Rookies expecting tempo jump at OTAs


They're grateful for the time they got on the field during their four practices over three days earlier this month. The individual one-on-one teaching at times from Buffalo's coaching staff was invaluable in helping acquaint them with the team's offensive and defensive schemes as well as assignments and position specific techniques. But those days are over now as OTAs begin today with the vets setting the pace and the rookies forced to keep up.

"I definitely think the tempo will be at a higher level," said second-round pick Cordy Glenn. "The terminology will be more advanced. It was a little simpler for us in rookie camp. I'm looking forward to getting my mind prepared for all those things that are about to happen."

 "I know when the vets get here it's going to be a whole different scenario," said fifth-round pick Zebrie Sanders. "So I'm just trying to take one step at a time."

Sanders, Glenn and sixth-round pick Mark Asper are all learning new blocking techniques from line coach Joe D'Alessandris in addition to their assignments on each and every snap.

"This technique is really different because you go to college and one coach teaches you one way and you get used to that and then you get to a pro camp and they try to change it up a little bit," said Sanders. "It's cool. I'm just trying to adjust and get better with what the coaches here are trying to put me through."

Some of the rookies will see more time on the field than others. Top pick Stephon Gilmore is expected to get time with the first string defensive unit at right cornerback. He's going in confident feeling it will serve him well.

"I'm looking forward to getting in there and competing and playing confident like I always do," said Gilmore. "I'd like to get to know the vets a little bit more and how they want me to play."

It may seem like a challenge for rookies to quickly familiarize themselves with the respective scheme and compete for roles on the squad. However, second-year cornerback Aaron Williams knows all the reps they'll get between now and late June will have them better prepared than last year's rookie class, which was victimized by the NFL lockout.

"Actually going through minicamps and OTAs and not just going through training camp prior to the season helps a lot," he said. "You actually have time to put your nose in the playbook, so the rookies this year have it good."

And the playbook is just where most of Buffalo's rookies, both drafted and undrafted, have spent their time since rookie minicamp ended.

"I'm a perfectionist so I like to be perfect," said third-round pick T.J. Graham. "I'm harder on myself more than anybody else. Learn the plays. I know I can run and do everything else so learning all the plays would be the toughest thing. That's my goal."

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