Countdown to Bills Camp: The Offensive Line

July 23, 2018 - 9:07 pm

Derek Kramer
@DerekKramerWGR


As Buffalo Bills training camp gets started this week on Thursday, we continue our series of previewing the position groups by starting with the offense.

Previously:

Next up:
 

THE OFFENSIVE LINE

Retirements have destroyed the offensive line, in addition to the trade of tackle Cordy Glenn.

Wide receivers aside, the offensive line may have the biggest questions of the entire team heading into the season. But unlike the wideouts, the Bills did, at least, add potential starters in free agency to, at least, soften the blow.

The Bills do have some promise in some returning players, namely in second-year tackle Dion Dawkins and center Ryan Groy. John Miller's game took a step back, but seems poised to reclaim a starting job with Vlad Ducasse also at guard. 

But with the new quarterback room of A.J. McCarron, Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen, fans and pundits alike don't like the line that is there to protect whoever the starter winds up being. At least Allen can scramble, but there will be no more miracle plays from the quarterback to bail out a spotty play with Tyrod Taylor gone. 


NOTABLE DEPARTURES: 

The Bills got hammered by three major departures in the retirement of center Eric Wood, the retirement then eventual release of guard Richie Incognito and the trade of Glenn. Between the three of them, the Bills lost a combined five Pro Bowls, 248 combined starts in their Bills careers and three mainstays on the left side and middle of the offensive line. The three of them have been consistent and the locked in starters on the left side for the past three seasons. 


NOTABLE ADDITIONS: 

The Bills added several new faces due to the departures in the offensive line. At center, Buffalo brought in Russell Bodine from the Cincinnati Bengals to compete with Ryan Groy. Tackle Marshall Newhouse comes in from the Oakland Raiders to add depth behind Dawkins and projected right tackle Jordan Mills. The Bills also drafted guard Wyatt Teller in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft for more depth. 


WHAT TO EXPECT: 

The offensive line may have some issues and have a dip in play without Wood, Incognito and Glenn, but don't expect a line with holes that will give up sacks like it's going out of style.

Dawkins became the starter last season and proved to be up to the task. Now the biggest question will be if he can be as consistent from year-to-year. Newhouse is, at the very least, needed depth at tackle, but might be able to factor in as potential competition for the right tackle spot against Mills. Groy and Bodine can both play at guard, so whoever loses out on the center position can add depth and relief for the entire interior of the line. Ducasse is well liked by the coaching staff and should be penciled in a starter. Miller should be able to rebound after he struggled to get control of the right guard spot under former coordinator Rick Dennison's zone blocking scheme. 

In the end, the offensive line should, at least, be able to remain average at worst.

The line we could see to open the season would be: LT - Dawkins; LG - Miller; C - Groy; RG - Ducasse; RT - Mills


Up next: wide receivers and tight ends

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