Inside The Bills

Offseason workout guidelines

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2016 – 8:43 am

As players return to One Bills Drive on a voluntary basis for the start of the offseason conditioning program. Here is a listing of the guidelines as outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement as to what is permissible and when during the course of the nine weeks in which teams can conduct offseason activities.

As per Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Article 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. This minicamp, noted below, must occur during Phase Three of the offseason program.

Head coaches hired after the end of the 2015 season are entitled to conduct an additional voluntary veteran minicamp.  Any voluntary minicamp for veteran players must be conducted prior to the NFL Draft (April 28-30), but no earlier than week three of the club’s offseason workout program and after at least one week of the two weeks of Phase One activities that the clubs may hold pursuant to Article 21. This year, six clubs will hold voluntary veteran minicamps, as noted below.

Each club may hold a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which in 2016 may begin on May 9. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends, with the exception of one post-NFL Draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft.

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Bills coaching staff prepped for players

Posted by Chris Brown on April 15, 2016 – 2:45 pm

Buffalo’s coaching staff has been busy handling their draft class assignments in conjunction with the College Scouting department. Now with players reporting on Monday, their focus shifts to the classroom as they begin installing their schemes with any changes they might have made this offseason.

“We’re getting ready to go to phase one of the offseason program,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We just finished some of our draft responsibilities with Doug Whaley and had our position coaches talk to the scouts and things like that with the assignments that Doug has given the coaches. Now it’s getting ready to get into the football part of it.”

Ryan explained that at this point the offseason conditioning program only involves weight training and conditioning work, no football on the field.

“What you have is a couple of hours of meeting time, but you don’t get on the field or go through walk throughs,” he said. “They’re doing a lot of nodding of their head, but you don’t know if they’ve got it. But you go back to square one and start installing those things. There’s conditioning and getting our guys up to speed in our weight room. The football aspect is really about teaching your things over again. It’s a good thing for coaches.”

The players can report for the voluntary program on Monday.

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Kouandjio on new OL coach Kromer

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 9:20 am

Bills OL Cyrus Kouandjio has admitted his mindset wasn’t strong enough for the pro game as a rookie. He feels he’s fixed that now. That combined with a new offensive line coach in Aaron Kromer has given the former second-round pick a new outlook on his NFL career.

Kouandjio in his initial conversations with coach Kromer is optimistic about where things are headed for him personally with the Bills.

“We got into a lot of technique and a lot of protections,” Kouandjio told “I loved hearing that. There are some O-line coaches that teach you and some that just coach you. The ones that just coaches you just tells you what to do on this blitz or with this defensive front, but a teacher teaches you something. They teach you a technique you may have never known before. He teaches you all the little things. I see both in him. It takes a great coach to be a teacher and a coach, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Kromer said all five starting roles on the offensive line are open for competition as everyone will have a clean slate with him.

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Bills QBs impressed in classroom

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2015 – 11:29 am

Last week was first week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program, which features strength and conditioning training and classroom work as the new coaching staff works with the players to install the new offensive and defensive systems. Buffalo’s quarterbacks were all in attendance last week and made a good first impression on offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

In an interview on ESPN’s Inside the Huddle with John Clayton, Roman gave indication of how prepared his signal callers were for the first week of classroom work.

“After just a week of working with these guys I was very happy to find out how dialed in these guys are in their preparation, all four of them really. I couldn’t be more happy from that standpoint,” Roman said. “When we get out on the field we’ll roll the balls out and see what transpires. We’ll let those guys compete and I think we’ll have a great competition at the position. Really, Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel all impressed me in the meetings.”

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OT Glenn among the fittest of Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2015 – 11:10 am

The vast majority of Bills players reported to the voluntary offseason conditioning program in great shape this week, but there was one in particular who really impressed Buffalo’s strength and conditioning staff.

In an appearance on KISS 98.5 radio, Bills strength and conditioning coordinator Eric Ciano singled out one Bills player who looked like he did the most this offseason.

“I would have to say the guy that has impressed me the most the first week would be Cordy Glenn,” said Ciano. “I thought he did a great job. He came back in great shape and looks excellent. He’s really worked hard.”

When asked what had the strength and conditioning staff so impressed with Glenn’s conditioning Ciano said the offensive tackle’s commitment to the program.

“He followed the program at home, did a great job with the nutrition,” said Ciano. “He did a great job lifting and running and comparing him to himself last year he really looks good.”

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10 players had offseason procedures

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2015 – 3:03 pm

As the players returned for the first day of the voluntary offseason conditioning program there were some who were not yet cleared for participation due to offseason procedures. 

Head coach Rex Ryan listed those players. 

“Dan Carpenter, Anthony Dixon, Stephon Gilmore, Chris Gragg, Chris Hogan, Fred Jackson, Leodis McKelvin, Sammy Watkins, Aaron Williams, and Chris Williams,” said Ryan. 

“I will say this about everyone’s injury: we expect every one of our players to be ready to roll at training camp. So, nothing that we see injury-wise, in our opinion right now, will prevent these guys from being full-go at training camp.”

