "Coming to a new team and starting all over again and meeting these guys – I see a lot of positive things and I’m excited."
Some highlights from Wednesday's second minicamp practice:
• Running back LeSean McCoy returned after missing Tuesday's practice because of a stomach bug. He looked as explosive as ever, especially after corralling a short pass and bursting upfield. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (neck) took part in individual drills, but it didn't appear that he did any team work.
• Wide receiver Rod Streater made an impressive, one-handed catch along the sideline during individual drills, causing many teammates to yell "nice catch!"
• Yates led a 14-play drive during his two-minute drill at the end of practice that ended with a touchdown pass to tight end Nick O'Leary on fourth down. The veteran backup quarterback was sharp throughout the drive, throwing the ball with some zip. He should have had a touchdown on a second-and-goal play, but a perfectly thrown ball to Philly Brown in the back-right corner of the end zone was dropped.
• Vlad Ducasse continued to split first-team reps at right guard with John Miller.