The Buffalo Bills have come out of their bye week in good shape.
Receivers Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods returned to practice Monday after players had four days off, and coach Doug Marrone expressed optimism both would be able to play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons in Toronto.
“They did everything, so I was happy with those two guys, the way they came out,” Marrone said. “We’re at full strength from that standpoint. We don’t expect anyone not to be available for us, which is a good sign.”
Woods suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week Nine against the Kansas City Chiefs. He then sat out the team’s next two games.
“Today was the first day testing it really,” he said after practice Monday. “Took a little bit of the week off and just relaxed. … It felt pretty good.”
Woods is second on the team among receivers with 26 catches for 349 yards, trailing Johnson in both categories.
“Happy to be out there, happy to go through the routes and be in the huddle and all that,” Johnson said. “It was cool and I made it through.”
Johnson sat out the Bills’ 37-14 victory over the New York Jets in Week 11 because of a right groin injury.
Running back Ronnie Wingo missed practice Monday. Marrone said he missed his flight back to Buffalo following the team’s bye weekend.
“You have to do your due diligence and preparation to make sure you get here. He’ll be fined,” Marrone said.
The Bills tweaked their schedule this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Players are usually off today, but will instead practice and be off Thursday.
“I think you can get better work done that way. They can be more focused. Thanksgiving, everyone is a little bit worried, ‘what time are you getting home? What time are we going to eat? What are we going to do? Pick this up before you go,’ all those kind of things that go on,” Marrone said. “We can get a lot of work done Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Give the players off Thursday and then let’s go to work. It’s a lot easier to do that coming off a bye than if you’re coming off a structured week to week before.”
The Bills made two practice squad moves, signing offensive lineman Manase Foketi and releasing offensive lineman Bryant Browning. Foketi originally signed with Denver this year as an undrafted free agent, but was released before the season. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder spent one season at West Texas A&M in 2012 after two years at Kansas State.
The Bills have worked on building their depth on the interior offensive line throughout the season. Last week, they signed J.J. Unga to the 53-man roster off the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad. Marrone was asked Monday to evaluate left guard Doug Legursky’s performance.
“Doug has had a little bit of inconsistency early on. I still think he was bothered by his knee, you could see him hobbling out there sometimes early on. I have a lot of respect for him to go out there and play. Sometimes we’ve gotten some consistent play out of him,” the coach said. “I think it’s the same thing; it’s a development process, just keep working him. Getting better and better each week. It’s not a secret we’re bringing in some young guys and working them out and rotating that part of the roster and trying to get bigger overall through our whole offensive front.”
Rookie safety Jonathan Meeks, who’s on the team’s injured reserve-designated to return list, practiced Monday, the first day he was eligible to do so. He can not return to the roster until Dec. 9.