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Woods Signing Official: The Bills officially have announced the signing of 2nd round draft pick Robert Woods. That leaves just top pick EJ Manuel unsigned. The two sides agreed to terms over the weekend.
OTAs Underway: Week two of the organized team activities is underway and One Bills Drive. There will be three days of practice this week. Players that are not practicing or in attendance today according to the team's website are Stevie Johnson, Brandon Kaufman, Jordan Dangerfield, Keith Williams, Marcus Easley, Scott Chandler, Alan Branch, Manny Lawson, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Dareus. Johnson was working with trainers on the side as he has missed all offseason workouts with a strained back. Other players are rehabbing injuries from last year. There is a visitor in camp today as ex-Jaguars RB Montell Owens is on the sidelines watching the workout. He had a career high 209 yards rushing last year on 42 carries. He is a two time pro bowl special teams players and can play fullback or halfback. He could likely be the roster replacement for Corey McIntyre.
Woods Reportedly Signs: ESPN.com reports that 2nd round pick Robert Woods has agreed to a four year deal with the team. He was at the rookie symposium and is expected to sign the deal this week. That would leave just top pick EJ Manuel unsigned.
Pats Game Soldout: Russ Brandon tweeted today that the opening day game against the New England Patriots is soldout. That leaves six regular season games at Ralph Wilson Stadium to sellout games. Individual game tickets won't go on sale until July but season ticket holders get first shot at buying extra tickets and first shot at group sales as well.
Bills Hire Two: Bills have made other moves to the front office. They have announed the hiring of Jim Monos as directior of player personnel and Kelvin Fisher as director of college scouting. This fills holes created with Doug Whaley's promotion to general manager and was hired by Whaley. Waiting on these hires was the reason for waiting to announce Whaley's promotion. He has known both men for a long time. He has worked with Fisher before but not Monos who will move into Whaley's role overseeing pro personnel and the college department.
Organization Focused On Winning: The Bills officially introduced Doug Whaley as the new general manager of the team during a press conference today. Russ Brandon started the press conference and said he didn't know if it would take a day or a month to finish the process of hiring the general manager. He feels naming Doug Whaley GM today helps them in the talent evaluation process. Brandon and Whaley both feel organizations win championships not individual. They have a laser focus on winning, nothing else matters. Brandon said Whaley is a man of high character and relentless in the pursuit of a championship. Whaley thanked Brandon, Ralph Wilson, and Buddy Nix before opening the press conference up to questions. Their main goal is giving the fans a team that consistently competes for championships. Brandon said, the team is all about what they do moving forward and with Whaley at the helm and Marrone as head coach they feel real good about the future but it is all about proving it. Whaley is excited about the coaching staff and players but it is a day to day process of evaluating. They are focusing on the OTAs and minicamps while Whaley attends the BLESTO meetings to begin preparing for the 2014 draft. Whaley is proud of what they brought in and what struck him the most about Doug Marrone is his committment to excellence and winning. He stayed in Buffalo to sees thing through because he is a competitor. The sky's the limit when you are committed to winning and hard work. On Jairus Byrd, Whaley said they want to keep their good players and they will continue negotiating with him but not in the press. Now that Whaley is in place, Brandon said they will begin using analytics starting with the strength and conditioning program. Whaley's main responsibility is the 53 man roster and talent evaluation while Jim Overdorf will continue to manage the salary cap. Brandon has final say on contracts but all decisions will be made lock step with Whaley. The new GM will not give up going out and scouting college players. He feels he can do it all because he is very good in time management. Brandon called him the perfect guy to lead the football operation and is everything you look for in a leader it is always we and us with him.
Whaley Officially Named GM: The Bills have finally made it official. Doug Whaley has been named the new general manager of the team. They announced it this morning in a release. He has been the heir apparent to Buddy Nix since he came over from the Steelers. Russ Brandon tweeted, "Doug has been involved in every level of player personnel & he will lead our efforts in reestablishing a winning tradition for this organization. Doug is a passionate & committed leader who will work tirelessly with his dept to build a team our fans & all of WNY will be proud of." There will be a press conference at 11:30am today.
Alonso Signs: 2nd round pick Kiko Alonso has signed a four year contract. His deal leaves just EJ Manuel and Robert Woods as unsigned draft picks.
Report: Whaley To Be Named GM Tomorrow: Jason LaCanfora reports that Doug Whaley will be named the new general manager on Thursday. The Bills have yet to confirm that report. He has been the assumed successor to Nix since he joined the team. Many feel this was always the plan for after the draft.
Kolb Gets First Reps: In day two of the organized team activities yesterday Kevin Kolb received the opening reps followed by Travaris Jackson. They pretty much split the reps evenly and were followed by EJ Manuel who saw less reps. Doug Marrone said the reps will even out when Manuel catches up to Kolb and Jackson who have had more time immersed in the system. On hand for yesterday's workout were the fathers of the two coordinators. Mike Pettine Sr. and Paul Hackett had long and decorated coaching careers of their own.
Bills Claim TE: The Bills have claimed TE Mickey Shuler off of waivers from the Raiders. He is the son of the player with the same name that had a lot of success with the Jets in the 80s. To make room on the 90 man roster they released WR Kevin Norell. Shuler has been a journey man since being drafted in 2010 in the seventh round by Minnesota. He had to stints with the Vikings and played for the Dolphins and Bengals. He was on the Raiders practice squad most of last season.
Rookies Missing For School: Day two of this week's OTAs is underway and there are several rookies not in attendance as they finish up their school obligations. The NFL has a rule that rookies can't practice with the team until the college year ends. Missing from the OTAs are: Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Brandon Kaufman, Aaron Tipoti, Nickell Robey, Jordan Dangerfield, and Kevin Norrell. Stevie Johnson is sitting out practice for a second straight day. He missed the previous minicamp with a strained back.
OTA Notes: The Bills held their first organized team activity workout yesterday underneath the cloud of Buddy Nix stepping down as the general manager. The practice varied the tempo but for the most part everything happened very quickly. Most plays went off in rapid fashion. Tavaris Jackson got the first team reps at quarterback followed by Kevin Kolb and then EJ Manuel. The star of the day was rookie wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers who caught long scoring bombs from both Kolb and Manuel.