Defensive end Alex Carrington says it's been a while since he's lined up in space but it certainly didn't seem that way during the first snap of 11-on-11 drills Monday.
The 6-foot-5, 304-pound Carrington lined up at outside linebacker and easily blew by left tackle Ed Wang as if he had played the position all along. It won't be the last time Carrington plays outside -- or inside -- linebacker, either.
At first Carrington appeared to replace outside linebacker Chris Kelsay -- who sat out Monday's practice with an injury -- but the plan is to play defensive ends Spencer Johnson and Dwan Edwards at linebacker as well.
"Whether Kelsay is injured or not, or whether it's [Shawn] Merriman or Danny Batten or anybody we have is injured or not, we have to know the position," Carrington said. "That's why they're sticking us in there now."
Players the size of Carrington generally don't play linebacker, but as the Bills attempt to improve their defense they are seeking ways to exploit matchups.
"It's definitely a different world out there but I've taken to the role," Carrington said. "There are times when you're over a tight end and it's a little better matchup with a 300 pounder vs. a 260 or 270 tight end to get in there and stuff the run."
In the Bills' nickel front, Carrington, who gained 20 pounds during the offseason, was out wide.
"It kind of takes me back to A. State when we lined up out there," said Carrington, who played at Arkansas State. "I have to dust the rust off a little bit because it's been a while since I've been that wide. You have a little more space out there and a little more time to react and you have to adjust differently."
Carrington appears athletic enough to pull if off.
"Alex is one of those guys who's really long," Bills coach Chan Gailey 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."
Kelsay and wide receiver Roscoe Parrish were among several players who sat out practice Monday. Parrish also missed the majority of Sunday's session.
"Both are feeling tight and instead of pushing it right now, since they get a day off [today], it's almost 48-50 hours before we go again so we decided to give them the afternoon off so they can get back Wednesday," Gailey said.
Bills players missing from practice have stacked up over the last three days. Second-year nose tackle Torell Troup left practice early Monday with what Gailey said was a hand injury. Also missing practice were Demetrius Bell, Antonio Coleman, Drayton Florence, Justin Rogers, Marcus Easley, Shawn Nelson, Kellen Heard and Kelvin Sheppard.
"When you get to practice eight and nine that's where it's starts to wear on them a little bit," Gailey said. "They've been running and they've been doing things but they haven't been carrying that extra weight and then their legs get a little fatigued."
With Bell out with a shoulder injury the left tackle position is a concern. Wang, Bell's backup, is a second-year player with little experience and Cordaro Howard was just taken off the PUP list Sunday.
After that there's rookies Chris Hairston and Isaiah Thompson and fourth-year tackle Mansfield Wrotto.
"We don't have a lot of depth right now," Gailey said. "Ed has played none, Cordaro played very little last year so we really don't have any depth at that position. We've got to develop that and that's what training camp's about. We would have loved to have more time to do it but you take what you have."
Las Vegas oddmakers have laid the over/under for the Bills win total this season at 5.5 which ties them with Cincinnati and Denver and just ahead of Carolina (4.5) for lowest in the NFL.