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Left guard competition is frustrating Doug Marrone so far

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone has declared his first disappointment of training camp, and it involves one of the team's biggest position battles.

Marrone today said he expected to see early separation from left guard candidates Colin Brown and Doug Legursky. Marrone now is considering another option for first-team reps.

"Both players are doing the best they can," Marrone said ominously. "I think that we've got to look to maybe throw someone else in the mix. I don't know if I see the separation that I like to see right now."

Left guard is a prominent opening because the Bills let Andy Levitre get away in free agency. Levitre started all 64 games he was with the Bills.

Brown has played 12 NFL games, starting two of them, over three seasons with the Bills. He had a hard-luck 2012 season. Brown got his first start at San Francisco in Week Five because right guards Kraig Urbik and Chad Rinehart were hurt. Brown pulled a hamstring in the first half and landed on injured reserve.

Legursky has made 17 regular-season NFL starts in four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started at center in the Super Bowl three seasons ago.

Marrone said the next possible candidate likely will be hashed out by the coaching staff Thursday, which the players have off. They'll return to practice Friday at St. John Fisher College.

"We'll see if there's anyone else that can go there and see if someone else can separate themselves," Marrone said. "I see both players doing a good job, and I think they both have to develop.

"I look toward going into the preseason games and seeing how they perform, but right now it's not as solidified from the standpoint that you probably wanted it right now."

Antoine Caldwell, the former Houston Texans interior lineman signed Sunday, is the most experienced option on the roster. The 2009 third-round draft choice played 39 games and started 19 over the past four seasons with Houston.

Marrone has been a hands-on O-line instructor throughout the first four days of camp. The former NFL lineman and O-line assistant for the New York Jets has conducted drills and delivered specific instruction more than you would see most coaches give to a specific position group.

So Marrone's expectations for his linemen assuredly are high, and he'd like to have his starting five blockers solidified as soon as possible.

"I think as a coach you're always striving for, hey, you want to get things done fast," Marrone said. "That's no different than any competition, whether it's the quarterback competition or any competition.

"It's inconsistent play out of that position. We need to become more consistent. The frustration is you want it quickly. The players, sometimes we have to tell them, 'Don't get frustrated. Just keep pushing.'

"So it's something that we're going to continue to strive for and get better in the details and the things they have to do to develop into that starting player."


Andy Levitre | Antoine Caldwell | Colin Brown | Doug Legursky | Doug Marrone
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |