ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Shawne Merriman #56 and Kyle Williams #95 of the Buffalo Bills wait for the next play against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 31-24. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
The Buffalo Bills begin their voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) today, and while attendance for the workouts won't be known until later in the day, we already know of at least eight non-participants thanks to Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com.
One rookie - undrafted free agent safety Delano Howell - will not be in attendance, as he's still finishing up college courses at Stanford. It's the same reason that quarterback Andrew Luck will have to miss time with the Indianapolis Colts this spring.
Meanwhile, and perhaps more importantly, seven veteran players will not be practicing as they continue to rehab coming off of surgeries to correct old injuries. Those players: tight end Mike Caussin, center Eric Wood, defensive end Shawne Merriman, defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Torell Troup, linebacker Chris White and cornerback Terrence McGee.
Of particular interest to us in these OTAs - and perhaps the only useful information to come out of them - is who will be replacing projected starters in the first unit. Wood will likely be replaced by Colin Brown, but will Kraig Urbik or Mark Asper get any work in the pivot? With Williams and Troup sidelined, does the team put listed end Spencer Johnson inside, or do they roll with Dwan Edwards, Alex Carrington or Kellen Heard? If we're correct in assuming that young corners Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams will be running with the ones, who comes in as the nickel back in McGee's stead?
Lineups in May don't have lasting meaning, but with the team practicing in shorts and not allowed to make contact with teammates, it's the only tangible information we'll have from these practices. It'll also be interesting to note if some of the younger players, or some of the newer faces, steal reps from more established players.