PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- That distant echo you heard at Buffalo Bills training camp this weekend? Those quiet whispers were what's left of the roaring buzz that accompanied Rex Ryan's grand entrance to the region last summer.
The crowds that swelled St. John Fisher College as the Bills opened camp last July have not been matched as the team began camp this weekend, despite seasonable temperatures and partly cloudy skies both Saturday and Sunday.
Ryan didn't disagree Sunday when asked about the palpable difference between last season and this season.
"I think it was so new [last year]. You're coming in and there was that type of field," he said. "You look at our circumstances. You had competition at a quarterback position. I think that was a lot of the focus. Nobody, including coaches, players, fans really knew who the quarterback was gonna be. So as a coach, you're trying to get to know the players and all that.
"I guess it is more business-like [this season], I think would be maybe how I would look at it. But I love it. I love how the fans come out here and support this team like really nobody else. But there not might be quite the same kind of buzz that it was last year, I would agree with you on that."
As part of the "business-like" atmosphere, Ryan instituted a 10 p.m. curfew for players, saying Saturday that the Bills might be the only team in the league with that early of a bed time. The reason for the change is to help keep players healthy after Ryan felt training camp workloads resulted in too many injuries last summer.
Yet Ryan is looking to buckle down in other ways, too. Sunday's practice was one of the sloppiest in recent memory, with both the offensive and defensive lines committing several false-start and offsides penalties in 11-on-11 drills.
"I wasn't real happy about that," Ryan said Sunday. "That's something when you look back at last year, obviously some of the things that we got to get a heck of a lot better at is obviously the penalties. And those self-inflicted ones, which is jumping offsides, false starts, late hits. Those are things that we know we can clean up and we have to clean up.
"We talked about it again today. You're going to see us start to do some things to remind them, do the push-ups and all that. But I think it's best -- I think we're going to start running laps. My old coach used to have me do that. It seemed to work then, so we're gonna go back to that."