When the Buffalo Bills played the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night, they had a prime opportunity to get Chris Hairston some first-team left tackle reps with Erik Pears holding down the fort on the right side. Instead, rookie Cordy Glenn made the start and played well into the second quarter, while Hairston was forced to split time between left and right tackle once again.
That served as yet another indication that the team fully plans on starting the rookie second-round pick at left tackle when the regular season begins. Through two pre-season games, that plan looks to be justified, as Glenn - despite some hiccups - has been the better blocker thus far.
Glenn has not been perfect, by any means. He's been flagged for one false start in each of Buffalo's two pre-season games, and was also called for (a questionable) holding against Minnesota that was declined. He has had occasional trouble with speed off the edge, giving up a few pressures because of it. Setting those issues aside, Glenn has been fairly steady on all of his other snaps, and if you watch him closely, it's easy to see why the Bills think he can play left tackle in this offense. He's an outstanding athlete.
Hairston has not goten as much time at left tackle, and that has hurt him a bit. While he has been penalty-free this pre-season, he's also been far worse than Glenn in pass protection, consistently giving up pressures not just against speed rushes, but well-executed counter moves, as well.
The bottom line here is that the Bills should anticipate a few bumps in the road at left tackle, regardless of who starts. Glenn makes much more sense not just because he's the better physical talent and the bigger investment, but because the mistakes he's made this pre-season are far easier to correct than those Hairston has made. Right now, Glenn is the better player, and barring a catastrophic meltdown, he'll be on the blind side against Rex Ryan's crew in Week 1.