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OTA Practice Notes - Day 7

Posted May 28, 2013

WR Stevie Johnson returned to full-team work at the beginning of the final week of OTAs at One Bills Drive.

 

The Bills have been waiting to see Stevie Johnson as a part of the team practice setting. After being limited to just individual position drills in his initial return to practice last week, Johnson’s workload was expanded to team work as he got some plays in Tuesday.

Johnson after going through individual position drills as he had last week, was rotated in for some team work during both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. The best catch of the day by the Bills wideout was the twisting grab he made during red zone work over the middle despite tight coverage from Bryan Scott.

It appears as though Johnson is recovered from his back injury that kept him sidelined as he was not shy about turning and contorting his body to adjust to passes.

Working back in
A number of players have been working their way back to the practice field in addition to Johnson with even lengthier rehabs. Veteran offensive tackle Erik Pears, who has been battling a persistent groin problem since last year, has been doing individual position drills for a few weeks. On Tuesday he was rotated in at right tackle during team work.

Pears was subbing in for Sam Young, who in the absence of Chris Hairston (undisclosed injury) and Pears has been working with the starting unit. The veteran’s full return would certainly put Buffalo in a much better position at offensive tackle along with Cordy Glenn, Hairston, Young and Zebrie Sanders.

Speaking of Sanders he has also been getting some limited work in individual position drills. The former fifth-round pick has been rehabbing from double hip surgery for torn labrums stretching all the way back to last September.

“To be honest I feel the best I’ve felt in the past nine months,” Sanders told Buffalobills.com. “Really talking to the trainers they really helped me prepare for where I am right now going in and doing individual with the rest of the offensive line.”

Offensive line coach Pat Morris has been working Sanders exclusively at left tackle to this point. Sanders is committed to a methodical approach coming off a pair of major hip surgeries.

“I just try to take it slow,” he said. “I go in every day with the trainer and ask what I’m going to do for the day’s practice. I make sure I do a lot of stretching before practice and I try to watch myself and not do too much. If I notice I’m getting sore I’ll tell the trainers and just pretty much working as hard as I can without re-injuring anything.”  

Sanders’ goal is to be full go by late July.

“I think the June camp I’ll probably do a little more, but just not 100 percent full speed,” he said. “But training camp that’s my goal. To be 100 percent full speed.”

Meanwhile Scott Chandler, who was running routes on his own last week and catching passes after practice, was allowed to participate in individual position drills on a limited basis Tuesday.

“It’s all based on how I feel,” said Chandler. “Obviously these guys are trying to hold me back a little bit.”

Dareus, Searcy back
Marcell Dareus and Da’Norris Searcy were back at OTAs working on their game Tuesday. Both had missed some of the voluntary workouts last week. Dareus was running with the first unit at one of the defensive tackle positions while Searcy was working at safety back alongside Aaron Williams.

“I had stuff I had to take care of,” said Dareus as to why he was unable to attend the voluntary practices last week. “As a man, everybody has their responsibility. I had my responsibility I had to take care of.  I did that, and now I’m back here with the guys, working on what we’re going to work on.

“I stayed in my playbook, stayed in shape.  Just came out here ready to run.”

Dickerson back to tight end
The Bills coaching staff at the start of offseason practices had Dorin Dickerson at wide receiver as they transitioned him away from the tight end position. On Tuesday however, Dickerson was back with the tight end group.

With Lee Smith and Mickey Shuler both sidelined with injuries, Dickerson was needed at tight end from a numbers standpoint.

“We’re down a couple of guys so it’s good for me to be versatile and see what I got at tight end,” said Dickerson. “I think it’s real good right now.  I felt real comfortable out there. Just going to keep working and see what happens.”  

Alonso, Spiller head to head
Rookie second-round pick Kiko Alonso, who for the second week in a row is getting first team reps on defense, found himself in a couple of matchups with C.J. Spiller in the passing game. Spiller appeared to have him beat to the flank on the first team red zone play Tuesday. As he was pulling in the Kevin Kolb pass Alonso neatly tipped the ball out of Spiller’s hands prompting a host of whoops from those along the defensive sideline.

Spiller did have a response. Later in practice during 11-on-11 in the red zone, Spiller took a hand-off at the five-yard line and quickly got the edge and Alonso could not get there in time. The two had some friendly competitive words after Spiller had coasted over the goal line for the score.

Other notable plays
Alonso had a sack in 11-on-11 team work as he tapped out Tarvaris Jackson early.

Early in practice Tarvaris Jackson hooked up with T.J. Graham for a 60-yard bomb down the left sideline for a touchdown as he got behind the defense.

Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Izaan Cross had a tackle for loss on RB Zac Brown, who he tapped out right after he took the hand-off.

Marques Goodwin made a good catch on an 18-yard out from Kevin Kolb and Da’Rick Rogers dove to make a 15-yard grab over the middle on a throw from Kolb as well.

Defensively, Jamie Blatnick had a would be sack as did undrafted rookie DL Aaron Tipoti.

Chris Gragg had a touchdown catch during red zone right under the goal posts and spiked the ball with authority, something usually not seen in practice.

Spiller and Fred Jackson both had a pair of quality runs after the offensive line opened up some good holes for the ground game.

Crezdon Butler had an interception on a EJ Manuel pass intended for Goodwin, but the officials did call defensive holding on the play.

And Kevin Elliott had a touchdown reception on a throw from Kolb during 11-on-11 red zone.

Schedule
The Bills are back on the practice field Wednesday for a 10:30 am practice.