AFC East: anthony dixon

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills had a pair of offensive players return to Tuesday's organized team activities (OTAs).

Wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Anthony Dixon, who were both not spotted at Monday's session, were back on the field Tuesday.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams remained out of Tuesday's OTAs, which is voluntary per NFL rules. He also missed Monday's practice.

Tight end Tony Moeaki had limited participation Tuesday after doing rehab work during Monday's practice. Other players working on the sidelines Tuesday were wide receiver Cordell Roberson, cornerback Darius Robinson, running back Ronnie Wingo, guard J.J. Unga, offensive tackle Chris Hairston, wide receiver Marcus Easley, and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.

Goodwin injured his knee in Monday's practice. This is the first time that Hairston, who took some reps at right guard with the first-team Monday, had missed practice.

Defensive Bryan Johnson, who was carted off the field Monday with an apparent left knee injury, was not spotted. Offensive lineman Doug Legursky, defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Alan Branch, and defensive end Manny Lawson were also not on the field.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (hip) saw limited reps in red zone drills, while cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin (hip) and Stephon Gilmore (hip) also saw reps with the second team in one red zone drill. That was their first action in team drills of OTAs.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills began their final week of organized team activities with two injuries in Monday's practice.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin came down hard on his right knee while diving for a catch. He met with trainers and briefly returned to practice before eventually leaving the field. His injury doesn't appear to be serious but is worth monitoring.

Meanwhile, rookie defensive end Bryan Johnson was carted off the field with a left leg injury. Johnson, who returned to practice Monday after sitting out two sessions last week, immediately grabbed for his left knee following a play during 11-on-11 work.

Coach Doug Marrone checked on Johnson before the cart left the field. Johnson is an undrafted rookie from West Texas A&M.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams, wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Anthony Dixon were not spotted at Monday's practice after participating in the final session of last week. Tight end Tony Moeaki spent practice rehabbing from an undisclosed injury.

Guard Chris Williams returned to action after missing two practices last week. Offensive lineman Doug Legursky remained out after sitting out last Thursday's session.

Running back Bryce Brown, who dealt with an undisclosed injury through the first two weeks of OTAs, was a full participant Monday. He moved well, catching a pass across the middle from Thad Lewis in stride at one point.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (hip), cornerback Leodis McKelvin (hip), cornerback Stephon Gilmore (hip), and wide receiver T.J. Graham (hip) all sat out team drills. Defensive end Mario Williams saw some limited action in those drills.

Wide receivers Cordell Roberson and Marcus Easley, tight end Mike Caussin, guard J.J. Unga, running back Ronnie Wingo, and cornerback Darius Robinson all remained limited due to injuries.

Defensive end Manny Lawson and defensive tackles Alan Branch and Marcell Dareus were not present.
With three of their 10 organized team activities in the books, the Buffalo Bills have just scratched the surface of the team-building process that will continue through the summer.

During last week's practices there were impressive catches, dropped passes, a few interceptions, and even a fumble. Viewed individually, none of it is of much consequence this time of year.

But if patterns begin to develop, that's where we can begin to draw more substantial conclusions, both good and bad.

With the Bills set to begin their second week of OTAs this week, here are some areas where trends have cropped up. We'll be looking to see if they continue:

Robey
Robey's role: When the Bills signed Corey Graham to a four-year, $16 million deal in March, we scratched our heads a little. Graham is a good player, but the Bills' top three cornerbacks last season -- Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, and Nickell Robey -- were a strength of the team and all were returning. When the Bills hosted some of the draft's best cornerbacks on pre-draft visits, we continued to scratch our heads. When the Bills selected cornerback Ross Cockrell in the fourth round, it gave an even greater indication that something might change at cornerback.

With McKelvin and Gilmore out of OTAs this week because of hip surgery, the Bills' first-team cornerbacks were Graham and Ron Brooks. The next group on the field was Cockrell and Brandon Smith, followed by Robey and Mario Butler. That wasn't shocking to us, because Robey isn't considered an "outside" cornerback. Rather, he excelled in the slot last season. But when the Bills' first nickel unit came onto the field this week, it was Cockrell and Brooks outside with Graham in the slot. The next wave featured Robey in the slot with two younger players manning the outside.

What do we make of that? It could mean that Jim Schwartz doesn't value the 5-foot-7 Robey in the same way that Mike Pettine did. Would that mean Robey's roster spot is in jeopardy? Probably not, but it could indicate reduced playing time for him. The other possibility is that the Bills are simply tinkering with their personnel, seeing what they have in Brooks in what could be a make-or-break training camp, while getting Cockrell on the field as much as they can. We'll be watching to see whether this trend continues this week in OTAs.

Duking it out: Who will replace Jairus Byrd in the starting lineup at safety? The top two contenders are Da'Norris Searcy and Duke Williams. With Aaron Williams (shoulder surgery) out of OTAs this week, Duke Williams and Searcy made up the first team in the back end. That means we're in wait-and-see mode as far as who will get the first crack next to Aaron Williams. If he returns this week, I would lean toward Duke Williams remaining with the first team and Searcy sliding down to the second team with Jonathan Meeks. If Aaron Williams doesn't return, the question about who will get the first chance to replace Byrd will remain on the back burner.

Two-headed attack: As noted by WGR 550's Joe Buscaglia in his Friday practice notes, the Bills put Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller on the field together for some selected plays in OTAs this week. It's something I can remember seeing early in training camp last summer but rarely during the regular season. With Spiller back to full health, offensive coordinator Nate Hackett may try to vary his usage within the offense. Spiller's receiving numbers dipped last season, but if he can be motioned into the slot with Jackson remaining in the backfield, he will cause matchup problems for defenses.

Dixon's position: The Bills' signing of Anthony Dixon added a low-cost depth player to their backfield. When the Bills traded for Bryce Brown earlier this month, it signaled that Dixon may be used more as a fullback or goal-line back than a tailback. So far in OTAs, that hasn't been the case. Physically, Dixon is a far cry from Frank Summers or Evan Rodriguez, and his body type is more in line with a traditional running back. Brown was sidelined Friday with an undisclosed injury, and with fellow running back Ronnie Wingo dealing with a hamstring injury, Dixon got plenty of work at tailback. Ultimately, I think there is room for both Dixon and Brown on the 53-man roster, especially if Dixon contributes on special teams.

Bills set to sign RB Anthony Dixon

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
10:58
PM ET
Former San Francisco 49ers running back Anthony Dixon has agreed to terms with the Buffalo Bills.

Dixon announced the news on Twitter:



Dixon, 26, adds depth to the Bills' backfield. At the moment, he figures to compete for a role behind lead backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.

Dixon sat third on the 49ers’ depth chart last season behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. In 16 games played, he gained 56 yards on 28 carries but added two touchdowns.

At 6-foot-1, 233 pounds, Dixon is a bigger running back who isn’t a threat as a receiver. He was a sixth-round pick by the 49ers in 2010.

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