Just about every NFL team has a swing guard, a player that can play both left and right guard should there be an injury. They also have a swing tackle, who can play both right and left should one of the starters succumb to an injury as well. Rarely is the swing guard and swing tackle the same person, but that's the position Bills OL Sam Young will find himself in Sunday.
"I'm a Swiss army knife," said Young making light of the prospect of backing up both guard and both tackle spots in the season opener. "It can be daunting depending on how you look at it. When you begin the week you realize you've got to watch film on eight guys instead of just one or two. It is what you make it. The good thing about it is I have a greater chance to play and to help this team."
Even if something were to happen to Eric Wood where he had to exit the game, Young would still enter the lineup because starting right guard Kraig Urbik would shift to center.
Part of the reason Young has to be ready to step in at any one of those four offensive line positions is because the backup center-guard, Doug Legursky, is out with a knee injury. Thomas Welch, primarily a reserve tackle, is the only other healthy lineman on the roster.
Fortunately for Young he has game experience at both guard and tackle. Last season Young stepped in at right guard in two games due to injury and got four starts at right tackle over the last month of the season.
"To have been in there and get some starts and go against some great competition even at the end of the year that definitely helped," Young told Buffalobills.com. "Last year there were times when I'm the first guy in no matter what happens and I had to know tight end too. I'm willing and able. I'm glad they have the trust in me to be able to do that."
The current Bills coaching staff also got him acclimated to jumping around to different positions on the line since the spring.
"It happened to me in OTAs," said Young. "There was one play I was at left tackle, the next I was at right guard and around and around we go. Being able to do that allows me to stay around here and contribute to the team.
"Your name is called, you step up and you fill a spot. I'm happy to be able to fill that position."