ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Ten practice sessions over three weeks. Important workouts for a club with a few new faces, and even newer lofty expectations.
"I think it was very productive. Obviously, we don't have on pads, but it's still good to get out here and get the reps and get the work in. Kind of get everybody's timing and coordination down," said Shawne Merriman.
While OTAs are voluntary for the players, the Bills had nearly perfect attendance. From the big name stars down to the guys just fighting for a roster spot - being on the field was a necessity for a team with hopes.
"If you’re not here, obviously your goal is not to get better and everybody’s here, so we want to do something special. We want to be a special team and we’re working towards that," said Brad Smith.
The team-wide commitment to building a winner has certainly caught the attention of head coach Chan Gailey.
"I think they have a mindset of wanting to be a championship football team and you can’t be a championship football team unless you take the proper steps to get there, and this is one of the proper steps for everybody to be here," Gailey said. "When you have your great players showing up all the time it gives you a chance to be a successful football team."
"It's exciting because we have this hype right now. But that's all it is right, still just hype. We still have to go out on the field and get W's. All this is good, but the hard work is still ahead. We'll be ready for it though," said Stevie Johnson.
While the voluntary organized team activities are now complete, the work is far from finished. Mandatory mini-camp begins next Tuesday with the first of the three sessions during the week.