Buffalo's tinkering with its offense continued on Tuesday as they released the player they chose to entrust with protecting Trent Edwards' blind side in 2009. Eight-year veteran offensive tackle Langston Walker was given his walking papers in another stirring move of what has been a tumultuous week of change for Buffalo's offense.
Leading up to Tuesday's release there had been some question as to whether Walker had fallen out of favor with the coaching staff after making the switch from right tackle, where he had played the past two seasons, to left tackle this season to replace the departed Jason Peters.
The Bills made use of the vacant roster spot by signing veteran offensive tackle Kirk Chambers, who was just waived by the club last Saturday during final cuts.
Chambers however, is not expected to replace Walker at left tackle. That job is expected to be filled by second-year offensive tackle Demetrius Bell. Bell is expected to make a full return to practice on Wednesday where it's anticipated that he'll begin lining up with the first unit at the left tackle position. Chambers is likely to re-assume the swing tackle role he's held with the Bills for the past two seasons.
Bell's development this offseason has been nothing short of impressive. Blessed with rare athletic ability for a man his size, the former seventh-round pick has sharpened his techniques enough to convince Buffalo's offensive staff that he's ready for the challenge starting on the left side will bring.
"I feel better about my technique, so I feel better about everything all around," said Bell. "I still have a long way to go but I feel better about everything. My goal is to be a dominant tackle."
Bell realized that taking the starting left tackle role this season was a possibility when he was inserted into the starting lineup for a series in the preseason game at Green Bay. However, after performing well in the game he suffered a back injury in practice the following week and has not practiced since.
It likely delayed the coaching staff's decision to release Walker, not knowing if Bell would be available for Week 1.
It's believed had he stayed healthy that Bell would have overtaken Walker sooner than six days before the season opener Monday night.
The move brings about another significant change for the Bills offensive line. The unit was already entering the season with five men manning new positions across the front. Walker and Brad Butler were the only returning starters from a year ago. Now the front five will have four new players.
The change comes on the heels of another major change on offense. Just last Friday head coach Dick Jauron fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert. Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt assumed play calling duties.
Young left sideBuffalo's offensive staff is putting an awful lot of faith in the left side of their offensive line, which will feature a left tackle and left guard with no NFL starts or appearances on their very short professional resumes.
Both Bell and Andy Levitre will earn their first NFL start on Monday night in New England.