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Analysis: Buffalo Bills guard Cody Ford

How’s he doing?

Third-year man Cody Ford has had quite the rollercoaster career so far. Drafted as a tackle, then moved to left guard, right guard, probably some work at safety. Injured. Rotating with Ty Nsekhe. The hope this year was that health and consistency would help Ford develop into the player the Buffalo Bills thought they had in the draft. We’re three games into the right guard experiment (with a little Ike Boettger rotation thrown in for good measure). Let’s check in on his latest work against The Washington Football Team, who has a pretty good d-line.


Play 1

Yeah that’s not quite a headlock but the point stands; that’s...not good blocking form. It’s fairly common to see when linemen are beaten quickly. This play probably should have come back and another ten yards to boot. Quick losses to the side were a pretty common theme for Ford against Football Team.

Play 2

That said, when you’re looking at linemen there should always be consideration for play direction. Ford appears to be beaten quickly again with a similar technique. The angle isn’t ideal (the All-22 wasn’t available at the time of writing), but the body mechanics of Ford look like he meant to quickly turn. Letting the defender go through at full speed on a play like this is actually the best thing you can do.

Play 3

Ford’s feet appear to be too close together on initial impact and, as a result, he’s moved back. Ford plants his right foot and resets his body to stop the damage. It wasn’t pretty but it got the job done on this play.

Play 4

Once again, at the point of contact Ford’s feet are close together. For this play, rather than it leading to Ford getting pushed he gets beat to the side and needs to catch up. He lets his hips turn, which turns this into a race—and Ford actually wins it. The issue is how it narrows the pocket. Bills fans should be over the moon though at how well Josh Allen navigates it however.

Play 5

One thing that seemed to consistently go well for Ford was blocking on the move. It seemed he established leverage and position better on the move with most plays looking closer to this one than the ones above.

Play 6

Ford didn’t lose every rep at the line either to be clear. The first few plays are intended to reflect some areas I believe the Bills are trying to clean up, not to dismiss Ford as a player. Ford shows the capability to establish leverage and use it. The word “inconsistent” is perhaps the best one.

Play 7

I like to end on a high note and this certainly qualifies. Ford had his man cleared even before he went to the ground. This is a pretty obvious victory for the right guard.


Summary

The word I used for Play 6 is really the key here. There’s no single area you can point to and say Ford is incapable at guard. With some aspects like blocking on the run, he’s flashing some talent. While inconsistency is problematic for all positions, it’s especially problematic on the offensive line. Linemen are on the field 100 percent of the time and are tested nearly every play. If a wide receiver has a bad rep it might go unnoticed if the play was designed to the other side of the field anyway.

A lot of flaws seem to stem from footwork and the hips. Body mechanics are often coachable and the Bills love drafting players who take well to coaching. In year three the window might be closing, but I don’t think it’s completely shut just yet. Fingers crossed for Ford to settle in.