The Bills’ day one offensive line starters are most likely going to be looking like this: Dion Dawkins, Rodger Saffold, Mitch Morse, Ryan Bates, and Spencer Brown. The offensive line shouldn’t be as much of a question and a worry this year as it was last year either. The Bills’ line definitely had their struggles through the middle of last season and were a big part of the blame as to why the offense seemed to struggle at times. Injuries and rotations with Ike Boettinger and Cody Ford, having to step in and play every snap, along with the big rookie Spencer Brown struggling at times as well contributed to those struggles.
We saw this against the Jacksonville Jaguars last year in just an abysmal offensive showing. One of the worst we’ve seen in recent years. The Bills mustered a whole six points throughout the game. Giving up four sacks, and it could’ve been a lot worse if Josh Allen didn’t have the athleticism and mobility he possesses. Allen lost a fumble and threw two interceptions on the way to a very disappointing loss.
It seemed as if he was running for his life the entire game; however, that just shows that an offensive line and a quarterback’s success correlate a lot more than people may think. If you’re a great quarterback but have no time to throw the ball, constantly running for your life, you’re going to be unsettled and off your game. Whereas on the flip side an elite offensive line can make even an average or mediocre quarterback look great.
We did see this unit start to gel together towards the backend of the season where they had a string of games allowing zero sacks and giving Allen a lot more time to throw and pick apart the defense. Morse has turned into a fantastic center. He’s very reliable and intelligent as well, while Dion Dawkins has also solidified himself as one of the best left tackles in the league protecting Josh’s blind side. Spencer Brown will be going into his second year with the team and he had flashes of greatness in his rookie season and certainly seems like the big, rough, and tough guy you want protecting your quarterback.
The Bills allowed the second-fewest sacks in the league this past season, only allowing 27 sacks, second only behind Brady and Tampa Bay with 23. While I’m sure a large part of this is due to Allen’s aforementioned athleticism and mobility, it’s still impressive when you look at the course of the entire season. This Bills line has also been criticized for their run blocking. Being the pass-heavy offense they are, the Bills’ line is not asked to run block all that much.
The Bills had 1,446 rushing yards total last year by players not named Josh Allen. Buffalo finished 6th in the league in total rushing yards, but again, the quarterback had almost as many rushing yards as starting running back, Devin Singletary. Most of those yards came off of scrambles and broken plays as well.
The Bills’ offensive line has struggled in the run game as well, not opening holes for the running backs to hit and the offensive line can truly make or break an offense. A good offensive line can protect their quarterback, giving him time to make his reads and move the ball through the air. They can also open holes along the defensive front, allowing the running backs the opportunity to pick up solid yards before they even make contact. Is the 2022 version of the Bills’ offensive line going to be up to the task of protecting Allen and creating those holes for Devin Singeltary and James Cook to run through?
I believe the Bills’ line will pick up right where they left off last season. Yes, they were rusty at times, but the continuity of the group, familiarity with this offense, and their positions will bode well going into the start of the season. Spencer Brown should look even better and more comfortable at his right tackle position and will be able to move defenders with ease once he nails down the proper technique and using his core to keep his balance. The guards of Bates and newly acquired Rodger Saffold should gel well together on the inside, as it was clear last year that Ryan Bates is a crucial part of the offensive line.
Mitch Morse is an excellent center and will be able to hold his own on the inside against most defensive tackles, but he’ll have his work cut out for him Week One against Aaron Donald.
Dion Dawkins is a pro bowl LT and seems to get better and better every year. He is a staple and leader of the offensive line, and Josh Allen will sleep well at night knowing Dawkins is protecting his blindside.
Overall, this offensive line should do very well this year for the reasons previously mentioned. They seemed to come together as a cohesive unit towards the end of last season and that allowed Josh Allen to thrive and pick apart the opposing defenses. Singletary also had more of a spring in his step as he was breaking runs and rushing for more touchdowns towards the latter part of the season when the line began to improve. I fully expect McDermott and Dorsey’s line to be a solid unit once again this season.
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