On Tuesday, Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey shook things up along his starting offensive line when he inserted Chad Rinehart into the left guard slot ahead of two-year starter Andy Levitre, a former second-round draft pick. Asked after practice to explain the decision, Gailey cited Rinehart's strong camp as rationale.
"Chad has played pretty well during camp and he's earned the right to compete for the job on a little bit more equal basis," Gailey explained. "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."
Many have openly wondered why the team would move Rinehart ahead of Levitre and not Kraig Urbik, who struggled mightily at right guard in the team's pre-season opener. Gailey did not discount that possibility, but for now, Rinehart will remain at left guard.
This also may be a motivational tactic, as Gailey was vocally displeased with his depth players after the Bears game. Rinehart may be getting this shot simply to fire up the rest of the team's depth linemen.
"We've got to have some of those guys set up," Gailey said yesterday. "As I said previously, I thought our first group didn't play bad. Chad's the one guy right now that's fought his way to deserve a shot to at least split some time there."
The only player this doesn't look good for is Levitre, who may not fit the physical prototype that Gailey and Joe D'Alessandris seem to favor up front. When asked if he was not satisfied with Levitre's play, however, Gailey responded in the negative.