Buffalo Bills face offensive line issues in training camp


New head coach Doug Marrone isn't thrilled with the play of his offensive guards so far in training camp.

The Buffalo Bills are finding that replacing left guard Andy Levitre, who left to sign a $46.8 million contract with the Titans, is more difficult than head coach Doug Marrone hoped it would be.

Buffalo News reporter Tim Graham says that Marrone has been disappointed in the guard play in training camp so far, and he wanted to see either Colin Brown or Doug Legursky separate themselves from the competition. Apparently, that hasn't happened.

Levitre was the only offensive lineman for the Bills to start all 16 games last season, and was a staple along the front line since being selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. His contract offer from Tennessee was presumably higher than what the Bills were willing to offer the guard, and so Marrone has enlisted a number of players to compete to take his place. The immediate returns have not been very good.

Brown, 27, has spent most of the last four years on practice squads for the Chiefs, Ravens and Bills, and has started just two games in his career. Legursky, also 27, had mostly played center in his career. His first career start came for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers. The Bills signed him away from Pittsburgh and threw him into a competition at guard.

Fourth-year pro Sam Young was another contender headed into camp. Young, a 6'8, 315-pound lineman out of Notre Dame, was claimed off of waivers from the Cowboys in 2011, but early in camp, Young is still on the second string, along with Legursky.

Marrone is known for his offensive mind, having helped build the New Orleans Saints into a scoring juggernaut in the first few years of the Sean Payton era. A big part of the Saints' offensive formula is in the middle of the offensive line with elite guard play.

Nobody thought that replacing Levitre would be easy, but it seems as though Marrone is still caught off guard with how far away the team is from finding a suitable fill-in. In the style of offense we are used to seeing from him, this could be a more important offensive line camp battle than most.

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