Monday, August 5, 2013
Bills' left guard position to be tested early
By Mike Rodak
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone expressed concern with the team's competition at left guard, filling the void left by the departure of Andy Levitre this offseason.
On Friday, Doug Legursky got first-team reps at left guard in place of Colin Brown, who had seen the bulk of the action through the first four days of training camp.
The next two weeks, however, will test the options at the position.
From an X's-and-O's standpoint, the Bills' offensive line will have to prepare for three different schemes in the coming days:
Monday, Aug. 5 -- An intra-squad scrimmage means that Brown and Legursky will have to prepare for Mike Pettine's defense, which isn't a pure 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. It's also heavy on blitzes and blitz looks, which will test the left guard in their line calls and protections.
Sunday, Aug. 11 -- The Bills travel to Indianapolis, where the Colts run more of a traditional 3-4. With a nose tackle playing head-up on the center, Brown or Legursky will be "uncovered" at left guard, meaning they won't have a defensive lineman lined up against them on most plays. This creates a "bubble" on running plays, and will test the left guard's ability to move into the second-level and block inside linebackers.
Friday, Aug. 16 -- Playing their second preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Bills will have their first opportunity to see a traditional, 4-3 scheme. If the Vikings choose to put them on the field, defensive tackle Kevin Williams and defensive end Jared Allen will provide a major test for the left side of the Bills' line, between Brown/Legursky and left tackle Cordy Glenn.
Looking forward, it will be worth monitoring how much of the Bills' decision at left guard is based on size. Brown (6-foot-7, 326 pounds) and Legursky (6-foot-1, 315 pounds) are essentially the largest and smallest players, respectively, on Buffalo's offensive line.
In Week 1, the Patriots will pressure the Bills' interior offensive line with their size and length: Tommy Kelly (6-foot-6, 325 pounds) and Vince Wilfork (6-foot-2, listed at 325 pounds) figure to see the bulk of playing time on the inside. While technique and ability are important considerations, if the Bills want to match size with size, then Brown could get the nod.