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Rex: players must take advantage of this time

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2015 – 10:30 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan has the utmost respect for the fact that the team’s offseason conditioning program is voluntary, but with new offensive and defensive schemes to implement in classroom sessions there’s a valuable opportunity for his players to take advantage of being at One Bills Drive.

“I think the big thing is the players have to take it upon themselves to take advantage of our strength coaches with Eric (Ciano) and Hal (Luther) and everybody down there,” Ryan told “Take advantage of them. We’ve got to be in shape. That way when you get a chance to get on that field you can show a good account of yourself.

“The mental part of it is huge as well in the classroom. But the physical part and being with our strength coaches and getting themselves ready to play, where you’re not worried about your conditioning to get through the practice, so you can implement what you’re learning in the classroom.”

Players have been reporting on a voluntary basis this morning as today starts the team’s offseason conditioning program.

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Ryan: My new roster will be ready

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2015 – 10:00 am

For the first time in six years Rex Ryan inherits an entirely new roster of players. Back in 2009 when he was named head coach of the Jets, the offseason practice rules were far different from what they are now. There is far less contact in offseason practices and fewer practices overall. So how much does Ryan and his staff have to tweak and change to have the team properly prepared going into training camp with far less time on the field under the new CBA?

“We feel pretty good about the structure we have in place,” Ryan told “Obviously we have great teachers and being able to implement your systems is important. I was kidding Greg (Roman) that I had to bring a cart with our offensive playbook. But we are going to have extensive playbooks on both sides of the ball, but it’s the way we teach the fundamental part of it and getting the foundation is something that we talk about because that’s the critical part. Once you get the foundation set then it just broadens from there.

“We’re confident we’ll get everything done. We’ll have everything going in there and use whatever it takes to win each particular week.”

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Bills players return April 6th

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2015 – 11:00 am

The Bills players will finally meet with Buffalo’s new coaching staff on Monday April 6th. That’s when the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program commences.

Having a new coaching staff affords Rex Ryan the opportunity to start his team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program earlier than other NFL clubs who did not have a coaching change. He will also have the opportunity to hold an additional voluntary veteran minicamp as a new coach with the Bills.

The voluntary offseason conditioning program will run four days a week. We’ll have full coverage of Monday’s voluntary report day here at One Bills Drive on to let you know who is on hand. Select players will be available for comment at 12 pm with Rex Ryan addressing the media at 1 pm on Monday.

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Intense cardio work all serving a purpose

Posted by Chris Brown on May 9, 2013 – 9:46 am

The demanding cardio work that is a big part of Buffalo’s offseason conditioning program has had Bills players throwing up at times during workouts. But they know in the long run all the work to build their stamina and endurance now will pay off come the fall.

“It’s a lot of conditioning along with the speed stuff and the high tempo in the weight room, there’s no down time, it’s always going,” said Brad Smith. “It just gets the most out of you. The workouts are pretty tough.”

For offensive linemen like Kraig Urbik, who was asked to play heavier under the previous regime at around 330 pounds, the demands have shifted to lighter and faster.

“I’m actually dropping a lot of weight. I’m down 10 pounds,” Urbik told “I’m going to keep doing it from my body standpoint. Running a high tempo offense I’m going to need to be in this kind of shape.”

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How offseason program has helped locker room

Posted by Chris Brown on May 9, 2013 – 9:41 am

Buffalo’s offseason conditioning program under new head coach Doug Marrone has been ultra-competitive and non-stop as the players have described it. With the roster divided into seven mini-teams and a leaderboard for individual point totals based on participation and performance, the players are not only getting properly prepped for the season, but they’re also becoming a tighter team in the locker room.

It’s no secret that many NFL locker rooms have a bit of a dividing line where offensive players more often congregate with the teammates on their side of the ball and the defensive players do the same. In many cases it’s not done in any kind of exclusionary way, it’s just human nature. Marrone and his staff with their offseason program have successfully mixed position groups with the mini-teams in the offseason competition program. The result is players from vastly different position groups are rooting for one another and knowing more than by the number on their jersey.

“It’s one of those things where we’re a team, but we’re also competing with each other so you’ve got guys at different positions rooting for each other,” said Fred Jackson. “We have running backs rooting for defensive tackles and guys that play defensive end rooting for safeties. It’s a great way to know everybody and compete with them at the same time.”

Jackson is currently atop the individual player leaderboard through the first four weeks of the program.

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Stevie trying on some MMA training

Posted by Chris Brown on March 7, 2013 – 3:30 pm

Recently retired Bills DE/LB Shawne Merriman was a proponent of it, now Stevie Johnson is trying his hand at mixed martial arts training.

That according to FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer, who tweeted a list of NFL players and prospects that were training at his MMA facility today in Los Angeles.


Johnson has committed himself to a fully supervised offseason training regimen in an effort to be even more productive than he has the past three years with three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Bills free agent Kirk Morrison was also among those mentioned.

