Ask most fans of the Buffalo Bills and they'd tell you the weak link of the offensive line is starting right guard Kraig Urbik. Those in attendance were in for a change on the offensive line, but not the one you'd expect.
Head coach Chan Gailey elected to take starting left guard Andy Levitre off the first team, and replace him with backup Chad Rinehart.
"You always want the opportunity to play with the ones and just try and get a position on the team," said Rinehart, the team's new first team left guard. "Nothing's guaranteed. I guess going with the starters is a good indicator."
Gailey praised the work of Rinehart thus far through training camp and one preseason game, and said he though the former third round pick deserved a chance.
"Chad has played pretty well during camp," remarked Gailey. "He's earned the right to compete for the job on a little bit more equal basis, so we gave him a shot. We're going to see how that plays out. Now's the time to give a guy a chance if he's earned it."
Despite the rather alarming news to most fans of the team, Rinehart has felt good about the way he's played so far in training camp.
"I wouldn't say I'm surprised," Rinehart stated. "I felt like I'm holding my own during practice. I thought after last year I showed them I'm very capable as a starter so I just felt it was a matter of time. And when my opportunity came I need to make the most of it."
An overall lack of depth at the offensive line has been one thing that has plagued this year's version of the Bills team. But through that, Gailey remained impressed with Rinehart and perhaps tipped his hand as to what he may have in store for both he and Levitre.
"Chad's the one guy right now that's fought his way to deserve a shot to at least split some time there."
The head coach added he had not lost any faith in the abilities of Levitre, and also didn't rule out Rinehart possibly moving to right guard if that seemed like it were the team's best option.
Sitting out of practice today were Kelvin Sheppard, Shawn Nelson, Roscoe Parrish, Justin Rogers, Chris Hairston, Craig Davis, Zack Pianalto, Kamar Aiken and Chris Hazley. Sixth round pick and linebacker Chris White missed his second straight practice. Gailey revealed White will miss the next three weeks with an injury. The head coach also added that wideout Craig Davis would miss about a week of practice. This likely puts them out for Saturday's game against Denver.
Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams left practice briefly to go to the cool down tent, but came back shortly thereafter. Shawne Merriman stopped practicing about halfway through. For a detailed look at that, click here.
As a whole, it was a terrible day for the Bills' offense. During the closing team drills, the quarterbacks and receivers were out of sync, and the blocking was even worse. It was an off day to say the least. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looked good with solid throws up until the 11-on-11s started.
Practice resumes on Wednesday night, set to start at 7:15 pm at St. John Fisher College. It's the second last practice for the Bills in Pittsford.