For months, it's been speculated that veteran tackle Erik Pears had the inside track at beginning the 2011 NFL regular season as the Buffalo Bills' starting right tackle. It's been hinted at by many, most prominently GM Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey. Now, you can add offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris to the list of people dropping hints about Pears.
In an article published just this morning, D'Alessandris talked up the likes of not just Pears, but also Mansfield Wrotto and rookie Chris Hairston. His most effusive praise, however, was directed at Pears.
"He came in here a little light, but it was because he wasn’t playing," D’Alessandris told BuffaloBills.com. "He was just trying to sustain. He came in here and he learned the offense very fast. The guy will do it exactly how you coach it. You could tell he’s pro and if you ask him to do it a certain way he’s going to do it that way."
D'Alessandris also mentioned that the Bills are expecting the soon-to-be 29-year-old Pears to come back to team facilities bigger and stronger than he was in 2010, which he chalked up to Pears being signed as a street free agent.