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Better option for Buffalo Bills at left tackle: Dion Dawkins or Cordy Glenn?

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Who gives the Bills offense the best chance to succeed?

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

When the Buffalo Bills handed left tackle Cordy Glenn a five-year contract extension worth $65 million with $36 million in guaranteed money, the front office expected Glenn would serve as the blindside protector of quarterback Tyrod Taylor for years to come. Yet just 17 months later, could the Bills be contemplating a future without Glenn, a second-round pick in the 2012 draft out of the University of Georgia?

During Sunday’s 20-16 road loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, rookie Dion Dawkins started and was on the field at left tackle for all 70 of Buffalo’s offensive plays. Glenn, who has dealt with a foot and ankle injury going back to the preseason, was active but only saw four special teams snaps, with no plays on offense.

“We’ll see, that’s what part of this week is, we evaluate ourselves first,” McDermott said during the post-game press conference when asked if there might be any forthcoming changes on the offensive line. “I have to evaluate myself, and the coaches will all do that, and then we evaluate personnel and we’ll do that moving forward.”

Pro Football Focus graded Glenn as the NFL's 10th-ranked offensive tackle during the 2015 season and the fifth-best in pass blocking, but he fell to 22nd among all offensive tackles with an 82.8 grade in 2016 despite allowing only one sack in 397 pass-blocking snaps.

Glenn had started all 74 games in which he appeared during his Bills career until Sunday’s loss to the Bengals. Glenn is making $14.2 million this year, and $8 million of his $14.45 million 2018 salary is guaranteed. With those salary cap figures, it is unlikely the team will cut ties with Glenn before 2019.

Buffalo’s depleted offense, which was without starting wide receiver Jordan Matthews, lost tight end Charles Clay to injury during the loss to Cincinnati. With Dawkins appearing on the field for every offensive snap, Buffalo’s offense mustered only 221 yards Sunday, including only 36 yards after halftime.

Dawkins, along with the rest of the offensive line, struggled for most of the day against the Bengals. Buffalo’s 2017 second-round pick found himself on the losing side of several battles with fellow rookie Carl Lawson, recorded a sack and finished with multiple pressures on Tyrod Taylor.

McDermott said he and his coaches will continue to evaluate every position, including the left tackle spot, to put the best possible lineup on the field when Buffalo returns to action following this week’s bye.

“With respect to Cordy [Glenn]’s situation as well, Dion, as you mentioned [and] we talked about the young players, he’s coming in and [has] done a really nice job at that left tackle position,” McDermott said. “He’s going up against some good pass rushers on that side of the ball and he’s got some plays that he wants back and so we’re going to continue to evaluate that moving forward.”

McDermott did give some indication that Buffalo was trying to ease Glenn back into the lineup, a curious move considered the Bills have a bye this week. If they wanted his foot to be fully healthy, why not shut him down in Week 5 to bring him back 100% in Week 7?

“Before what we did with Cordy was we brought him back, put him in the starting lineup, and we had some setbacks,” said McDermott Monday. “Right now it’s about taking a step. We felt a step was getting him in uniform, being the third tackle, warming up, getting his mind right about playing, and then we’ll go from there.”

Buffalo hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 22 at New Era Field.