OL Urbik settling in

Posted Sep 16, 2010

Having a roster with little experienced depth, the Bills believe they’ve found great value in versatile offensive lineman Kraig Urbik.

Urbik, in his second season out of Wisconsin, was inactive all of last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who selected him in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft. After being waived by Pittsburgh on Sept. 3, the Bills claimed Urbik two days later.

Though he is listed as the backup to right guard Eric Wood, Urbik, who played a full season of right tackle in college, stayed on the practice field a few minutes late Wednesday working on snaps at center.

At 6-foot-5, 323 pounds, Urbik said he is open to playing anywhere, but his skill set is best suited to play the interior positions, where he has seen the majority of his work since the spring.

“I feel pretty comfortable at all three interior positions, making the calls at center and all that stuff,” Urbik said. “I’m really new at center, but I feel really comfortable there and I feel like I’m doing pretty well there too.”

General Manager Buddy Nix said Urbik could potentially be used anywhere on the line, including tackle, but his durability is the main reason his signing was such a great value to the team.

“The quickest way to improve your team is that time of year, the last cut,” Nix said. “He started 50 games at Wisconsin and a full season at right tackle. He has not played tackle in the NFL … but he’s a possibility.”

Nix added the team is working on finding a role for Urbik, whom the Bills had high regard for entering last year’s draft.

“To be honest when we drafted Eric Wood and Andy Levitre, the three top interior linemen on the draft board were those two and Urbik. So now we’ve got all three of them,” Nix said. “We just didn’t get him early enough to get him ready quickly, but we’re working on it.”

Urbik, an All-Big Ten second-team selection in both 2007 and 2008, said the praise on paper is nice, but it doesn’t matter unless he meets his expectations.

“Coming out of college those ratings don’t really mean anything,” Urbik said. “It’s good recognition, but if you don’t bring your game and you don’t play (on Sunday), it doesn’t really mean anything.”

Levitre said Urbik is adjusting quickly to the Bills’ offense, picking up calls and learning offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris’ techniques while practicing with the scout team.

“Overall I think he’s doing a pretty good job for being here for only about a week,” Levitre said. “We didn’t bring him in here to (sit) around, so if we ever need him to fill in or anything that shouldn’t be a problem.”

Despite being one of Pittsburgh’s final cuts due to injury-related issues, Urbik said he holds no ill feelings toward the Steelers and is grateful to them for helping launch his career.

“From what they told me, it’s not because I wasn’t good enough, it was just because of unfortunate situations,” Urbik said. “Things happen; this is what happens in the NFL. I’m thankful for everything that happened there, I learned a lot and I’m ready to move on and get my career going.”

Urbik said he is still brushing up on the finer points of the Bills’ offensive line play and has no specific role yet, but assured he would be ready to hit the field soon if called upon to be one of the seven offensive linemen in uniform on game day.

“That’s a challenge right now, trying to learn the new techniques, footwork and stuff like that that Coach wants me to do,” Urbik said. “I just want to get out there and show everyone I can play and I’m a good player, so I’m just really anxious to start (playing). I’m starting to really hone my game, so I’m excited for that.”



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