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Bills Need To Open Up Competition At Right Guard

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Back on August 1, as I was sitting in the bleachers at St. John Fisher watching one of the first few Buffalo Bills training camp practices of the 2011 season, MRW commented on the strong performance of Kraig Urbik in a one-on-one drill. Seconds later, he was staring at me, eyebrows raised in surprise, after I'd informed him that I thought Urbik was bad on tape in 2010, and that I'd rather the team handed the starting right guard job to Chad Rinehart.

After watching the first half of the Bills' pre-season loss Saturday night to the Chicago Bears, it could not be plainer that Urbik - the first-team right guard throughout camp after the team moved Eric Wood to center - is currently the weakest link in the starting offensive line. He was sufficient in pass protection, but struggled with athleticism in-line and in making blocks at the second level - exactly as he did last season before succumbing to injury.

It's time for Chan Gailey and Joe D'Alessandris (who has been on Urbik's case for much of camp) to open up the right guard competition to more competitors. They don't lack for options: Rinehart (the second-team left guard on Saturday), Geoff Hangartner (second-team center) and Mansfield Wrotto (second-team right guard, who also struggled mightily) are all capable. If Urbik is going to be this team's right guard, he needs to have earned it.