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Gailey pleased to welcome Lynch, ready to figure out QB situation

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Having running back Marshawn Lynch finally attending practice is a start for Chan Gailey. The Buffalo Bills coach will worry later about where Lynch will fit in what's become a crowded backfield.

"At this point it doesn't matter. It only matters when we get to September," Gailey said Wednesday, referring to how he foresees splitting the workload between Lynch, returning veteran Fred Jackson and rookie first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller.

"Let's get everybody on the same page and get all of the basics down," Gailey added. "Then we'll worry about all that other stuff."

Gailey makes himself available to reporters only once a week, and his comments were the first since Lynch returned to practice on Tuesday after he had skipped the previous 12 voluntary sessions. The 2007 first-round draft pick is unhappy playing in Buffalo and hoping for the possibility to be traded to get a fresh start elsewhere.

With the Bills insisting they have no intention of trading the player, Lynch now has plenty of catching up to do in learning a revamped offense Gailey has been unveiling this spring.

"Both on the field and off the field he has some catching up to do, but it seems like he's a quick study," Gailey said.

Jackson, who replaced Lynch as the starter midway through last season, believes a three-back rotation can work for the Bills.

"I don't think there's going to be any problems between us. The hard part is for Chan to get it working," Jackson said. "But he's always been an offensive-minded guru. I think he can get it done. And we'll do whatever we can to make it work."

On other issues, Gailey said he's prepared to establish "a pecking order" among his quarterbacks for the start of training camp next month. Gailey declined to say which of the contenders for the job he considers to be the front-runner.

Gailey also said there's a chance right guard Eric Wood could begin practicing before the Bills close their offseason minicamps with five practices next week. The second of Buffalo's two first-round draft picks last year, Wood has been limited to working on his own this spring after breaking two bones in his left leg in November.

Gailey had little new to offer after defensive end Aaron Schobel announced last week that he's leaning toward retiring after nine seasons. "It's up to him," Gailey said. "I'd like for him to be on the football team, but I understand his situation, too."

Aside from Schobel and Lynch, the Bills quarterback competition has been the focus of attention since Gailey announced in March that he'll have an open competition to determine the starter.

It's a group led by Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who split the starting duties last season, and third-stringer Brian Brohm, whom the Bills signed off of Green Bay's practice squad in November. And then there's rookie seventh-round pick Levi Brown out of Troy University.

Edwards, Fitzpatrick and Brohm have split time working the first team offense this spring.

That rotation will end once training camp opens July 29, when Gailey intends to appoint one to work solely with the starting unit. He stressed, however, that the competition won't necessarily be over.

"If you try to get everybody equal shots from the first day of camp, then you'll probably get nobody ready," Gailey said. "I want them to work it out by performance on the field."

All three of the contenders have had their ups and downs during the few practices open to reporters. On Wednesday, Brohm forced a pass into the flat, only to have it go off the hands of cornerback Ashton Youboty and then intercepted by Drayton Florence.

Fitzpatrick made several overthrows, before making a perfect pass to James Hardy in the end zone only to have the receiver drop the ball.

Later in the day, the Bills signed rookie fourth-round draft pick, receiver Marcus Easley. Selected 107th overall out of Connecticut, Easley led the Huskies last season with 48 catches for 893 yards and eight touchdowns.

A late-bloomer at college, Easley has looked solid so far during spring minicamps and is in contention for a backup spot behind starter Lee Evans.

Notes: OL Cornell Green missed practice Wednesday after Gailey said the player "pulled something." Gailey said Green is expected to miss a few days. ... To make room on their roster for Easley, the Bills waived linebacker Mike Wright, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Utah. ... The Bills wrap up their three-day minicamp on Thursday.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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