For a second consecutive day, 'tempo' was the buzzword emerging from Buffalo Bills Organized Team Activities. Coming off of an energizing, yet over-hyped day one of OTAs thanks to the much-ballyhooed arrival of WR Terrell Owens, things got a bit more contentious in Orchard Park, culminating in the first (reported) on-field scuffle of the 2009 season.
Chris Brown over at the official site has the tasty tidbits from day two for your reading pleasure. Out of everything, I was most impressed by this line about the Bills' top draft pick, DE Aaron Maybin:
"An indication of just what kind of tempo there was on the field was evident in the minor scrum between Aaron Maybin and offensive tackle Chris Denman. Maybin captured the edge on the pass play during team work and flushed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from the pocket.
When Maybin tried to pursue Denman arm hooked him and spun him around, which Maybin apparently did not appreciate. A shoving match ensued, but stopped shortly after the assistant coaches ordered them to separate."
When was the last time you heard of any rookie mixing it up with a veteran on his second day practicing with his new team? If you didn't like Maybin before - and you had every reason to, by the way, as talented and well-spoken as the young man is - you've got to respect him now. If this rookie class for the Bills is one thing, it's feisty - and that's going to help this team get better.
After missing the first day of practice, veteran RB Dominic Rhodes reported for duty. As anticipated, he was worked into the running back rotation behind starter Marshawn Lynch and the recently re-signed Fred Jackson.
FB Corey McIntyre (legal issue), S Donte Whitner (court hearing) and WR Roscoe Parrish were absent from the day's practice. WR James Hardy, WR C.J. Hawthorne, LB John DiGiorgio and CB Ashton Youboty continue to rehab injuries and will not practice any time soon. Rookie CB Cary Harris was resting an injury and did not practice; head coach Dick Jauron will address the media Wednesday with a full injury update, according to Brown.
DT Marcus Stroud, who did not participate on Monday, returned to the field on a limited basis Tuesday.
Butler struggling at RT?
Yesterday, DE Chris Kelsay raised some eyebrows when he registered a 'would-be' sack on QB Trent Edwards. That trend continued today, according to Mark Gaughn of the Buffalo News:
But Chris Kelsay got around right tackle Brad Butler quickly on the play, and it would have been a sack. Kelsay also had a bat-down at the line.
Either Kelsay is completely rejuvenated by the return of Aaron Schobel and the arrival of Maybin, or Brad Butler is struggling to adapt to his move from right guard to right tackle. Before you freak out and launch into a tirade about how the offense is doomed if Butler can't get it together, keep in mind that this is OTAs, and it's definitely May. Don't let this "news" freak you out, because anything happening football-wise in May can barely be considered "news" to begin with. But a trend is a trend, and there is reason to watch this situation closely when training camp begins in July.
TE Nelson starting to make plays
As much as we should keep our emotions in check when bad things happen in OTAs, it's equally important to keep the excitement in check when hearing things as exciting as Shawn Nelson's contributions on day two:
Rookie tight end Shawn Nelson, the BIlls' fourth-round draft choice, displayed good hands on the second day of organized team activity workouts. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder, made back-to-back good grabs on pass routes down the right seam of the field. Both throws came from Gibran Hamdan and both were caught in traffic.
Other players - starting corners Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin, and yes, Mr. Owens, too - made plays on Tuesday. Nothing else, however, was particularly earth-shattering; lineups largely remained the same.
Brown, whose blog is always an absolute gold mine this time of year, has some interesting nuggets up about the Bills' allowing Edwards flexibility in play-calling and the continued battle between McGee and Owens. Be sure to check out Brown's work throughout OTAs - this is when he's at his best.
More on OTAs early Thursday after Wednesday's practice.