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Left tackle could see some rotation

Posted Dec 6, 2011


Bills head coach Chan Gailey said that the main focus for his team in their last four regular season games would be to win. However, in a season where postseason aspirations are very close to being extinguished other items on the priority list are being given more consideration. With three players having played left tackle for Buffalo thus far this season, the Bills may soon work on finding just one so they have a defined direction at that position in 2012.

Andy Levitre only played left tackle because Demetrius Bell and Chris Hairston went down with injuries at the same time. Bell started the season as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s blind side protector, but went down with a Week 4 shoulder injury. This past Sunday he was active for the first time since that injury though he had been practicing with the team for the past couple of weeks. Bell however, never saw the field, not even on special teams.

Instead the fourth-round rookie maintained his hold on the starting left tackle role making his third straight start off his high ankle sprain Sunday.

“Hairston has been a bright spot this season,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He hasn’t played as well yet coming back as he did before he got hurt. He hasn’t done that yet. So I think that as he gets healthier he’ll continue to get better though.”

With just four games left in the season the Bills are still pressing to win every game, but there are other more position specific items on the agenda. Namely the best option on their roster for left tackle moving forward.

At this point Hairston would seem to have the edge in light of his recent time as the starter. Gailey however, sees it as an undefined role.

“It’s hard for me to speculate a lot about 2012 depends on the rest of 2011,” he said. “I think we have a lot of things to look at. We’d like to get Demetrius Bell back in and play some. I’d like to know where he is also. I don’t know how we’re going to work that right now. But that’s what you’d like to do.”

Gailey did say that Hairston will start this Sunday at San Diego, but he’s going to make an effort to get Bell some playing time somewhere. Whether that happens against the Chargers this weekend or at some later point is unclear. Suffice to say the Bills are looking to nail down as many roles as they can moving forward.

“We have things to play for and a lot of reasons for guys to go out and play well,” said Gailey. “So I don’t think that us playing hard or playing with emotion will be an issue because there is a lot at stake for a lot of people and for our team in general wanting to finish strong.”