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Buffalo Bills' Shawne Merriman Is Second-Team Right Defensive End

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CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 13: Shawne Merriman #56 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates a sack against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 13: Shawne Merriman #56 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates a sack against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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As you've undoubtedly heard by now, Buffalo Bills defensive end Shawne Merriman returned to the practice field on Thursday, fully participating in the entirety of the Bills' second OTA session and giving hope that perhaps his Achilles issues are finally (and completely) behind him.

What you likely haven't heard by now is how his return to the field shuffled the Bills' defensive line rotation. All we know, for now, is that Merriman worked at right defensive end in full-team sessions, and that he did so predominantly with the second unit.

We don't yet know how that changed the team's second-unit defensive line, however. On day one of OTAs, Mark Anderson and Spencer Johnson were the second-team defensive ends; it would seem logical that Merriman's presence bumped Johnson out of an end spot (or they at least rotated), but we haven't seen any confirmation of that.

We're also curious to know if Merriman's return prompted the Bills to give Johnson some practice time at defensive tackle, and if so, how that changed the team's lineup. The Bills are very high on Johnson - that much we know - but it would be very interesting (perhaps just to us) to know where he's lining up and with which unit(s) now that Merriman has returned to the lineup.

Merriman is talking a big game about his return to health; check out today's Web Rumblings for quotes to that end. If Merriman is right, and he's back to his old form, Buffalo's pass rush will have a chance to be highly lethal after years of being a non-factor.