Every year in the NFL, players come and go. The Buffalo Bills are no different, with the losses of fan favorites Jerry Hughes and Jon Feliciano, and the additions of guard Rodger Saffold, Von Miller, and Tim Settle, to name a few. If you look at the numbers league-wide, it’s astounding. According to an article from overthecap.com, you can check out the article here, since 2013, an average of only 56% of players returned from the previous season and this number declines even more after year two, all the way down to 35%.
If you’re lucky, the team retains the foundation of the roster and the churn is primarily towards the bottom of the depth chart, which fortunately for the Buffalo Bills, has been the case more often than not since Sean McDermott and Brandon Bean took over.
The goal is to churn the bottom of the roster while bringing in new players who can help the team get to the next level. As we head into 2022, I believe very few coach/general manager duos have done a better job at this than McDermott and Beane.
With every new player addition, there is excitement about what that player will bring to the table, such is the case with Von Miller. There is no doubt, he will elevate this already number one-rated defense and Bills Mafia is hoping that he is the missing piece to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
Offensive Guard – Rodger Saffold
But I think there is a player addition that is seemingly going unnoticed, likely due to the bigger names the Bills have signed, as well as the position he plays, which is not a celebrated position or sexy, as some people like to say. Rodger Saffold is the newest offensive guard for the Buffalo Bills, likely sliding in opposite guard Ryan Bates, who the Bills were able to retain by matching the Chicago Bears’ offer. In my opinion, this addition all but solidifies the offensive line, and possibly, hopefully for the first time in years, the starting five in week one will be the starting five in the playoffs.
Despite the Bills’ offense being one of the best in the league the last two seasons, the constant shuffling of offensive linemen has played a role in some of the Bills’ losses. In fact, in Buffalo’s six losses, Allen was sacked 16 times, yet in the 11 wins, only ten.
Plug Saffold into the Bills’ line with Dion Dawkins, Spencer Brown, Mitch Morse, and Ryan Bates, I believe the Bills have a line that could be the best we’ve seen under McDermott. Saffold comes in at 6’5″, 325 pounds. He’s been a starting guard every year of his career, to the tune of 157 starts out of 160 games played, including a key piece on the Tennessee Titans line that has helped Derrick Henry produce rushing yards at an incredible rate.
Saffold is known more as a run-blocking guard, which is good, as that seems to be the line’s main weakness but even still, he only gave up two sacks in 2021 and was penalized five times. So, while he isn’t the long-term answer at the guard position given his age, 34, he’ll be a great bridge player while the team tries to groom someone for the future, perhaps Cody Ford will find his way under the tutelage of the new offensive line coach, Aaron Kromer, and Saffold can help in that area as well.
I am of the train of thought that your offensive line is massively vital to any offense and if this line can step up their game and provide a little more consistency in pass protection and the run game, this offense could be historically good.
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