Niagara Gazette

Bills

August 8, 2011

Wang steps in at left tackle, has a rough day at camp

PITTSFORD — Ed Wang was all ears after practice Monday at St. John Fisher College. The second-year pro, and first Chinese-American to ever be drafted in the NFL, took mental notes as three-time All-Pro Shawne Merriman broke down some of Wang’s tendencies and weaknesses.

Wang, who stepped in at starting left tackle for the second straight day in the absence of the injured Demetrius Bell, may get some extended playing time on Saturday when the Buffalo Bills open preseason at Chicago.

“That’s definitely not the way you want to earn your spot,” Wang said of Bell’s injury. “I’m just trying to take this opportunity and kind of run with it. It’s a shame that he went down like that, but I just have to keep getting better every day.”

By Chan Gailey’s account, Monday was a tough day for Wang, among others, fending off a consistent duress from Merriman and Co.

“I’ll have to go watch film and get the real story, but obviously our pass protection, we just collapsed a few times and you can’t have that,” he said. “We have to let our quarterback stand back there and be able to throw the football.”

With Bell out, Wang, along with fellow second-year guy Cordaro Howard gave the coaches an opportunity to gauge the depth along the offensive line. Left tackle, in particular, is a spot Gailey is concerned with.

“Ed has played none and Cordero played very little last year,” Gailey said. “We really don’t have any depth at that position and we have to develop that. That’s what training camp is all about is to develop that.”

That’s exactly what Wang is trying to do. The Bills’ fifth-round pick a year ago dressed in just six games last season all in reserve role.

“It feels like I haven’t played in forever, which I really haven’t,” Wang said. “I’ll be excited to get back out there and compete and play in the game. That’s what you work for; you work to play and try to win games.”

Wang started off the season at right tackle, though he made 35 starts at left tackle at Virginia Tech. He also saw some time at guard.

“I’m just talking to other coaches, watching other players, just trying to pick up pointers here and there,” he said. “I’m just trying to learn from this experience.”

Wang said none better to learn from than your counterpart.

“I was just asking him what are the little things he sees wrong with my set that he tries to take advantage of. He’s a wise player, a pro bowler,” he said of Merriman. “So I just try to pick up things from the defense’s perspective. I’m just trying to see what he sees, the weaknesses that I have, and try to learn from that.”

•••

A long list of Bills joined Bell on the sidelines Monday. Among those out of action were Roscoe Parrish, Drayton Florence, Chris Kelsay, Donald Jones, Shawn Nelson and Antonio Coleman. Rookie corner Justin Rodgers and second-year defensive tackle Kellen Heard also did not participate. Kelvin Sheppard and Marcus Easley remained out as well.

Torell Troup walked off the field midway through the afternoon session with an apparent hand injury.

Though Gailey has given some veterans rest in past days, that was not the case Monday for Kelsay, Parrish and Florence.

“They both are feeling tight and instead of pushing it right, since they get a day off tomorrow, it’s almost 48-50 hours before we go again,” Gailey said.

“Most camps when you get to practice eight, nine, that’s where it starts to wear on them a little bit because they’ve been running and they’ve been doing things,” he said. “But they haven’t been carrying that extra weight, so their legs get a little extra fatigued and that’s what happens. It’s mostly, 90-percent lower body.”

Florence, who was cleared to practice last Thursday along with the rest of the newly signed Bills, is expected to miss at least a week with a sprained ankle he sustained Saturday night.

The injury is good news for rookie corner Aaron Williams, who will likely get added playing time with the first group Saturday night.

Sheppard remained on the sidelines nursing a hamstring injury Monday while his teammates hit the field. Though the expectations were high heading into camp for Sheppard, coach Dave Wannstedt said he’s far behind.

“He needs to get out there and practice,” he said. “There’s nothing like practicing full speed.”

•••

Last year’s third-round pick Alex Carrington took some first-team reps Monday at an unfamiliar position. The 6-foot-5, 304-pound defensive end, who was drafted as a 3-4 end, played a little outside linebacker in place of Kelsay. Carrington lined up in a three-point stance in a four-man front in one of the Bills’ sub packages.

“It’s a little better matchup with a 300 pounder versus maybe a 260 or 270 (pound) tight end to get in there and stop the run,” Carrington said.

Gailey said it’s Carrington’s athleticism that leads to mismatches on the edge.

“Alex is one of those guys that’s really long,” he said. “He’s a tall guy that has long arms. He can press the guy and push him back into the pocket and he’s got enough speed and quickness to be able to get on the edge.”

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