Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- On Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills will conduct their first mandatory group of practices under the guidance of Head Coach Doug Marrone.
While it's yet another chance for some of the younger players to improve their chances in their fight to ultimately make the roster, it's also a time for Marrone to have the ear of his entire team for a three-day stretch before their last break of the off-season.
What are some things to expect out of the three-day workout? Here's a brief outlook:
1) No word on Byrd
- To no one's surprise, the situation between the franchised safety Jairus Byrd and the Bills has yet to be resolved. Byrd has not signed the one-year agreement that would pay him $6.916 million in 2013, and the two sides are still within the window to negotiate a long-term contract. Barring a humongous shift in their dealings to this point, don't expect Byrd to show up to mini-camp this coming week.
2) More Manuel reps
- Now with a rookie mini-camp and three weeks of Organized Team Activities under his belt, first-round pick EJ Manuel likely has a solid base of knowledge of the offense and how it's supposed to operate. As Marrone stated early on in the OTAs, the plan was to get Manuel more and more reps with the hopes of getting him to an even amount of time on the field as both Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson. Manuel has been slowly creeping up in the number of reps, and perhaps mandatory mini-camp is the time to finally unfurl the rookie and let him start taking more physical than mental reps.
3) Defensive depth chart clarity
- Because OTAs were merely voluntary for players, two of the team's free agent signings did not show up to any of the workouts. Outside linebacker Manny Lawson and defensive lineman Alan Branch each were absent throughout the three-week stretch, but will likely be in attendance starting Tuesday. Because of that, you can start to get an understanding of where certain players might fit in to the depth chart along the defense as they head in to training camp. With the focus of the upcoming three-day stretch of practices being about game planning, some of those players that stood out so far may get the most time on the field.
4) Colin Brown gets some competition
- With the signing of unrestricted free agent Doug Legursky last week, that potentially represents direct competition for Colin Brown at the left guard spot. Not having even secured the job from either Chris Scott or Sam Young just yet, Brown will likely face his stiffest challenge in Legursky. The former Pittsburgh Steelers' interior offensive lineman started a total of 17 games over his past four years, nearly tripling the amount of contests that Brown, Scott and Young have started throughout all of their careers combined (6). It might not be a huge shift in the three-day mini-camp, but expect to see Brown lose some first-team reps to Legursky.
5) Full-scale kicking competition continues
- The only thing that is guaranteed when it comes to the kicking game of the Buffalo Bills in 2013 is that Garrison Sanborn will be the long snapper. After that? Both the kicking and punting jobs are up for grabs. The most pressure is on kicker Rian Lindell, who has been with the Bills longer than anyone else on the roster. The Bills drafted young Dustin Hopkins in the sixth-round to potentially replace the team's long-time place kicker. On the punting side, Shawn Powell didn't do much in 2012 to secure his spot moving forward. He faces legitimate competition in recent tryout-signee Brian Stahovich, who seems to specialize in hang time. Neither job will be decided by the time the week is done, but surely the internal pressure to perform will be heightened with a long break in between mini-camp and training camp.