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Cook happy to have a second chance

St. Joe’s graduate Domonic Cook was in camp on a tryout basis. The former University at Buffalo cornerback was grateful to have a second chance with the Bills.

Cook signed with the team as an undrafted free agent last year, but suffered a serious knee injury in the first week of training camp. He had surgery last August, and wasn’t cleared to work out until February.

“When [the Bills] called, I almost teared up for a chance to come back,” he said. “I’m just trying to get my knees back. My quickness was a big part of my game, so I’m trying to get my speed back up.”

Cook said he gained some unwanted weight being on the shelf for six months.

"I've lost most of it, but I still feel a little stiff," he said. "I'm trying to loosen up. Each day I've felt better."

Cook was one of 21 players in camp on tryouts, along with Niagara-Wheatfield graduate and former UB basketball player Byron Mulkey.

While not naming specific player, Gailey said he saw some good things from tryout group.

“We had a couple that impressed us well enough,” the coach said. “We’re going to go in and discuss exactly who we might need to bring onto the team.”

There’s not much room – the team has 89 players on their roster, which has a 90-player limit.

---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Gailey wraps up rookie camp weekend

The Bills finished up their fourth and final practice of rookie minicamp early this afternoon on the grass field outside the team's fieldhouse.

Coach Chan Gailey on what he took away from the the weekend: "We had great effort. We got to see some guys run around and try to retain what we had taught them for three days. It was very good work in my opinion. We were able to get outside all three days and we were able to get a lot accomplished."

Gailey's big focus was on seeing what the players could retain from day to day.

"Impressed with some and not impressed with others. But that’s the way it is. You’re trying to find that out. You can watch them run, jump and change direction but you don’t know their mental capacity," he said. "That’s the one thing you don’t know off film, so you’re trying to get a good gauge of that."

A total of 45 players took part in the four practices -- nine draft picks, 10 undrafted free agents, five first-year players and 21 tryout participants.

The next phase of the offseason program will be voluntary organized team activities. The first of those 10 sessions will be May 29. The team will hold a mandatory three-day minicamp from June 19-21.

---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

The much-hyped 'trick shot' video

Viral video sensation Alex Tanney is in the Bills' rookie minicamp this weekend on a tryout basis. The Division-III quarterback from Monmouth (Ill.) College has put up mind-boggling numbers (147 touchdowns, the most ever at any collegiate level), but is known more for his "trick shot quarterback" video that he posted to YouTube in February 2011. The video, which you can watch below, has nearly 2.3 million views.

You can read more about Tanney and his shot at making the Bills' roster in Sunday's print edition.


---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Gailey goes Green on Graham

Bills coach Chan Gailey gave a Dennis Green-like answer when asked today about receiver T.J. Green.

"To be honest with you, he's exactly what we thought," Gailey said. "He's a raw runner and he can run fast and catch the football."

OK, so maybe not quite as passionate as the former Cardinals coach.

As for Graham, his speed was on display as the Bills opened their three-day rookie minicamp on the grass field next to the fieldhouse this afternoon. Graham easily got behind cornerback Domonic Cook early in practice on a deep route, but the ball was slightly overthrown.

Later, he caught the first two passes of a 7-on-7 drill from quarterback Aaron Corp.

"I had a lot of fun competing and putting on the uniform," Graham said. "The hardest thing today was kind of figuring out the concepts. It's a really different playbook. So to come out and try to learn on the fly was pretty tough, but pretty fun just getting out and finally playing football. The last couple months have been kind of tough just training and training."

You can read more about Graham and the first day of rookie camp in Saturday's print edition.

And for those who don't get the Green comparison, I refer you to one of the best clips ever: "They are who we thought they were!"


---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Gailey on goals for the weekend

A total of 45 rookies and first-year players took the field this afternoon for the Buffalo Bills' first rookie minicamp. The team will hold three more practices this weekend, two on Saturday and one on Sunday (all sessions are closed to the public).

Of those 45, 21 are with the team on a tryout basis, including Western New York natives Byron Mulkey and Domonic Cook. They face the longest odds of finding a spot on the team's 53-man roster at the end of training camp, but that's a long way off.

For now, coach Chan Gailey described his focus for the weekend as the following: "You try to see the effort that a guy gives. You try to see if a guy is a lazy guy or a worker. You're trying to figure that out. You're trying to figure out, does a guy retain what you teach him? Can he hold on from day one to day two what you taught in day one, and add on to day two? So you're looking at that. Those are the two main things. They're talented guys, or they wouldn't be here to start with."

Along with Cook and Mulkey, the other 19 tryout players are: C Taylor Boggs, RB Zach Brown, DE Vince Browne, TE Derek Buttles, WR Roddell Carter, LB Nick Clark, WR Gino Crump, FB Dorin Dickerson, DE Sean Ferguson, WR Kevin Fitzpatrick, DE Corey Hart, DT Johnny Hollins, LB Brian Smith, S Nick Saenz, WR Derek Session, DE Bernard Smith, QB Alex Tanney, LB Jeff Thomas and DT Logan Walls.

