With the NFL lockout expected to end this week and the Buffalo Bills preparing for the start of training camp somewhere between July 29 and August 2, it's time to start looking at some of the positional battles that will be waged at St. John Fisher College leading into the 2011 season. We'll start up front, where there may be a two-man race for the center job.
The Incumbent: Geoff Hangartner. Before a season-ending injury a year ago, Hangartner had started the previous 28 games in the pivot for the Bills - and while he'd never been dominant, he'd at least been a consistent (and healthy) presence for the team up front.
The Challenger: Eric Wood. When Hangartner went down last year, it was Wood - the four-year starter at center that the Bills drafted to play right guard in the first round in 2009 - that slid over to center. There, he turned in some of the best football of his young career.
This battle may be unique in that it could deal less with the performances of both players, and more with how much upheaval Chan Gailey would like to inflict on his young offensive line. If he's building for the future, Wood may very well get the call. If he's looking for continuity, expect Hangartner to get the nod.