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Posted: Wednesday, 29 May 2013 3:13PM

5 Observations from Bills OTAs: Day 8



Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550)  -- For the Buffalo Bills, Organized Team Activities are winding down and the start of training camp is merely two months away. The on-the-field work has not stopped for the team throughout the past few weeks in Orchard Park, and on Wednesday the media was able to view the entirety of practice.

Keep in mind, this is only one day of a voluntary off-season workout, so all the observations should not be treated as overwhelming opinions on individual players and how they performed on one given day. There also were no pads and no contact, so that must also be acknowledged.

With that said, however, here are 10 quick hits from Wednesday's practice:

1) QB Watch
- I know I already wrote in a warning, but it bears repeating especially for the position that most Bills fans have an eye on. Do not take away anything concrete from this except for how they performed on this one given day without pads and without contact. During 11-on-11 and 9-on-9's, this is how each player's Wednesday shook out:
  • Tarvaris Jackson - 27 snaps, 10-17, 136 yards
    • Jackson had the strongest day of the three, specifically on his touch passes on wheel routes and go routes to his pass catchers. The biggest play of the day was when he hit C.J. Spiller with the perfect amount of air and accuracy, giving Spiller an opportunity to scamper down the field for a 40-yard gain. He also connected with Marquise Goodwin for a 27-yard gain down the left sideline and also should have had another similar completion to Zach Brown, but the running back dropped the pass. It wasn't all good for Jackson however. He missed on a few of the touch passes badly, and struggled to consistently hit his targets in stride when not throwing a touch pass. There was also a sequence where he was ruled down for a sack on three consecutive plays during 11-on-11's.
  • Kevin Kolb - 25 snaps, 7-11, 100 yards, one fumble
    • While Kolb was more consistent in the intermediate areas, he did not hit on some of the big plays like Jackson did. His best gains of the day was a 26-yard wheel route to C.J. Spiller, dumping it in over his shoulder perfectly, and a 25-yard gain on a deep out to T.J. Graham. Kolb also bobbled a snap during 9-on-9's and it hit the turf for a fumble.
  • EJ Manuel - 16 snaps, 7-10, 58 yards
    • The first-round pick didn't go out on a limb too much in this session. His longest completion and best pass of the day during team work was a 15-yard out to undrafted rookie Da'Rick Rogers. Other than that, there were a lot of throws to the flats and check downs for the quarterback. He did get some repetitions with the first team throughout the practice.

2) Defense wins Day 8
- Many have been wondering what the new Buffalo Bills defense may look like under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. I've described it as "organized chaos" in the past, and that's how it appeared on Wednesday. Pettine dialed up blitzes from basically everywhere on the field. They were getting pressure from the outsides, up the middle, and taking advantage of winnable matchups against some blockers. It all built up to their best moment of the day during team work, when Tarvaris Jackson was ruled down for a sack on three consecutive plays by Mana Silva, Nickell Robey and Alex Carrington respectively.

3) Mike Caussin flashes
- The Bills kept tight end Mike Caussin around from last season, despite starting the year on the PUP list and eventually landing on Injured Reserve due to a torn ACL. With Scott Chandler still not able to do team drills, Lee Smith in a walking boot and Mickey Shuler on the sidelines as well, Caussin got a lot of work on Wednesday and didn't disappoint. He made three catches throughout the practice for a total of 44 yards, including a 19-yard post pattern and a 15-yard slant where he had safety Aaron Williams draped all over him. He displayed confidence in his hands and it showed up in a solid performance for him.

4) Number 2 cornerback competition
- Before I tell you about a sleeper in the cornerback competition, it seems as though the Bills will once again be going to the ideology of keeping one starting cornerback on one side of the field, and the other on the opposite half. The way the Bills players at the position have been talking and the way it's appeared during practices, Stephon Gilmore will be the left cornerback and the winner of the competition will be the right cornerback. It doesn't seem as though, from early glances, that Gilmore will be shadowing the opponent's top wide receiver. As far as the actual competition goes, one name to keep in mind is Crezdon Butler. The 26-year old Butler was signed off Arizona's practice squad last November, and has been working almost exclusively on the outside. He made a couple of nice plays, breaking up what appeared to be completions throughout Wednesday's practice. Leodis McKelvin has still yet to come back all the way from off-season surgery, and will still play prominently in to the training camp competition.

5) Former first-rounder making plays
- In the few practices the media has been allowed to see, a consistency has been the play of outside linebacker Jerry Hughes to this point. He's been able to put on pressure on the quarterbacks with solid moves off the edge, perhaps showing that he's learned some things in his rather trying first three years with Indianapolis. The Bills flipped Kelvin Sheppard for Hughes just after the draft, and with his versatility it seems it could work out to be a solid one for Buffalo.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

All photos courtesy of AP
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