Bills GM Buddy Nix arrived at Training Camp today and is anxious to get started. Below is a transcript of his comments to the media:
On how this year's training camp is another way for the Bills to take the next step after a big offseason:
Obviously the offseason acquisitions helped, but I still think it was time for us. If we had not gotten Mario (Williams) and Mark (Anderson) it would have still been time to start winning some games. We've done some things right, I think, and we've probably made some mistakes along the way. But it's time to close it out and win some games and until we do it is not complete.
On the increased sense of urgency and "must win" attitude heading into this season:
I don't think anything has changed as far as the way we look at things and our attitude about things. But I do think we are realistic enough to know that the first year or two we did not have enough depth and enough playmakers to make a difference and probably contend all the way through the year. But I think the feeling is different now and I think we do.
On how much deeper this team is now than at the beginning of camp last year:
Goodness, a lot. It is a lot different. We have good depth at most positions. The one place I am a little concerned is our depth at safety. We've got three guys and we would like to have four that can play, but other than that I think we are pretty deep.
On whether the experts are right about this year's Bills being a team to watch out for:
Well I hope so. You go as long as we have without winning and I think a lot of people pull for you. But I still think it's basic with us: it's hard work, we try to have everybody work hard and stay focused on what we have to do and stay out of trouble and we have been fortunate with that. I don't want to say too much, I might jinx us. But so far it has been good and I think everybody is looking at the same goal. I believe losing and not being in contention throughout the year will be a huge disappointment, for all of us anyway.
On what he is eager to watch for during training camp:
I think the biggest thing is like you guys have written about all along you would like to see how the wide receivers shake out and how the backup quarterback shakes out. I think left tackle that battle will be something to watch also. And I feel good about our secondary, but I think those are the things with the guys you've mentioned before.
On which young 2nd- and 3rd-year players he expects to start making a larger impact this season:
You are probably referring mainly to (Torell) Troup and (Alex) Carrington and it is time for both of those guys to do it. It is their third year. Injuries have been a big factor with Troup. If he can stay healthy I think he'll be a factor. And Carrington is now in a position inside where he can get as big, he's a big guy anyway, but he needs to get as big as he wants to and be able to carry it, so I think all that will help them. But those are the main two probably.
On what players may see limited practice time as a physical precaution:
(Mike) Caussin will start the year on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform). We have known that all along and that was our mindset. We think it will be a big plus in six-to-nine weeks. If we need a H-Back or another tight end we have one right there and we don't have to go out and hunt one, so that part will be a plus. Other than him, I think everybody will be ready to go. A guy like Eric Wood, we are not going to overdo it with him and Chan's (Gailey) said that all along. We are not going to push him. He is going to start practice, he will do everything, but he may not practice every day.
On whether Troup is in a similar situation as Wood:
Hopefully he is not. When he left here we watched him hitting the sled and doing all those things and it looked like he was ready to go.
On this year being a big year for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick:
Oh absolutely, we can only run so long. We have to step up and it is time.
On whether Fitzpatrick is capable of stepping up to that challenge:
Yes he is capable. There were a lot of extenuating circumstances and reasons we had the skid we had last year, but without making any excuses we have to make sure that does not happen again. The first year we go on an eight-game losing streak and the second year we go on a seven-game losing streak. You cannot let that happen. In the locker room somebody has to step up and put a stop to that. I think if we can stay healthy Fitz will do fine.
On if safety is a position where he will be watching young players more carefully:
Again, the three - Da'Norris Searcy, (Jairus) Byrd and George (Wilson) are three veteran guys. Now here is what we do not want to do: I would rather not have to move somebody back there if we have somebody hurt, I think that is unfair to them. Sometimes you have to do it and we may have to do it. But it is really unfair to them and it is unfair to our team. If we can be alert here on waivers and whatever is available we might bring in a safety.