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Notes to Note: Days 5 and 6 of OTAs

We've had two more OTA practices since my last OTA update here at Buffalo Rumblings; in light of the new information provided by CB in his Day 5 and Day 6 notes, here's some of the things that have stuck out to me:

From the Day 5 notes come some interesting comments about two of the Bills' reserve linebackers:

The second unit defense got the best of them as Coy Wire batted down a pass and Thaddaeus Washington broke up a play when he jarred the ball loose from Sam Aiken before he could get two feet down when he made a leaping catch over the middle.

Obviously, the ability to cover tight ends and even slot receivers is a big part of what makes a Cover-2 linebacker effective. Derrick Brooks' ability to cover wideouts made him the best Cover-2 linebacker in recent memory. That's why I think Coy Wire has a distinct advantage at LB in this scheme - he's played safety since coming into the league and while he's never been the best cover safety, his experience there certainly makes him an effective cover linebacker. I could see him playing with Crowell in nickel situations as our only two linebackers. Also, I believe if Washington can prove to the staff he has what it takes in coverage, he could beat out a player such as Josh Stamer for the #7 linebacker spot on this roster. At the very least, he could push for a practice squad position.

Our second observation comes from the Day Six notes:

Leonhard has also been part of the team's first nickel defense as he slides in at a safety position while Whitner mans the slot.

This is interesting on a few levels - first, the fact that Leonhard is getting nickel looks over, say, Ashton Youboty/Jason Webster/Jabari Greer speaks volumes about the coaching staff's feelings on our cornerbacks. Sure, it's different positions, but still - it's interesting. As CB is quick to note, Leonhard is one of the smartest defenders on the team, so this wouldn't necessarily be bad - Leonhard played well in spot duty last season. But is he really better than three of our top five cornerbacks?

I do like, however, that the team is looking at Whitner covering slot receivers in nickel packages. I think his size/speed combination makes him perfect for this role in passing situations, and down the line I envision John Wendling playing strong safety when Whitner slides down. This would give us a bit more size up the middle so that teams think twice about running the draw. Of course, if Whitner can't handle it, I'm all for keeping him at SS. But it's nice to see the coaching staff experimenting with their DB personnel this early in the season.

One final note on the battle for our starting RG position:

Jason Whittle manned the right guard spot with the first unit as he and Duke Preston continue to alternate spots. Preston was the backup center Wednesday.

I'm going to love watching this battle throughout the spring and summer. If Duke Preston wants to win this starting job, he's going to have to pull ahead of Whittle by a considerable margin - if their play is similar, I'm betting that the tie goes to the veteran. That's why I like Whittle to start at least for the beginning of the season; I'm not, however, counting Preston out of either winning the job outright or taking over the job at some point this season.