After the Buffalo Bills dealt with both the retirement of starting center Eric Wood and the pseudo-retirement of starting left guard Richie Incognito, it was thought that most positions along the offensive line, besides left tackle, would be up for grabs. However, besides the obvious competition under way at center between Russell Bodine and Ryan Groy, that assumption appears to be premature.
Continuing a trend that started in week 3 of OTAs, Bodine and Groy have been rotating starting reps every practice. With the opening of training camp, Bodine was the first to take starter’s reps, with Groy’s chance coming the next day. The two men have alternated days every since. The word from press observers has been that neither player has stood out and both have had their ups and downs. However, Groy was called out for a nice blitz pickup of rookie Tremaine Edmunds on Sunday. We may learn more soon, as whomever starts the team’s first preseason game on August 9th might be the player coaches feel is currently winning the competition.
When Buffalo drafted guard Wyatt Teller in the fifth round this past April, many assumed that he would be in the mix for one of the starting spots. That assumption also has yet to materialize, as both John Miller and Vlad Ducasse have been firmly entrenched at right and left guard, respectively. Miller especially has earned praise for his play and newly focused mentality. Teller, meanwhile, has been firmly locked in as the second-team right guard. There’s still time for this “competition” to heat up, but as of now it looks like Miller and Ducasse will be the team’s starting guards on Sundays.
Buffalo’s starting right tackle Jordan Mills has been a mediocre player throughout his career, although his 2018 season was better than most think. Fans want Mills to be replaced sooner rather than later, however. While the Bills didn’t take any tackles in the 2018 NFL Draft, they did sign former Oakland Raiders starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse, and they also have an intriguing talent in former sixth round draft pick Connor McDermott. In camp, the team appears to be experimenting with Newhouse by placing him at left guard, which indicates that they view him as more of a versatile reserve. McDermott thus far has earned his fair share of praise, he has yet to earn any starting reps in camp, so it’s looking like he won’t have a chance to compete to start unless Jordan Mills has a very sub-par preseason.
While it may be too early to make broad assumptions about the rotation of players in practice, early camp returns indicate that Bills’ coaches see far less competition along the offensive line than fans did before training camp began.