Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 1-4

Posted by Chris Brown on January 4, 2013 – 3:03 pm

It’s been a heck of a week here at One Bills Drive, with more big news to come once the Bills find their new head coach. Stay tuned to all offseason for updates. Also keep sending your questions to and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
What do you think of the idea of drafting two of the best QBs available in this year’s draft?  Last year the Redskins did and I think it’s working for them, don’t you?  What do we have to lose?  It’s quite evident we’re lacking in even (1) good QB on this team, right? As long as we have the right people making the calls on the draft, this could work. If we land one good QB, the best man would win out in training camp and then we have out second stringer in place.


CB: I thought it interesting that GM Buddy Nix this week reiterated how they intend to draft a quarterback and then added in that they might acquire another in free agency. Last year I think the opportunity to draft two quarterbacks was more realistic. The pool was much deeper. This year the pool of talent at QB is much thinner by all indications. So I think making use of two draft picks on quarterbacks might not provide the desired results this time around.
2 – Hi Chris,

I appreciate all the work you and your colleagues do to bring us inside Bills videos, statistics, and interviews that provide some insight into OBD.

What’s my hope as Joe Ticket Buyer for next season?  We’re going to have the AFC North and NFC South on the schedule, which are both very difficult divisions. What will be different? Can you give me any hope as a 29-year old that hasn’t seen his team in the playoffs since he was a sophomore in high school?

Finally, would you agree that finding a young quarterback to groom (or play) has to be priority #1 in the offseason?  Sure, more linebackers and a wide receiver would be nice, but without a quarterback that can make all of the throws in the NFL accurately and often, aren’t we still just spinning our wheels?

Thanks again, and please keep up the great work.
Jeff Locke

CB: First, thanks for the compliments. Our staff appreciates it. With a new head coach coming in with a new staff and undoubtedly new ideas for the roster I think it’s safe to say a lot will be different for the 2013 Bills. No question those divisions on Buffalo’s slate won’t be easy, but let’s see what unfolds this offseason as far as the Bills are concerned before we make our assessments.

I agree quarterback is a big issue for this team. As I mentioned in the above response it is a position that the personnel department plans to address this offseason.
3 – Hey Chris,
After Urbik re-signed, do think that helps the chances of Levitre re-signing?  He has been our most durable lineman and I would view him to be our top priority?  Also what do think the chances are that the franchise tag is put on Byrd? I believe the tag amount on safeties is just above kicker and punter?  Also, since D Jones and Nelson were undrafted can’t the bills give them 1st or 2nd rd tender offers as opposed to the low qualifying tender offers? (2nd making the most sense)  Also what do think about a trade to the Jets? Brad Smith for Tebow and a draft pick?

Grosse Ile, MI

CB: I don’t believe that one re-signing necessarily impacts another. The re-signing of Urbik is certainly good news for the Bills. Re-signing Levitre figures to be a bit more complicated. Levitre has been the most durable lineman on the roster having never missed a game in four years and is a heck of an interior lineman. I believe negotiations once they begin will take some time. Levitre has stated an interest in returning.

As for Byrd I get the sense in my conversations with him that he wants to test the free agent market. I worry that the Bills may have to make use of the franchise tag to keep him. The projected tag amount for safeties in 2013 is $6.4M.

Yes, you’re right with both Jones and Nelson undrafted there is not compensation due the Bills should they be tendered at the low level by Buffalo and another club signs them to an offer sheet and the Bills choose not to match. It’s likely that one, possibly both will be tendered at a middle tender, which would offer compensation to the Bills in the form of a second-round pick. I’d expect the new head coach would have a good deal of input on that.

Finally, no on your trade suggestion.
4 – Chris,

Thanks for your time and great work covering the Bills.  Question is about the defense in light of the coaching change and it not being a setback.  I agree, only if they stay in the 4-3.  If it were a switch to the 3-4 then an overhaul of personal will be a setback.  I don’t want to hear Mario as a OLB.  He likes putting his hand down, rushing the blocker.  So head coach that does whatever with our offense weapons and defense that stays a 4-3 and we can still compete for the playoffs next year.  Do you agree?   Switch to the 3-4 a setback?  

