It’s that time of the year if you’re a bad team like the Buffalo Bills who missed the playoffs by a mile. It’s end of season positional review time!
Over the coming days, yours truly is going to break down each position group by three factors: depth, reliability and performance. They’ll be graded on all three of these factors accordingly.
Today, we’ll be looking at a concern for what seems like eons now: the offensive line.
Coming into the season, once you got past the top group it got dicey. Really, really dicey and the Bills got a bit lucky. They played nine linemen all year long, but three of those guys (J.J. Unga, Thomas Welch and Sam Young) all saw less than one percent of the line snaps this season.
Most teams aren’t that fortunate, and an injury to one of the stalwarts like Cordy Glenn, Eric Wood or Erik Pears would have meant catastrophe as the Bills have mostly cast-offs and projects in the reserves.
Sometimes you need to be lucky, but the Bills should be looking to upgrade along the line in the draft at some point. Grade: D
From a health standpoint, it’s hard to be more reliable than Buffalo’s starters. Glenn, Wood and Pears started 100 percent of the snaps for the Bills on the offensive line this season, and Kraig Urbik started over 99 percent. That’s incredible in this day and age when offensive linemen seem to drop like flies.
Their reliability on the field, though, was far less to brag about. They struggled to find someone at left guard to replace the departed Andy Levitre, using Doug Legursky and Colin Brown to less-than-stellar effect.
It’s hard to count on four of your five linemen being this healthy all year long, and the Bills got very, very lucky. Grade: C+
Again, very up and down here. Individually, Glenn was very quietly good. He consistently got better as the season wore on and looks comfortable as the blind-side protector on the line. He’s going to be an anchor for this line for years to come, and the Bills appear to have done well getting him in the second-round.
But after Glenn and Wood, who have consistently been the Bills’ best linemen over the last several years, it’s average at best. Pears doesn’t have the talent to be starter at right tackle but is there out of necessity. Urbik is okay at right guard, but the situation at left guard is a big mess. Finding more talent and getting that talent to mesh will go a long way towards keeping their quarterbacks (whoever is starting at any given time) upright and healthy. Grade: C+