Coachspeak demands not handing anything to rookies in May and June, lest they feel entitled when the action gets more intense in training camp and the preseason.
Keeping with that philosophy, Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey is expressing reservations about putting second-round pick Cordy Glenn in the starting left tackle spot before a camp and preseason competition with Chris Hairston.
Gailey can be diplomatic, because that's what his job calls for, but we know better. Glenn will star barring a complete meltdown later this summer.
The Georgia product was versatile enough coming out of college to be projected at four different spots on the offensive line. The Bills certainly know injury frequency on the line can submarine an offense. One would think that they would cross-train Glenn at right tackle, if not one or both of the guard positions, but instead they focused Glenn on learning what is sure to be his position when the season opens.
What about his so-called competition, Hairston? He was playing right tackle with starter Erik Pears out after hernia surgery. If there was truly a competition, why wasn't Glenn taking some reps on the right side, with Hairston on the left? The Bills seem to be preparing Hairston for a season-long role as "swing tackle," backing up the starters at both positions.
Is Hairston truly Glenn's main competition? Judging by Gailey's words, Glenn's main obstacle to starting at left tackle is Glenn:
He has the ability. Now there are a lot of guys with a bunch of ability that are home today... can he transition that into pads and the speed of the game?
Minicamp is just one speed. There’s another speed when you go to at training camp. There’s another speed when you hit preseason games. There’s another speed when you hit the regular season and still another speed when you reach the playoffs.
So can you transition with all those speed changes, that’s a different deal. But he and Chris (Hairston) will be working at left tackle. I don’t know who will win that job.
BuffaloBills.com writer Chris Brown reports that comment was in response to a question about whether Glenn has the upper hand in the left-tackle competition. Gailey didn't want to come right out and say it, but his comments clearly indicate that Glenn will be the starter unless he just looks incapable of handling the position in camp and the preseason.
Brown said Glenn has the "inside track" to start in his minicamp/OTA awards piece, remarking that Glenn has had a "minimal number of missed assignments and mental errors".
Hairston, on the other hand, led the "not-so-good day" list from the last day of minicamp, according to WGR 550 beat writer Joe Buscaglia. Buscaglia didn't even think Hairston got a hand on Mario Williams on a pair of "obvious sacks."
That's the kind of failure that might make the coaches re-think a decision to start Glenn. Since it came from his supposed competitor, we can conclude that Glenn will start the season opener against the Jets at left tackle unless things change dramatically later this summer.