---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Buddy & Chan on VY

Bills General Manager Buddy Nix after the team's rookie practice today on the signing of free-agent quarterback Vince Young:

"We’re looking always to try to improve our team – get deeper and get more competition, and that’s what this is. It’s a competition for the backup quarterback job. Not the starter, obviously, I’ve said that 100 times. He knows it. That’s the way it is. It’s just to try to get us better."

"We’ve got two of the best quarterback coaches in the business, starting with Coach Gailey and then David Lee. Those guys are good teachers. They will do what he can do best. Trust me he’s a big good athlete who can do a lot of things for you."

"The guy’s been to two Pro Bowls. He’s 31-19 as a starter in this league. We think he can do that again. If he has to play, he can give us a chance to win the game or at least this, he will make Tyler (Thigpen) better. One of ‘em will be better. So that will make our team better."

Gailey on Young's strengths: "Well, he's got a great arm. When he worked out here, he threw it very well. Everybody knows his mobility. He brings you that. And he's won football games in the NFL. That's another positive."

Gailey on how Young's abilities fit the Bills' spread scheme: "We tend to fit the offense around what people do. We don't make people fit in to our offense. If he ends up ... if we get an injury to Fitz and he ends up playing, we'll tailor some things to do what he does, using his movement skills."
Does Gailey see Young being part of a Wildcat package?

"Right now, I ain't even had him here. It's hard to say what a guy might do, but when he gets here, we'll teach him the basics and go from there. There's no telling what he can do."

---Mark Gaughan

VY agrees to terms with Bills

The Buffalo Bills have taken out a high-profile insurance policy on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Bills have agreed to terms on a contract with Vince Young, the team announced. ESPN reported the deal is for one year and is worth $2 million with another $1 million in incentives.

The move gives the Bills added security behind Fitzpatrick. Young will be the favorite to win the No. 2 job in a competition with incumbent Tyler Thigpen, who spent last season as Fitzpatrick’s backup.

“We think adding Vince to our roster will create more competition for the backup quarterback position,” said Bills General Manager Buddy Nix. He brings with him some unique physical abilities that most are aware of and that will make the competition interesting. It’s all about improving our team.”

"Thanks to Buddy Nix and Coach (Chan) Gailey for giving me the opportunity to come in and play and compete," said Young in a statement released by the team. "I am looking forward to playing with the guys and helping where I am needed.  I have always respected the Bills organization and am looking forward to being a part of the team."

Young became a free agent in Febraury when Philadelphia decided not to pick up the option on his contract after he spent one season backing up Michael Vick. Young, who turns 29 this month, was 1-2 in relief of Vick last season and threw four touchdown passes with nine interceptions. The Eagles signed ex-Bill Trent Edwards to be Vick’s backup for the coming season.

Young, 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, spent his first five seasons in Tennessee and made two Pro Bowls (in 2006 and 2009). But he lost his job to Kerry Collins in 2010 and fell out of favor with then-Titans coach Jeff Fisher. He was released after the season. Young has a career record as a starter of 31-19. His career completion percentage is 57.9, and he has 46 TD passes and 51 interceptions.

Thigpen, 28, saw almost no action last season, only entering in mop-up duty in a loss at San Diego. Thigpen is a former seventh-round draft choice who has played five seasons and has 12 career starts. He went 1-10 with a Kansas City team that finished 2-14 in 2008. He has just one start since, for Miami in 2010.

---Mark Gaughan

Six draft picks signed by Bills

Six of the nine members of the Bills' 2012 draft class will be under contract Friday when the team opens rookie minicamp.

The Bills announced tonight the signings of the following players: outside linebacker Nigel Bradham (fourth round), cornerback Ron Brooks (fourth round), offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders (fifth round), linebacker Tank Carder (fifth round), offensive lineman Mark Asper (sixth round) and kicker John Potter (seventh round).

That leaves first-round pick Stephon Gilmore, the cornerback from South Carolina, Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn (second round) and North Carolina St. wide receiver T.J. Graham (third round) as the team's drafted players still unsigned.

---Jay Skurski

Florence lands on feet

Recently released Bills cornerback Drayton Florence didn't take long to find a new job - and it's a good one.

Florence has signed with the Denver Broncos, according to Florence is a consummate professional, and it's good to see him go to a team that has a good chance to go to the playoffs. Denver, with new QB Peyton Manning, figures to be the favorite to repeat as AFC West titlist. Florence has not been to the playoffs in five years, since he was with San Diego in 2007.

According to ProFootballTalk, Florence will make $3 million this year, and his deal is worth $4.5 million over two years, with another $1 million in incentives. He was due to make $4 million this year had he made the Bills' roster. Denver has 33-year-old star Champ Bailey at one cornerback spot. The Broncos four-year veteran Tracy Porter from New Orleans in free agency. Porter started the past three years but has had some durability issues, missing 10 games the past three years. It's a good spot for Florence.

---Mark Gaughan




Video: Gaughan, Sully analyze Jackson receiving extension

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