Bills fan in Raleigh,

CB: I think it’s safe to say that moving to a 3-4 defensively would be a major challenge moving forward if the defense is to improve on their substandard rankings this past year. The new defensive scheme can’t be a major change schematically. If it is a whole new learning curve will ensue and that will keep the players vets and young players alike from playing fast. I’d imagine the coach search committee is making it clear the 4-3 is something they’d prefer to keep intact.
5 – Chris,
I’m not interested in recycling a recently-fired head coach as Bills’ head man, but I am interested in putting pieces in place that can help the franchise.  Many fired head coaches return to action as a coordinator (Del Rio in Denver, for example).  Guys that don’t have a job right now are prime candidates for those jobs. 
I like the idea of getting a young, innovative head coach (Doug Marrone, Mike McCoy, etc.) but surround him with experienced coordinators.  My selections would be Ken Whisenhunt as OC and Lovie Smith – he says he wants to come to Buffalo! – as my DC.  Above all, we need a guy at the top who can evaluate and develop a young QB.  (The knock on Whisenhunt is that he failed to develop Kolb, Skelton, Lindley (?) in AZ.)
What do you think about that? 
Interesting comment on WGR yesterday about looking at Special Teams coaches (Harbaugh, Levy) as Head Coaches because they use the entire roster in putting teams together, thus they have a knack for working with – and getting the most out of – the entire roster. 
Intriguing thought, but I think it still comes down to getting the guy with the “right stuff”.  Can he manage the game day decisions, delegate the game plan development to his coordinators, motivate the team to play, get the most out of his talent?  Then sign him up!
Your thoughts?
Thanks for your time.  Let’s hope the Bills get it right this time.

CB: The Bills have made it clear that they’re not discriminating and exploring all options. I think the candidate pool which reportedly varies from Doug Marrone to Lovie Smith reflects that. As for your proposed HC, OC, DC combination that trio would cost upwards of $15M a year just for those three. Don’t know that it’s realistic.

That being said I do agree with your coaching point on developing a young QB knowing Buddy Nix intends to draft a signal caller. I also agree with a head coach being a head coach on Sundays and delegating all play calling to the coordinators. I’m a big fan of that approach. We’ll see what happens.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Levitre on wanting to be back

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2012 – 10:20 pm

The Bills have some free agent decisions to make this offseason. One of the bigger ones is unrestricted free agent Andy Levitre. Buffalo’s starting left guard was asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how much he’d like to re-sign with Buffalo.

“It’d be a 10,” said Levitre. “There’s great people, great coaching staff and players. I think we’ve gotten a lot more competitive since I first got here and I know the culture is set in place. I know we haven’t been doing well the past couple of years, but I think if we continue to grow the way we have been we’ll be in the playoffs next year.”

Buffalo has already re-signed Kraig Urbik to a multi-year extension. Fellow guard Chad Rinehart is also set to become an unrestricted free agent.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tuesday John Murphy Show

Posted by johnmurphyshow on December 18, 2012 – 6:17 pm

It’s the big news of the day at One Bills Drive, the multi-year contract extension signed by guard Kraig Urbik.   It’s a great story.  Urbik was claimed off waivers by the Bills in September, 2010, after washing out as a third round draft pick in Pittsburgh.  We’ll talk with Urbik tonight on The John Murphy Show tonight.  He joins us at 7:20pm to address the slow start to his NFL career, and moving forward with what he believes are a core group of players on the Bills offense.

At 8pm tonight, Hall of Fame RB Thurman Thomas joins us for his usual Tuesday night appearance.  C.J. Spiller continues to climb up the Bills rushing charts, and we’ll check in with Thurman for his take on Spiller and the loss in Toronto two days ago.

There’s a new book about the NFL called “Coaching Confidential-Inside the Fraternity of NFL Coaches.”  Longtime Pro Football writer Gary Myers of the NY Daily News is the author, and he’ll join us live at 8:20 tonight to talk about the book, and the circus that is the New York Jets.

As always, we’ll cover the news of the day from One Bills Drive, and we’ll make time for phone calls from fans.

The John Murphy Show airs weeknights from 7pm-9pm on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Teammates congratulate Urbik

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2012 – 12:26 pm

Bills teammates were taking to Twitter to congratulate guard Kraig Urbik after he re-signed with the club.

Center Eric Wood was the latest to do so.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Urbik agrees to multi-year extension

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2012 – 7:40 am

ESPN AFC East reporter James Walker is reporting that Bills starting right guard Kraig Urbik won’t become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

ESPN is reporting that Urbik has agreed to a four-year $15M extension with the Bills.  A two-year starter, Urbik is one of three notable linemen on Buffalo’s offensive line that was in a contract year this season.

The other two are Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart. Rinehart is currently on injured reserve. Levitre, who has never missed a game in his four-year career and has garnered Pro Bowl consideration, figures to take a bit more time to negotiate.

