ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - The Bills held their final practice of minicamp on Thursday, the players are now off until the start of training campon July 26th.
"We have come a long way," said Bills head coach Chan Gailey."We do not have any kind of record to show that. That is our objective this year to show that. I do believe we have come a long way as a football team going into our third year."
This offseason theBills held three weeks of voluntary OTA workoutsand had nearly perfect attendance. This week, the team held it's three day mandatory minicamp. After not having any organized offseason work last year due to the NFL lockout Gailey was asked if the team had made a quantum leap this year.
"I think we are ahead. I do not know how much quantum is, I am from south Georgia," Gailey joked to the mediaafter practice on Thursday. "But we are ahead for sure."
The players are aware of the expectations for the upcomingseason, heightened by the big offseason addition of defensive end Mario Williams. Some of the veterans are even looking forward to training camp.
"We feel like we got a lot to prove, we made some good moves in the offseason and that's all it is, moves," said Bills running back Fred Jackson. "We've got some valuable pieces added that are looking forward to come in and contribute. We want to go out and make a splash this year."
Going into training camp the Bills are expected to be very healthy. Gailey said, center Eric Wood and CB Terrence McGee, who both did not practice this offseason as they rehabbed from knee injuries, are expected to return.
As for position battles during training camp, one to watch will be left tackle. Rookie second round draft pick Cordy Glenn started at left tackle during OTA's and minicamp, butwill compete with second year tackle Chris Hairston for the starting job.
"He has the ability," said Gaileywhen asked about Glenn."Can he transition that into pads and the speed of the game? This is just one speed. There is another speed when you hit training camp, another speed when you hit preseason games. He and Chris will be working at left tackle. I do not know who will win that job."
Another camp battle will be between Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen for the backup quarterback job. Gailey has been impressed with Young's ability to learn the offense in a short period of time. "He has done a very good job considering the circumstances. It is very difficult. He is trying to learn what the base concepts are and how we have advanced to where we are today without the benefit of going through the baby steps. It has been tough on him but he has got a natural feel for playing the position. That is going to be another good battle in camp."