The Buffalo Bills are rotating offensive linemen at a feverish clip due to some absences in training camp. Two things that are clear is the back-ups aren’t as good as the starters and there is a clear pecking order already in place.
Dion Dawkins was excused from practice for personal reasons on Friday, marking the fourth offensive lineman to leave the starting lineup in a week. Guard Ryan Bates has been out a couple days with an injury, Spencer Brown hasn’t taken an 11-on-11 rep all camp coming back from injury, and Rodger Saffold still isn’t practicing with his cracked ribs.
First up, Tommy Doyle and David Quessenberry have been the players taking first-team reps in place of Brown and Saffold. Both players are being cross-trained at tackle and guard, and they’ve flip-flopped those positions, establishing themselves as the top two reserves.
When the team needed a third backup to step in, it was Greg Mancz. Mancz also has been working as the second-team center, which would seem to give him another advantage toward a roster spot.
The ninth offensive lineman in the bunch is former second-round pick Cody Ford. That’s not a great indication he will make the roster. With limited upside, the Bills may feel like it’s a better option to keep Luke Tenuta as their ninth OL and a game-day inactive instead.
With all that being said, those second-teamers were welcomed by the Bills’ first-team defensive line on Friday. With Doyle filling in on the left side for Dawkins, he was smoked early and often in his first real test at blind-side since joining the Bills. (I mean, it was Von Miller, but still.) Ed Oliver also whipped Mancz at left guard, leading to a potential injury for Josh Allen when the DT fell low on the QB’s leg.