Rinehart and Urbik both signed one-year tender offers as restricted free agents last offseason.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lineup for O-line to stay the same

Posted by Chris Brown on December 12, 2012 – 2:32 pm

Last week Buffalo had rookie David Snow at center and Sam Young at right tackle as the two new additions to the offensive line. This week head coach Chan Gailey plans to keep the lineup the same as last week up front.

“Yes, we’ll keep that the same and try to keep the same continuity,” said Gailey.

Kraig Urbik, who lined up in between them at right guard last week, believes now with a game under their belt things will go a bit smoother.

“Sam has been in the system for a while and he knows the calls and everything so it wasn’t too much of a problem with him,” said Urbik. “Snow it was his first playing time and everything. Communication wasn’t bad it was just technique stuff. It was just getting used to if Eric (Wood) is in there I know on a certain play that he’s going to be right there with me. It was the uncertainty of whether he was going to be there or not and for the most part he was so it was kind of one of those things where you have to feel it out. I think more practice time is going to help.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

O-line calls to be handled by vets

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2012 – 10:26 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey chose not to reveal the lineup for his offensive line Sunday. It’s left the question out there as to whether it will be Kraig Urbik at center or rookie David Snow. Whoever is not at center will be at right guard. Even if Snow is at center against the Rams Sunday, don’t expect him to be making the line calls. That will be handled by two veterans up front for the Bills.

Head coach Chan Gailey answered in the affirmative in his weekly conversation with when asked if Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik will be handling a lot of the pre-snap calls on the line no matter where Urbik lines up.

“Oh yes,” said Gailey. “A lot of times when you have two new guys playing next to each other that’s not the easiest thing in the world either. You really have to communicate all the way out. The good thing about Sam (Young) is he’s played, he’s been a pro so I think he’ll be able to communicate back in whatever is necessary to communicate back in.”

Urbik also gave indication that he and Levitre would be handling the line calls before the snap.

“Whether I’m at guard or center I’m going to be help (David) Snow and Sam (Young),” said Urbik. “We’re going here, or we’re going here, that way there is no guesswork and no thinking. We’re just going. I think Andy (Levitre) and I are going to be doing most of the communicating no matter what.”

“The communication is one of the biggest factors, but we’ve been working with those guys,” said Gailey of Snow and Young. “We’ve had communication with them for quite a while, almost the whole season now. The speed of the game is what they’ve have to adjust to. The other three guys are used to the speed of the game, they’re not. It’s going to be a challenge for them to adjust to the speed of the game. And this is a tough defensive front to make that adjustment against.

“This is probably the biggest challenge we’ve had all year. With the quality of players they have on their front, they play so hard and so fast. They’re quick and strong. They’re as good a defensive line as we have faced all season. We have our work cut out for us with two new guys on our offensive line. It’s a challenge for our football team.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gailey holds O-line cards close to vest

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2012 – 1:29 pm

The Bills know what their lineup is going to be on their offensive line come Sunday against the Rams, they just don’t want St. Louis to know. Head coach Chan Gailey chose not to reveal who would line up at center in place of the injured Eric Wood.

When asked what he was willing to reveal regarding his re-shuffled offensive line for this week, Gailey offered the following.

“We’ll have five,” said Gailey. “Every play we’ll have five and sometimes we’ll have six, but that’s about as far as I want to go on that. We know what we’re going to do, but I don’t want to talk about where everybody is going to play.”

Last Sunday after Eric Wood exited the game with a torn MCL in his left knee, right guard Kraig Urbik moved to center and rookie David Snow came on to replace Urbik at right guard. Sam Young stepped in at right tackle for the injured Chris Hairston, who has since been moved to injured reserve.

The other possible lineup would be David Snow at center and Urbik remaining at his right guard spot. Either way is comfortable for Urbik, who made five starts at center last season for Wood.

“I felt comfortable going in there last game when Eric got hurt and I’ve had a lot of practice at center so I feel comfortable there,” said Urbik.

Whether the offensive staff has chosen to change that alignment for this week remains to be seen.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Snow, Urbik split time at guard and center

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2012 – 4:32 pm

Buffalo’s interior linemen are preparing to pick up the slack left behind by Eric Wood’s MCL injury. The starting center is out for at least the next two games. Set to fill the void are Kraig Urbik and rookie David Snow at center and right guard. Who’s playing where however, is still up in the air.

Head coach Chan Gailey said a final decision as to who plays right guard and who plays center will be decided later in the week. On Wednesday Snow and Urbik split time at both center and guard.

“I played both,” said Snow after Wednesday’s practice. “Not one or the other, just both.”

“It was really split today,” Urbik told “I got guard and center work and we’re just going to see what works out best.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gailey not locked on C-G combo

Posted by Chris Brown on December 5, 2012 – 12:54 pm

As the Bills head out on the practice field this afternoon, it will begin the final stages in making a decision as to who will start at right guard and who will start at center for the Bills on Sunday.

Most observers are expecting starting right guard Kraig Urbik to shift to center in place of the injured Eric Wood, much like he did last season, and undrafted rookie David Snow to come in at right guard to replace Urbik. That’s how the pair ended the game last Sunday after Wood left with a torn MCL in his left knee.

“We’re going to work them both and I’m not sure which way that’ll go to be honest with you,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “We’ll have to wait and see which way is the best way to go by the end of the week.”

Snow played center all through the offseason workouts and training camp with Buffalo, but in his four years at Texas he was a two-year starter at guard and spent his other two collegiate seasons at center.

Gailey said he has a drop dead date to cement the lineup for Sunday, but would not reveal that timetable to the media.

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Spencer, Urbik still limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2012 – 4:49 pm

DT Kyle Williams and WR Stevie Johnson weren’t the only limited participants in practice Thursday.

For the second straight day DL Spencer Johnson (ankle) and G Kraig Urbik (foot) were limited in practice. Head coach Chan Gailey however, doesn’t sound concerned about the availability of either player for Sunday’s game at New England.

“They were limited today, but performed well,” said Gailey following Thursday’s practice.

Also limited in practice Thursday was DE Shawne Merriman with a chest injury. He was a new addition to the injury report along with Chris Kelsay and his neck injury.

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Spencer, Urbik limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2012 – 4:21 pm

Two Bills players were limited in practice Wednesday.

DL Spencer Johnson (ankle) and OL Kraig Urbik (foot) were both limited. Johnson has been dealing with a sore ankle and didn’t take all the reps. Urbik is coming off his first game since returning from his high ankle sprain and likely has some lingering soreness after going the whole way against the Texans last Sunday.

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Bills re-focused

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2012 – 8:40 am

The Bills are certainly not happy about their 3-4 record, but coming off their bye week they feel they’re refreshed and re-focused on the nine regular season games that remain.

“I think the mindset is good,” said Kyle Williams. “It’s not easy task in front of us, but I think mentally everybody is sharp and is ready to get to work and to go down to Houston and play a good football game. We’ve just got to hit the ground running.”

The Texans and Patriots are Buffalo’s next two opponents with both games on the road. The players are fully aware that their margin for error is very limited the rest of the way if they want to reach the postseason.

“Definitely got to take it one game at a time, but definitely want to come out and get this win this week,” said Kraig Urbik. “Every game from here on out is pretty important. Sitting at 3-4 we can’t lose too many more games to make the playoffs.”


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Glenn, Urbik participating

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2012 – 2:09 pm

Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik are back practicing.

Both are coming off high ankle sprains. Glenn was taking second team reps during themedia viewing portion of practice.

Urbik has already said he’s playing on Sunday.

Both linemen have missed the last four games.

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Urbik expects to play Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2012 – 11:58 am

Bills RG Kraig Urbik is expecting to start Sunday in Houston.

“I’m full go for practice today,” said Urbik. “So I’m looking forward to getting back out there and getting ready for Houston.”

Urbik is coming off a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 4.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Urbik practicing, Glenn on the side

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2012 – 12:54 pm

The Bills are having their Wednesday practice for the bye week and Kraig Urbik is participating.

Urbik is trying to return from a high ankle sprain that’s forced him to miss the last three games.

Cordy Glenn is not practicing, but is working on the side with athletic trainers.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rinehart injury is long term

Posted by Chris Brown on October 22, 2012 – 11:22 am

Bills OL Chad Rinehart was carted off the field Sunday against the Titans with an ankle injury. Head coach Chan Gailey said Monday morning that Rinehart will be out indefinitely.

In his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Gailey provided an update.

“It’s not good, but it’s going to be long term,” said Gailey. “I don’t know if it’s season (ending), but it’s long term.”

Starting RG Kraig Urbik, fortunately is expected back for the Week 9 road game at Houston and LT Cordy Glenn is likely to return as well.

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Week 9 the target for Glenn, Urbik

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2012 – 1:04 pm

Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik will miss their third straight game Sunday due to ankle injuries, but head coach Chan Gailey likes their chances of returning after the bye week.

