Thursday, June 12, 2014
Bills wrap up OTAs with wet practice
By Mike Rodak
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills' luck with the weather ran out as they held their ninth and final organized team activities session Thursday.
Skies opened about halfway through the outdoor practice, with players initially toughing it out during an 11-on-11 drill before moving indoors to their practice facility.
Even before the weather was a factor, it was a practice to forget for quarterback EJ Manuel and first-round pick Sammy Watkins. In a routes-versus-air drill, three of Manuel's throws directed towards Watkins in the end zone were off-target. Watkins got his hands on each but couldn't haul them in.
Later in the practice, back indoors, Manuel hit Watkins with a well-thrown pass but Watkins couldn't get ahold of the ball. Manuel also had multiple passes on fade patterns sail over receivers in the end zone, a trend during the three weeks of OTAs.
The Bills wrapped up practice with a full-team red zone drill. Manuel's first pass was an incomplete fade pattern, while his second pass was overthrown. Following a hand-off to Anthony Dixon that went for a touchdown, Manuel's next pass was thrown away, while his final pass was intended for Dixon on a dump-off but was off the mark.
From a big-picture standpoint, the one sequence of the one OTA doesn't mean much, but it wasn't the way the Bills wanted to end their three weeks of practice. Manuel and Watkins will look to bounce back next week at mandatory minicamp.
Attendance-wise, linebacker Brandon Spikes was not spotted Thursday after participating in the first eight OTAs. Cornerback Leodis McKelvin, who has been practicing on a limited basis following hip surgery, was also not on the field.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore took a step forward in his recovery from hip surgery, taking reps at first-team cornerback in an 11-on-11 drill. Linebacker Kiko Alonso (hip surgery) also had an increased workload Thursday.
Offensive lineman Doug Legursky returned to practice for the first time in a week.
Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin participated in positional drills Thursday but was limited as he recovers from a knee injury suffered earlier this week.
Defensive end Bryan Johnson, who was carted off the field with an apparent left leg injury Monday, will be out until training camp, coach Doug Marrone said.