Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pears' lingering injury could solve left tackle debate


The starting left tackle position has been one of the most talked about competitions thus far in the Bills’ offseason. Who comes out on top, however, may not come down to the best man for the job.

The starting role has been a two-man race from the beginning: Chris Hairston vs. Cordy Glenn. Both men are giants. Both have quick feet. Both have good hands. Both have shown at one time or another that they are capable of getting the job done. And both have definitely shown they want the job.

The one thing that may decide this neck-and-neck race, though, is something neither man can control: the health of fellow lineman Erik Pears. Pears has been ailing since the spring, when reported he had a hernia injury. At the start of camp, however, Gailey stated it was a groin injury that was sidelining him. Either way, when the 30-year-old journeyman is out, the game changes at left tackle. Gailey was tight-lipped about Pears’s injury Friday, refusing to call it something serious.

“I am not ready to put the word major on it,” he told reporters. “It is a concern.”

With Pears out, Glenn has seen increased reps at the left tackle, while Hairston has slid over in Pears’ place on the right side. Hairston did the same during OTAs, working against Mario Williams. Gailey seemed to downplay the position change Friday, calling it more of a daily rotational move.

“We have been trying to find a way to get him some at right, so that made more reps for Cordy,” Gailey said. “We were trying to get a three-man rotation a little bit in those first 12 (plays).”

Ultimately, with Pears out, someone needs to fill in. As far as tackles go, Hairston and Glenn have reportedly shown the most promise, with Zebrie Sanders and Sam Young less than impressive thus far in camp. Glenn does have collegiate experience on the right side, so the positions could potentially be reversed at some point, though he was drafted primarily to fill the team’s need on the blind side.

There has been no word yet on when Pears could return. So for now, the Bills will have to continue to plug the holes as best they can, even if that means pushing pause on the heated left-side fight that’s been too close for even the coaches to call.

Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily