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OTA report - Day 1

Posted May 29, 2012


Day one of OTAs had a solid tempo throughout leaving Bills head coach Chan Gailey pleased with the work rate of his players as they got spring practices underway Tuesday.

“A lot of energy. A lot of quickness,” said Gailey. “We felt bigger on the field and it felt bigger on the field. It felt quick on the field. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but initial observations were good.”

With respect to bigger, Gailey was indirectly referring to a couple of their new offensive linemen like second-round pick Cordy Glenn and fifth-round pick Zebrie Sanders, who both stand 6’5” or taller and over 320 pounds. Top free agent acquisition Mario Williams at 6’6” also cast an imposing frame at defensive end.

“I am just trying to roll off the ball that is the most important thing to a defensive lineman when you get off the ball,” Williams said. “So basically just trying to get a feel and get back to the fundamentals of getting off the ball.”

Williams spent Day 1 of OTAs at left defensive end, but did flip over to the right side during some walk through work early in practice.

Position changes
With the defense switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 there was a host of position changes. Chris Kelsay is back to his more familiar defensive end position as is veteran Spencer Johnson. Both of them spent time at outside linebacker last season.

Dwan Edwards and Alex Carrington are now defensive tackles after playing defensive end the last two seasons for Buffalo. Shawne Merriman is listed as a defensive end after playing his entire previous career in 3-4 defensive systems as an outside linebacker.

Danny Batten is listed as a defensive end, but saw most of his reps on Day 1 of OTAs at outside linebacker.

Bryan Scott is listed as an outside linebacker and while that may represent a position change on paper, he’s largely been utilized as a subpackage linebacker the past two seasons.

Non-participants
Sidelined on rehab assignment Tuesday were Stevie Johnson, Terrence McGee, Shawne Merriman, Eric Wood, Erik Pears, Mike Caussin and Torell Troup. Rookie CB Cris Hill and S Josh Nesbitt also did not participate.

Merriman was absent due to a doctor’s visit for final clearance coming off of Achilles surgery.

Notes
DT Kyle Williams participated in individual position drills, which was a bit of a surprise for onlookers who weren't expecting him to do any football work until training camp.

"I've really kind of I guess gone to another level I guess with my training the last couple three weeks or so," said Williams. "I go from running to light change of directions, and the last couple of weeks really been doing some hard change direction stuff. It felt good. We kind of talked about it this morning, did some individual, felt really good and hopefully we're on an uphill climb."

Brad Smith spent all of his time at quarterback on Day 1 of OTAs. On the roster he is still listed as a QB/WR.

As far as the quarterback rotation was concerned, after Ryan Fitzpatrick the order went Tyler Thigpen, Vince Young and Smith.

With Erik Pears sidelined coming off hernia surgery the starting right tackle spot was filled by second-year man Chris Hairston with the starting left tackle spot being manned by second-round pick Cordy Glenn. It’s clear the coaching staff wants Glenn to get as much work as possible on the blind side right away.

Colin Brown, who started the season finale at center last season, served as the starting center with the first unit Tuesday in place of the rehabbing Eric Wood. Wood is expected back for training camp.

The starting cornerbacks were rotated. Leodis McKelvin was entrenched as the starting right cornerback, but Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore rotated in and out on the left side with the first unit during team work.

Gilmore also saw a lot of time at right cornerback with the second unit opposite Justin Rogers.

Chris Kelsay got the starting nod at right defensive end with Mario Williams on the other side. Mark Anderson rotated in a bit, but saw a good deal of work with the second unit.

As far as head coach Chan Gailey is concerned he’s got a host of veterans that are all starters at end in his mind.

“There’s going to be a three or four-man rotation in that group,” Gailey said. “Hopefully everybody stays healthy and we get a great rotation going there. In my mind they’re almost all starters.”

With Kyle Williams not participating in any team work coming off of Achilles surgery Dwan Edwards stepped in as a starting defensive tackle alongside Marcell Dareus.

Stevie Johnson’s absence led to a large number of reps for third-round pick T.J. Graham. He lined up in Johnson’s position a good deal of the time. Donald Jones, David Nelson and Derek Hagan were the receivers that saw time with the first unit most often Tuesday.

Highlights
To see highlights go to the Bills Roundup video found in the Media Center on Buffalobills.com.

Schedule
The Bills have Wednesday off before returning to the field for an afternoon workout at 12:35 pm on Thursday.