What you need to know about Bills OTAs this week

Posted May 17, 2017

The Bills began their first week of OTA practices on Tuesday. They wrap up the week on Thursday with an open media session. Here’s what you need to know about the goings on at the practices.

What can the players do?
The organized team activities (OTAs) mark the beginning of phase three of the offseason program. There will be 10 OTA practices over the next month. The team began on Tuesday this week. Only a maximum of three practices are allowed in the first two weeks.

No pads except protective knee and elbow pads. Helmets are permitted, but there is no live contact. Provided no live contact takes place 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 team periods are allowed during this time.

Ragland on the road back
LB Reggie Ragland, whose rookie season vanished in the wake of an ACL injury in training camp last summer, has been cleared to do some football activity. He’s expected to participate in individual position drills through the OTA period.

Whether or not he’s allowed to expand his workload to team drills prior to the mandatory minicamp in mid-June remains to be seen.

Young QBs will get work
Even though there are five quarterbacks on the roster, it’s widely anticipated that the younger QBs, in addition to starter Tyrod Taylor, will get the bulk of the team work.

After Taylor works with the first unit, second-year QB Cardale Jones and rookie QB Nate Peterman are expected to see a good deal of reps as they get familiar with executing what is a new scheme for both of them.

Veteran T.J. Yates has played in this system before in Houston under Gary Kubiak.


Positions to watch
The starting right cornerback position figures to be a healthy competition between Kevon Seymour and top draft choice Tre’Davious White. Each are expected to get reps with the first unit on defense.

At receiver the competition for the No. 2 role has begun. Veterans Philly Brown and Andre Holmes are expected to be battling with second-round pick Zay Jones.

It appears as though the backup running back job behind LeSean McCoy is wide open with Joe Banyard, Cedric O’Neal and Jonathan Williams all in the mix.

Punter Colton Schmidt will get some legitimate competition from undrafted rookie Austin Rehkow out of Idaho.

Players to watch
OT Dion Dawkins
- The coaching staff gave pretty early indication in rookie minicamp as to where they see the rookie lining up. Dawkins played left tackle this past weekend and began this week there as well with Cordy Glenn not yet practicing.

CB Leonard Johnson - Familiar with the defensive scheme, Johnson figures to battle for a slot corner role on defense and plays a fast, frenetic style of coverage.

LB Jacob Lindsey - A first-year player out of Harvard, the middle linebacker is already pushing for second team reps and calling the defensive plays. He has made good progress since arriving in Buffalo.

RB Cedric O’Neal - Power in motion is how to describe this back. O’Neal runs with good body lean and gets to top speed quickly with his downhill style.

Among the more notable players not expected to participate are Sammy Watkins, Cyrus Kouandjio and Kolby Listenbee. All three are still rehabilitating from offseason procedures.