The race to replace Andy Levitre as the starting left guard for the Buffalo Bills may be taking shape before training camp practices even begin.
Chris Scott, a sleeper candidate for the job that took first-team reps at the position during spring practices, was released on Saturday following a failed conditioning test. Bills head coach Doug Marrone, who mentioned Scott by name when talking up his offensive linemen earlier this off-season, spoke about the release earlier today.
"We just completed our conditioning test, which is part of our physical about where the players are. They’ve shown that they’ve done a lot of work in the off-season. We did wind up releasing a player, Chris Scott," Marrone said. "It’s just unfortunate in this profession. We have expectations as coaches coming in, and we didn’t feel that Chris fulfilled his expectations to us, his teammates or the coaches, so we let him go."
At the tackle position, meanwhile, the absence of Chris Hairston - already on Active/PUP with an undisclosed lower body injury - could mean that another left guard contender, Sam Young, will see practice reps at tackle. Even if that's only for a few practices, the other guard candidates will have an early leg up.
Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News summed it up best: it's looking like incumbent reserve Colin Brown and free agent signing Doug Legursky are the current front-runners in this battle.
Doug. Marrone says G Chris Scott was released - apparently didn't meet teams conditioning goals - Colin Brown, Doug Legursky battling at LG— Mark Gaughan (@gggaughan) July 27, 2013
Brown, 27, has been with the Bills for two seasons, appearing in 12 games and starting two. He spent most of the 2012 season on IR, but practiced in the spring and should be a full participant during camp. The 27-year-old Legursky, formerly of Pittsburgh, was signed by the Bills in June. He is both far more experienced (50 career games, 17 starts) and far smaller (6'1", 315 to 6'7", 326) than Brown.
We'll know tomorrow night which of the two opens camp with the ones, but for now, the battle appears to be limited to those two players.