Pittsford, NY -- The wait is almost over for the Buffalo Bills. When Thursday arrives and the team dons the home-blues for the first time in 2012, it signifies their first real competition since the season ended over seven months ago.
The excitement for the rookie players and fans alike will come to a head at Ralph Wilson Stadium - -and they aren't the only ones. Even a veteran player such as Mario Williams is getting worked up over the game, mostly because it's his first time playing at home as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
"Thank goodness this is the pre-season because I think that's actually going to be a lot more exciting as far as being the first time going out there," Williams remarked. "Being on the field, being in that environment and just seeing the fans' reactions. It's almost like me being a rookie all over again and I kind of gotta make sure I don't get too excited, too tired."
On Monday night, head coach Chan Gailey concluded that the starters will get somewhere near 15-to-18 plays against the Washington Redskins, with the majority of the snaps in the game going to the second and third teams respectively.
While the Bills attempted to prepare for their opponents, the final installment of practice at St. John Fisher College ahead of the preseason tilt didn't exactly get Gailey enthused by the way his team approached the two-hour session.
"I thought after practice that mentally we were sorta in to it," he said. "It's the first time in quite a while that we have not been in pads and I thought guys thought it was a glorified walk-thru. We've got to make sure we learn how to practice without pads on, so we've got to up the tempo of that a little bit. But we got 15 or 20 plays against some Washington looks, but the rest of the practice was against each other."
The team will have a walk-thru on Wednesday, then go back to Buffalo to prepare for the game. The next practice at training camp will be a night session on Saturday at 6:30 pm.
Johnny White, Justin Rogers and Mike Caussin were the only three Bills players to miss practice on Tuesday. The Bills will likely be without Erik Pears, David Nelson and possibly more due to some nagging injuries. However, took part in team drills for the first time on Tuesday since one of the first few practices of training camp.
The Bills take on Robert Griffin III and the rest of the Redskins Thursday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium at 7 pm. The game will be blacked out as it's live, but will be re-broadcast at a later date.
You can hear John Murphy and Mark Kelso on the call on WGR Sports Radio 550, the official radio home of the Buffalo Bills.