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Minicamp Day 2 - 1st team reps for Easley; Levitre, Shep sit

Posted Jun 20, 2012

The number two receiver role has been a well-documented competition for training camp, but Wednesday was the first day there was some movement in terms of who was getting reps. Up until Wednesday’s minicamp practice Derek Hagan and Donald Jones were getting the lion’s share of first team reps, but Marcus Easley was worked in more with the first unit than he had been during OTAs.

“I know it’s an uphill battle for me going into my third year, especially with everything I had to deal with the past two years,” Easley told Buffalobills.com. “It’s a confidence booster day in and day out, I come in and make plays. I try to learn from my mistakes and just take it one day at a time.”

Easley had more plays than mistakes on Wednesday, including a pair of touchdown receptions during red zone from two different quarterbacks. The first came on a well-run slant with Easley beating coverage and snaring a well-thrown pass from Vince Young.

On the next series Easley pulled in another bullet pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick and held onto the ball despite some pass interference on the play.

Easley has the ideal physical skill set for the outside receiver position opposite Stevie Johnson, but reps with the starting unit have been tough to come by.

“Everyone knows that Stevie is the guy and it’s pretty much an open competition from there,” Easley said. “Based on the reps that the guys have been getting since OTAs, stuff is starting to fall into place. I’m just trying to boost my stock going into training camp and finish this minicamp strong.”

Two new spectators
Andy Levitre was a new non-participant Wednesday with an undisclosed ailment. It’s the first practice Levitre hasn’t participated in all spring. Replacing him in the lineup at left guard was Chad Rinehart. Rinehart’s move from right guard to left guard led to a pair of other line shuffles.

Kraig Urbik, who had been taking starting center reps in place of the rehabbing Eric Wood, moved back to right guard and Colin Brown stepped back in at center with the first unit, something he had been doing the first two weeks of OTAs.

Kelvin Sheppard participated in individual position drills Wednesday, but was not part of the team work in either 11-on-11 or 7-on-7. The defensive staff made use of both Danny Batten and Scott McKillop in his place with the first unit defense at middle linebacker.

The coaches are still trying to find a bona fide answer at middle linebacker behind Sheppard as the team heads to training camp.

Williams leads secondary play
Cornerback Aaron Williams missed some time last week with knee irritation, but has participated fully in minicamp to this point and turned in three pass breakups Wednesday. The first was almost an interception for the second-year player, as he jumped an out route by Donald Jones, but couldn’t hold onto the pass. Had he done so he would’ve been down the near sideline for a 60-plus yard touchdown return.

“I’m feeling real comfortable,” said Williams. “Second year back here with the playbook and having trust with the safeties and George (Wilson) and Jairus (Byrd) are really helping me out and covering my back.”

Williams has spent the majority of his time at left cornerback, a position where he’ll start with a good training camp. Standing six-foot himself, he’s faced most of the taller wideouts in the practice setting like Derek Hagan and Easley. The former second-round pick knows facing those bigger receivers will only help him come the regular season.

“Last year I was mostly on the shorter guys like Wes (Welker) and Santonio Holmes and other guys like that,” said Williams. “This year being around David (Nelson) and Marcus (Easley) they help me out because there are two different styles with taller receivers and shorter receivers so coming out here and competing we’re just grinding together.”

Credited with a pair of pass breakups on the day was undrafted rookie Nick Saenz, whose best play came on a pass to Scott Chandler in the back right corner of the end zone that he raked away from the tight end to force an incompletion. And Leodis McKelvin got an interception on a tipped pass over the middle by Bryan Scott.

Highlights
For all the highlights from Wednesday’s action just go to the Media Center at Buffalobills.com.

Schedule
The Bills close out their minicamp practices with a final workout on Thursday at 1:45 pm.