Buffalo Bills’ Midseason Struggles: Offensive Line

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Dion Dawkins #73 of the Buffalo Bills helps Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills to his feet after a sack against the New York Jets during a game at MetLife Stadium. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

If you take a team in the NFL, you can make a case to what each weakness is for all 32 teams. The Buffalo Bills upgraded their offensive line massively during the offseason, but it is one of their weakest links, if not the worst of the team.

Before I get criticized, I completely understand that the Bills have other weaknesses. This includes quarterback play, the inconsistency of the offense or even rushing the pass on defense. When you examine the big boys that are suppose to protect Josh Allen, there is no doubt that they are better than last year’s line, but by how much?

Through seven games, Allen has been sacked twenty times. That is on average just below three sacks a game where Allen is put on his back by a defender. With Dion Dawkins as the only returner from last year in the trenches, there have been questions as to how this new unit would serve as the protectors for Allen. Now not to take away all credit from the line, they have strengths that have improved, but much more improvement is needed if they want finish games heading towards the run for the playoffs.

 

The Good:

Dawkins and Quinton Spain on the left side have served as a great resource in the run game. Dawkins is still developing as the blind side big brother and Spain has brought his veteran play to a much needed Bills line. While they have been up and down this season, they are the most reliable side for the Bills offense.

Jon Feliciano has been arguably the best offensive lineman for the Bills this season. Being aggressive on every play and playing until the whistle blows, you can see how Feliciano has served as a blocker on the offense.

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The Bad:

Lack of discipline and giving up pressure, causing Allen to face pressure and make bad plays. The penalties have racked up for a team that is meant to be disciplined under Sean McDermott. False starts and holding calls have been a drive killer for the Bills and their offense.

Rookie Cody Ford has his big moments of creating a hole in the run game and being able to make it to the second level. I cannot say the same for his pass blocking. Ford has heavily struggled to contain edge rushers and keep them off of Allen. Ford and Feliciano are the shaky duo on the right side where we never know what to expect from them. Some weeks they are consistent, and in others they are all over the chart.

The Bills have given up 59 penalties on the year, which is in the bottom ten of the league. Just focusing on the offense, their biggest weaknesses includes false start and holding. The Bills have lost out on six potential points on various drives because of penalties. Bobby Johnson, the Bills offensive line coach, has to correct these problems in order to stay with the team for next year.

 

The Biggest Issue?

The Bills have two losses on the season. Handed by the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, both who have great front pass rushers and run stoppers. The Bills offensive line has struggled against good defenses’ this season and they need to find a way to solve their problems. At 5-2, the Bills are in fine position, but at the same time, they face a big amount of pressure.

 

-Brandon Ray is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the Buffalo Bills. Make sure to follow Brandon on Twitter at @brandon_ray79. 

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