The simple question I've been asking myself since the Bills signed Doug Legursky is this: Does this signing represent a cataclysmic shift in the Buffalo Bills approach to building its offensive line? While its easy to dismiss this inquiry with a simple no, for readily obvious reasons, I'm not so quick to do so.
Look, I understand the points that suggest Legursky's signing is not a move that sends a bigger picture message about the composition of our offensive line. Legursky was signed late and cheap, so any message you take from his signing is admittedly much less significant than a big dollar signing. I also understand the Bills may be far more willing to compromise on its ordinary principals when bargain hunting, since the risk is low with a bargain. Finally, I understand that Legursky may be an exception to the norm because of his background with Pittsburgh and his overlap in tenure with Whaley. I understand all of these points.
The fact remains that Doug Legursky does not fit the physical profile of offensive linemen assembled by OBD over the past several seasons. Different posts have illustrated this point, including prior posts by me. Borrowing some details from a prior post, here's a listing of lineman brought in by the Bills over the past several seasons.
Name - Height - Weight (courtesy of ESPN)
Cordy Glenn - 6'5" - 345 lbs.
Zebrie Sanders - 6'6" - 320 lbs.
Keith Williams - 6'5" - 330 lbs.
Chris Scott - 6'4" - 319 lbs.
David Snow - 6'4" - 304 lbs.
Chris Hairston - 6'6" - 332 lbs.
Sam Young - 6'8" - 322 lbs.
Erik Pears - 6'8" - 314 lbs.
Colin Brown - 6'7" - 328 lbs.
Chad Rinehart - 6'5" - 323 lbs
Kraig Urbik -6'5" - 329 lbs
The Bills have systematically and routinely sought out the biggest men they could find to run the offensive line. It was obviously a Nix endorsed & Nix driven philosophy. The smallest of all of these players was David Snow, and he was an undrafted free agent acquisition. It certainly stands to reason the Bills were more willing to allow a minor player like Snow to get by with less than their idea physical mold.
I've heard plenty of dialog since Marrone came on board about running a fast pace, no huddle offensive attack. That concept sounds exciting, but it concerns me when I reflect on how our offensive line fits that scheme. Many times an offense built on speed prefers a smaller, quicker offensive line. The behemoths assembled by Nix over the last several years do not seem to fit that mold. I've wondered whether we might seem personnel turnover on our offensive line to better suit Marrone's system. With Nix officially passing the torch, I've suspected we'll see a gradual evolution to a smaller line.
I am concerned about the potential upheaval in personnel. I certainly dont think any change would be abrupt. Nonetheless, I am not enamored with the thought of breaking up the best offensive line this team has seemed to have over the course of the past decade.
Working back around to my original point, what does Doug Legursky say about the future of the Bills offensive line. I think he says a lot. I think his signing confirms the direction the Bills intend to take. Legursky in no way shape or form fits the physical mold set by Nix. Legursky is 6'1" and 315 lbs. according to the Steelers official site. He is 3" shorter than the shortest offensive lineman brought in over the last 3 years. He's about 5" shorter than the average height of all offensive lineman brought in over the last few years. He is 10 pounds lighter than the average weight of offensive lineman brought in over the last several years. It short, he doesn't fit the mold.
Maybe I'm making too much out of one small move. Time will certainly tell. During the doldrums of June, when I'm waiting for the season to start and looking for a good reason to analyze, Legursky's signing has piqued my interest. He seems to me to represent the first step in a fundamental shift regarding how the Bills construct their offensive line.
Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.