The 49ers head into Week 5 in relatively good health as they are getting guys like Brandon Jacobs back, with Isaac Sopoaga getting closer. On the other side of things, the Bills are dealing with some pretty big injuries. Left tackle Cordy Glenn and right guard Kraig Urbik both suffered high ankle sprains last week and are expected to miss this weekend's matchup.
I took a few minutes to chat with Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings, and one of the questions I brought up was about those injuries. I asked Brian several questions and will break these up into several posts. The first question was about the impact of these injuries, and a little bit about the two replacements. Take it away Brian!
The nice thing about it, if there's a "nice thing" with any injury in the NFL, is that the two replacements for those injured guys have both had a lot of playing time in the offense. But there will be a drop-off without Glenn and Urbik, without question.
Chris Hairston will start at left tackle this week. He's a second-year guy out of Clemson, and there's a drop-off from Glenn, to be sure. Glenn is an excellent athlete. Hairston is not; he's got heavy feet and is very susceptible to the speed rush. But he's also very smart and very, very big; he's an asset in the running game and doesn't make mental errors, aside from the occasional false start.
The drop-off is bigger at right guard, where Chad Rinehart will replace Urbik. Urbik is really coming into his own, and has been the team's best lineman for stretches this season. Rinehart is not as big nor mobile, so the team loses some versatility in their run blocking schemes with him in the lineup. What Rinehart is is a scrapper - he's tough and physical, and plays to the whistle. He knows the offense. Where Urbik allows them to run what they want to run, Rinehart gives them a fighting chance to compete.
In short, there won't be any cohesiveness issues, but this line will have a harder time matching up with the 49ers' front seven without these two guys.