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OTA Practice Notes - Day 4

Posted May 20, 2013


Getting back into the swing of things after a long weekend for the Bills didn’t appear to be an issue for the players when they returned for Week 2 of voluntary OTA practices. Head coach Doug Marrone prepared his players telling them to make the necessary progress the motivation had to come from within.

“I think this is a very critical week for us as far as OTAs,” said Marrone. “Obviously the installation is heavier now than it was in the beginning. Less time to prepare and you’re talking about practices number four, five and six. My challenge to the team was I can get up there every day and give them the ‘let’s go get them’ speech. But in the end that’s not going to be good enough for the upcoming season. A lot of this has to come from within and inspired from oneself to do better. That was my challenge to them.”

At this stage of the game the offense, defense and special teams units are still going through the process of installation. In no way are the players at the point where they’re trying to refine components of the scheme on their respective side of the ball.

“Right now we’re just trying to make sure we’re on the same page and once we get to the point where we’ve got a grasp of the whole offense and we see different stuff we’ll talk and I can tell a receiver he should do this,” said Tarvaris Jackson. “If you think you see something on a certain route you’ll point it out or a different coverage. But right now we’re just trying to get everybody on the same page and doing the basics.”

Woods not playing like rookie
For second-round pick WR Robert Woods, Monday was a good day off the field as he signed his rookie contract with the Bills. It was also a good day because despite missing the first week of OTAs due to the league’s college graduation rules he picked up where he left off in rookie minicamp.

Woods however, did admit his first practice with the vets was eye-opening.

“It felt good to be back on the field, but it was a lot more fast-paced on the field with the vets than it was at rookie camp,” Woods told Buffalobills.com. “No huddle, a lot of fast-paced offense, conditioning and everything, get back out there, but it’s fun to be with the guys again.”

For Woods and the rest of the receiving corps they’re still trying to get the timing down with the quarterbacks on the roster, but the rookie receiver believes it’s a matter of when not if everything will be running smooth in short order.

“From a quarterback and a receiver standpoint once we get that extra time on our hands and really get to communicate with the quarterback one-on-one I think we can really develop our relationship like that and he knows where I’m going to be and where the ball is going to be,” Woods said. “As you saw (Monday) it was a little bit off here and there, but after a while we’re going to be on fire.”

Kevin Kolb was particularly taken with one route run by Woods on Monday.

“I was really impressed with was a move that a lot of young guys make a mistake on and he didn’t make it,” Kolb said. “He beat the guy off the line and he continued to run his route and continued to push and was patient with it. He understood the timing of the offense and my footwork and we were able to hit a big play and keep the integrity of the pocket. That was good to see and I complemented him on it. A lot of young guys don’t do that. He’s somewhat complex in his route running ability.”

Alonso up with the ones
Through the first week of OTAs rookie second-round pick Kiko Alonso had been running with the second team defense at ‘mike’ linebacker. However, Alonso was moved up to the first unit on Monday as he was paired with Bryan Scott inside.

Alonso has been given the responsibility of calling the defense from the time he’s been practicing at One Bills Drive. Head coach Doug Marrone feels his rookie linebacker has had no issues handling the added responsibility.

“I have not seen a problem at all with the adjustment with him being able to do that,” said Marrone. “And that started early on when we had the rookie minicamp. He’s handled things quite well.”

With Alonso up with the first unit, Arthur Moats and Nigel Bradham worked with the second unit.

Rookies hook up again
EJ Manuel and undrafted rookie WR Da’Rick Rogers hooked up for a long touchdown last week in OTAs. This week they connected for an 80-yard scoring play on a very similar looking play.

“The biggest thing I was happy about, was Coach (Hackett) has really been harping about moving up in the pocket, and I think that was something that I tried to keep in the back of my mind,” said Manuel.  “Da’Rick ran a great route. The DB was kind of mugging him a little bit, but he got over the top of the guy and made a great catch.” 

O-line shuffle
When Chris Hairston pulled out of practice with an apparent injury right before team work in Monday’s practice session it set in motion a lineup shuffle up front. Hairston has been the team’s first team right tackle with Erik Pears still rehabbing. With Hairston out it moved Sam Young to the starting right tackle spot in practice Monday.

Young had been playing mostly guard through the spring as part of the left guard competition, but with Young on the edge, Colin Brown was again the primary left guard. In at left guard with the second unit was undrafted rookie Zach Chibane, while Chris Scott manned right guard with the second group.

That made Hutch Eckerson the team’s second team right tackle, with Thomas Welch the only man is his normal role as second team left tackle.

Schedule
The Bills have a morning practice scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 am.