“To be honest with you, I think they’ll both be ready for Houston,” said Gailey after Friday’s practice.

That’s Buffalo’s first game after the team’s Week 8 bye.

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Fan Friday 10-19

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2012 – 12:54 pm

Here are your questions for this week from and @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris,

I really want to like our CB’s, but can you explain why they are both getting burned on numerous plays, and at times they look like they’re not sure where they are supposed to be on the field? Specifically I have seen Stephon Gilmore on TD passes nowhere near the receiver. 

Thank you,
Worried Bills D-Fan
Norwalk, CT

CB: I think what you’re seeing are growing pains with the two young cornerbacks. They’re learning on the job. I think the defensive staff also felt going into the season that the pass rush would be more consistent week to week thereby helping the young corners on the back end by hurrying the passer.

Gilmore and Williams have both been fooled more than once this season, but coaches have to have faith that their play will improve as the year moves along. Gilmore had a good outing against Larry Fitzgerald. As we pointed out in our Tuesday feature, in the five times he was matched up on Fitzgerald in last week’s game he gave up one reception for 14 yards.

I think the second half of the schedule you’ll begin to see more consistent play from both of them, and if that’s not the case some changes are likely to be in order.


2 – Hi  Chris

Please advise when we can expect Cordy Glenn, Spencer Johnson, & Kraig Urbik

to return to the lineup? 

Thanks and regards
Boca Raton, FL

CB: Right now Spencer Johnson is expected to play on Sunday against the Titans coming off his ankle injury. The hope is that Kraig Urbik and Cordy Glenn will be ready for the Week 9 game at Houston following the bye week.


3 – Chris,

Do you really understand the frustration from the fans? It’s been 12 years since we sniffed the playoffs. I wonder when they will replace the GM and HC position. Also, this team is not difficult to pick apart. We have no deep threat receiver so we dink and dunk down the field. It’s just a matter of time before we throw a pick because of timed offense. All the defense has to do is slow our run game and have Fitz hold onto the ball because it’s a matter of time before Fitz makes a mistake. Just watching the games it’s like Buffalo is a step or two behind on mentality, confidence, and being aggressive. I still think Buffalo is maybe 3-5 years from becoming great again but I’m not holding my breath.

CB: I do understand your frustration. I’ve been on hand for every one of those games the last 12 years, so I get it. What you can’t deny is Buddy Nix and his personnel staff have improved the talent of this roster and its depth. I know having patience is something that’s difficult to preach, but if you want to blow up the front office again you re-start the process  of building the team because each GM has a different way of doing things when it comes to building a team.

The Bills did admittedly struggle with their mental toughness in the second half of the New England and San Francisco games, but I don’t know of a game where their mental toughness was challenged more often than the Arizona game and they persevered. We’ll if they can build on that moving forward.

Every NFL club has strengths and weaknesses. The collective records in the AFC with seven teams sporting 3-3 records is strong indication of that, one of which is the Bills.

No one is asking you to hold your breath and again the disappointment is understood. But this team has an opportunity this year and we’re about at the midway point of the season. Let’s let it play out.

4 – Is there a chance that we are bringing back lights out for our SLB position that has been rotated by players who couldn’t lock down the job?

Thanks CB!
Dan Figueroa from CA

CB: No, Merriman will re-assume defensive end duties for the Bills. Merriman needs to be up on the line of scrimmage to be at his most effective.


5 – Hey Chris,

I was wondering, do the bills players receive mail from fans and reply to them?  I was wondering because after last year’s win against the Patriots, Byrd threw his gloves into the stands and I was lucky enough to catch one of them.  I took it to training camp this year but was not able to get to him.  Is there any other way I might be able to get his signature?  I have a few pieces of memorabilia that I have been able to get signed and really would like to add this piece to my collection. 
Thanks for all you and your team do for us Bills fans!

CB: The best course of action there is to send them by regular mail to One Bills Drive addressed to the player’s attention along with a self-addressed stamped envelope for return postage. The best time is during the regular season when you know they’re here in town.

Here’s the address

One Bills Drive
Orchard Park, NY 14127

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Urbik out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Bills RG Kraig Urbik is going to miss a third straight game Sunday after his ankle didn’t respond well to Wednesday’s practice.

“Urbik didn’t make it,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He tried it yesterday and he’s just not there. He will not (play Sunday).”

Urbik practiced on Wednesday and was hoping to do more in practice Thursday, but his ailing ankle did not respond well to Wednesday’s work in practice. Chad Rinehart will again step in and start at right guard in his place.

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