One of the running themes along the Buffalo Bills' offensive line over the last three years has been "bigger is better." Former GM Buddy Nix and his scouting staff preferred to target players that made scales shudder whenever possible, and they brought in some talented players that happen to also be massive human beings.
Franchise left tackle Cordy Glenn, for example, is listed by the team at 6'5" and 343 pounds. Five other Nix imports that have seen significant playing time in recent seasons - Kraig Urbik (6'5", 324), Chris Hairston (6'6", 330), Erik Pears (6'8", 316), Sam Young (6'8", 316) and Colin Brown (6'7", 326) - are cut from similar cloth from a size perspective.
Now that head coach Doug Marrone - known as one of the best line coaches in the business - is in town, however, things might be changing on that front.
In a recent forum with Bills season ticket holders, Marrone was asked about his offensive line and what it might look like after the free agent departure of left guard Andy Levitre. His response: "I think we have some good young talent there - guys that really haven't played quite a bit... they're losing some weight, their foot speed is picking up, they're working extremely hard."
With Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett installing an offense that will prominently feature plenty of no-huddle and tempo shifting, it's logical that the offensive linemen would need to not just be in better shape, but pick up any additional speed that they can. Buffalo's offense is expected to be fast without factoring in the tempo shifting; the passing game will be a quick-strike attack, and the running game should feature plenty of required line movement.
Marrone also went out of his way to identify three players that have impressed him to this very early point in the spring; all three can be considered candidates to fill Levitre's vacated left guard position.
"Sam Young has done a nice job in our camp there, right now," Marrone said. "Chris Scott, I'd like to see him, I think he's done some good things. Colin Brown has been out there. I think we have some flexibility in those positions."