On Tuesday, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed that right guard Brian Winters would be out "a couple weeks" with an undisclosed injury, citing the team's desires to play it safe and work Winters back slowly from whatever he's dealing with.
With Winters out of the picture for the foreseeable future with no clear timetable available, offensive lineman Justin Murray now slides into the starting right-guard slot.
With Arizona's offensive line essentially having four of five spots solidified, all eyes in the trenches were fixated on the right-guard position in what was deemed an open competition, with Murray and Winters emerging as the team's top two candidates.
One man's misfortune is another's opportunity and Murray looks to have ample time and opportunity to prove himself worthy in Winters' absence.
In our training camp positional preview for the offensive line, we projected Murray to emerge victorious in the battle. Winters' track record in Buffalo wasn't promising last season, and Murray's familiarity with the system combined with the solidified reps in the next couple weeks could provide dividends for him.
Murray's first opportunity will come in Arizona's preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Friday, Aug. 13 should no miraculous developments come from Winters' side.
In the NFL, everything is earned, and Murray's opportunity is no different. Murray will be tested against two strong defensive fronts in practice with the Cardinals and Cowboys.
Heading into camp, the race for the starting right-guard position was anybody's for the taking and the Cardinals like the physicality that Winters brings alongside center Rodney Hudson.
Now, Murray has an opportunity to turn that race into a full-on sprint, with Winters still at the starter's line.