By Mark Gaughan
The defense looked better than the offense today as the Buffalo Bills finished their last voluntary, organized-team activity practice. The defenders were able to force a lot of short, check-down passes from the quarterbacks, and the completion percentages were not real high for any of the Bills' passers.
Second-year receiver T.J. Graham made the offensive play of the day, beating cornerback Ron Brooks down the left sideline and making a 50-yard catch on a throw into the wind from Tarvaris Jackson.
The Bills have had officials on the field for every practice that has been open to the media this spring.
"I think it's extremely important for us," Marrone said. "They're going to be out there for the game. We always want to constantly be aware of the rules and playing within the rules. The officials do a good job of that. The only problem that I had during the week -- and I addressed it with the coaches -- the problem we have is when coaches start calling fouls, they're not doing their job, including myself.
"So for me they call the fouls, we listen to what they do then we’re able to take that off the tape and say, 'Listen, this is a foul you can’t do that.' We get extra teaching time, with the officials at practice. I think it benefits. I think studies have shown when you have the officials at practice, you reduce your penalty intake."
Undrafted rookie Nickell Robey, from Southern California, was working as the slot cornerback with the first-teamers on defense.
Marrone on Robey:
"I think it’s a simple answer. I think he’s made plays. … Now today he made a great break on the ball, had it. He could've caught that ball and scored a touchdown. That's what we expect him to do. But I think he's someone who's come in and really done a nice job as far as a free agent and made plays and made an impression on the staff."
Dorin Dickerson is back working with tight ends. Dickerson, an undrafted rookie out of Pitt last year, was a tight end last season. He started out this spring working as a receiver.
"Dorin Dickerson we thought he would have a good opportunity to go to receiver and play for us," Marrone said. "He actually came to us and wanted to go back to the tight end position. So I think we have a player right now who can do a good job playing both positions."
Undrafted rookie Da'Rick Rogers made an outstanding catch on a 15-yard hitch pattern from EJ Manuel. Rogers used his big body to outfight Brooks for the ball. But then he stood for a moment over Brooks, who had gone to the ground. Marrone came over and talked to Rogers.
Marrone on Rogers:
"I thought today was probably a better day for him than what he's had. I think it shows that he has the ability to do it. He needs to make sure that we see it consistently.
"The thing that concerned me -- and I addressed it with him right after he made a very good catch, then he kind of stood there over a player, and that’s a 15-yard penalty -- that's not what being a pro is, and that's not playing like a Buffalo Bill.
"I told him, 'Is this going to be something we're going to have to be concerned about with handling any type of success from you?' That’s what I told him. I looked at him in his eye, and he understood that. And it's good to end on a good note cuz now you're excited to see what he can do when we come back to the mandatory minicamps."
The Bills have no practices next week. They have three mandatory minicamp practices the following week.
taggedDa'Rick Rogers | Doug Marrone | Ron Brooks | T.J. Graham | Tarvaris Jackson