Bills' Frazier thinks two often injured veterans are looking good in OTAs

May 28, 2019 - 6:02 pm
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Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - The Bills continued with OTAs down at the stadium on Tuesday. Leslie Frazier has a lot of new faces on the defense as the team’s defensive coordinator figures out how he wants to use everybody.

“The corner position we’ve got some good competition and we’ll see how it unfolds, but right now it’s really good to watch.”

Tre White and Levi Wallace come into OTAs as the starters, but watch out for Kevin Johnson. He’s a five-year veteran that was drafted in the first round by Houston. Injuries derailed him with the Texans as he played 16 games, six games, 12 games and one game. Frazier likes how he’s looked in the first two weeks of practice, “He’s a former first round pick that had a good career in Houston and the injuries are what sidetracked him, but you saw the ability coming out of college (Wake Forest), so we’re hoping that he can stay healthy because we know he has the talent to really help us.”

Johnson looked great in shorts and no pads, but if he continues, I think he could be the starter for Wallace on opening day.

Trent Murphy is another player who has battled injuries with Buffalo and Washington. He missed the whole 2017 season with the Redskins and didn’t play in five games for the Bills last season. Frazier thinks he sees a new man out on the field with Murphy, “I’ve told him a few different times as we’ve gone through some drills how different he looks. Of course, last year at this time he was coming off the injury and the surgery and really kind of feeling his way. The confidence, the movement, everything looks so much better. We’re hoping that continues as we get farther along, but he’s a different player.”

First round pick Ed Oliver is going to be lined up differently as a Bill than he was in college at Houston. Frazier thinks Oliver is fitting in, “Ed’s done a really good job up to this point. I don’t think it’s been overwhelming for him, with the meetings along with what we’re doing on the practice field. You see his quickness, you see his burst. As he continues to get a better grasp on what we’re asking him to do on defense, I think you’ll see more of his athleticism as well. Up to this point, we’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen and we’ll just keep watching his maturation over the next few months.”

It’s not just changing positions for Oliver. Frazier said there are many things the rookie has flying through his head right now, “The learning curve part for Ed is not only picking up our system and grasping that, but coming to the National Football League as well. For instance, one of the things that you have to be able to deal with is this locker room is just so different from what he came from at the University of Houston. The competition is different, so there’s a learning curve when it comes to that.

“There are some guys who can match up a little bit better than some of the people that he played against in college so you have to be able to get through that. Then you throw in what we’re doing from a defensive standpoint that’s a different scheme than the scheme that he came from. Being able to grasp that and being able to go out there and play fast. You need a guy like Star or even a guy like Harrison who has gone through it just a year ago to talk to you and help you get through some of those days where you start to wonder if you’re ever going to get it.”

Oliver is closer to 280 pounds than over 300 pounds like Kyle Williams was. Frazier thinks that could work to the kid’s advantage on the defensive line, “Bill Teerlinck, our defensive line coach and I had a lot of conversations about transcending from college football at 280 pounds to the NFL at 280 pounds as a 3-technique in our scheme. For us, we don’t necessarily feel like we have to have a 300 pounder or a real heavy guy at that position. We need a guy with great quickness, great get-off, that has strength and athleticism and Ed has those qualities.

“He had a lot of what we were looking for at that position and he’s so explosive. He has some rare physical traits that we didn’t want to ignore. We feel like his strengths are matched for what we’re looking for at our defensive tackle, especially the 3-technique, and that’s what kind of sold us. The more we watched the tape, the more we were around him, we saw the things that we were looking for and the qualities that we needed to really help us at that position.”

The Bills continue OTAs at the stadium this week.

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