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Mario clear on Bills goals

Posted by Chris Brown on April 23, 2012 – 2:07 pm

As the Bills offseason conditioning program got underway today (Monday) Mario Williams was one of the many in attendance. Though Buffalo’s locker room has been one that’s tight-knit, the results haven’t followed in terms of victories. Williams made it clear that’s going to change.

“We know what we have in front of us,” said Williams. “We know what we need to do to get the job done and get to work. I don’t care if you’re a first-day guy or a guy who’s been here since Day One, there’s things that can change around here and that’s definitely what we’re going after. So this first week means a lot to everybody.”

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No set timetable for Merriman

Posted by Chris Brown on April 23, 2012 – 10:09 am

As we profiled on the home page of today (Monday) the signs are positive concerning Shawne Merriman’s return to full health following Achilles surgery to repair the frayed, but not ruptured tendon. Here’s what he said when asked if he has a timetable for a return to full work.

“Not really, it is all about how I feel like I said I will be working out every day and capable of doing everything. Coming off anything you don’t want to push yourself to the point where you back track at all,” he said. “That is going to be up to the trainers, as long as I can go out and function and do everything that the team is doing I will be happy.”

Merriman looked very fit reporting for the start of the offseason conditioning program Monday (see below).


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Fred update

Posted by Chris Brown on April 23, 2012 – 10:03 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson was one of the many on hand Monday for the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program. Of course it didn’t take long before media members asked him for an update on his contract situation.

“It’s just not the time,” said Jackson when asked if there was progress on a contract extension. “This week they have the draft coming up. That’s what they’re focusing on. I’ll just continue to be patient and see what happens. It’s like I’ve said all along, I think something will get done. Buddy said that they want to get something done, so I’ll just continue to put faith in that.”

Jackson reporting for voluntary workouts shows there’s little concern on his part that something will be done with respect to his current deal, which has just a year remaining.

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Wood likes new training approach

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2010 – 8:37 am

Bills lineman Eric Wood is back in the weight room as voluntary offseason workouts began this week. He’s far from full go, but he already likes the approach to strength and conditioning with two position group specific coordinators.

“I do like that they split it up between the two strength coaches,” said Wood. “They do a good job. It’s like position coaches. The secondary coach isn’t going to coach the o-line so why should they in the weight room? We get so specific everywhere except the weight room. If this works out and we win a bunch of ballgames this year everyone will do it. If not, everyone will be calling us idiots. The players like it and it gives you more specific workouts and that’s what everybody wants.”

For more on the new approach you can check out our report in Bills Roundup in the video lounge. For details on Eric Wood’s promising recovery check back on the home page at

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Good player turnout

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2010 – 9:07 am

The Bills voluntary offseason conditioning program has a nice turnout in its first week.

The players are broken up into two groups with an early morning session group and a late morning group. At the early morning session Tuesday there were 32 players on hand working out.

All three quarterbacks were on hand as well as players like Jairus Byrd, Paul Posluszny, Kawika Mitchell, Aaron Maybin, Geoff Hangartner, Andy Levitre, Lee Evans, Chris Kelsay, Spencer Johnson, Kyle Williams, John McCargo, Marcus Stroud and Andra Davis. Obviously there were several others, with more rolling in for the late morning workout. also saw more than a dozen other players that were milling around, but not working out yet. It’s believed they’re part of the late morning group. We’ll have full coverage of the opening of the offseason conditioning program in Bills Roundup in the video lounge later today.

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Bills players eager to get started

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2010 – 8:34 pm

With the Bills offseason conditioning program getting underway Monday, players are already buzzing about getting back to football, especially with a new coaching staff in place.

Here are some twitter posts from Aaron Maybin and Kawika Mitchell.

AaronMaybin58    On the road headed back to Buffalo. Ready to get started monday

Ka_Mitchell55    Headin back to B’lo tomorrow. Tryin to get n as much QT w/ the fam as possible. Ready to b back around football tho. Been 2 long. will have full coverage as the players return will a full roundup report on Tuesday.

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Bills to return March 29th

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2010 – 1:15 pm

Bills players will be back at One Bills Drive on Monday, March 29th.

That’s when the team’s offseason conditioning program commences with their new strength and conditioning staff headed up by Eric Ciano and John Gamble. I should mention that attendance at the offseason conditioning program is voluntary, not mandatory. will have full coverage on Tuesday when head coach Chan Gailey and a handful of players will be made available.

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Walker talked to fellow tackle Peters

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2009 – 4:12 pm

Bills OT Langston Walker, on hand for the start of Buffalo’s offseason conditioning program was asked about his fellow book end tackle Jason Peters, who is still trying to negotiate an extension on his contract with the club. Peters, who is very hard for even his teammates to get a hold of was in touch with Walker recently.

“I talked to him probably about a month ago, just back and forth,” said Walker. “It’s offseason, we’re not talking about football. I can’t wait for him to get here. He’s a great player.”


Peters was not on hand for the first day of the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program.

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