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SB Nation Reacts: Buffalo Bills fans tackle positional concerns

Is the greatest concern over an offensive tackle, or a defensive tackling machine?

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Each week during the preseason and regular season, Buffalo Bills fans vote in SB Nation Reacts to express their confidence level in the team.

Earlier this week, we asked Buffalo Rumblings readers to weigh in with their concerns about three key positions on the Bills’ roster. Overwhelmingly, the number-one concern remains offensive tackle, specifically right tackle and the play of Spencer Brown.

One Bills Drive made a concerted effort to overhaul the team’s offensive line this offseason, recognizing a need to better protect franchise quarterback Josh Allen. But much of that infusion of talent came along the interior of the line, while tackle remains largely the same as it was during the 2022 NFL season.

In a deflating preseason loss on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bills’ offensive line appeared overwhelmed. Spencer Brown hurt the offense with multiple penalties, and was manhandled several times by more than one defender — even being picked up off his feet more than once.

The front office and head coach Sean McDermott continue to their support for Brown, but make no mistake — this season is a pivotal one for the athletic tackle, and improved play is necesary if the team hopes to make a real run this season.

The incumbent at left tackle, Dion Dawkins has been a hot topic of discussion among Bills Mafia nearly as much as Brown. Many point to Dawkins’ battles with COVID-19, and a perceived drop in his level of play since that point a couple seasons back. Dawkins has been a stable left tackle for the Bills, and his play is one of few constants along an often-shuffling line. While there are reasons to hope for an uptick in his level of play, running Dawkins out of town is likely to weaken Buffalo’s offensive line, while also removing a beloved team leader.

Most fans appear to believe the situation at MIKE linebacker isn’t as big a concern at it’s been sold this offseason. Time will tell if the loss of Tremaine Edmunds has a ripple effect on the rest of Buffalo’s defense, specifically the level of play and production by Matt Milano. To this point, McDermott has been unable to name a starter at the position, with Terrel Bernard injured and less-than-ideal contributions from Tyrel Dodson, A.J. Klein, and Baylon Spector. This unit has a massive amount of weight on its shoulders over the course of these next two weeks.

At cornerback, the team has a logjam, with Dane Jackson, Christian Benford, and Kaiir Elam all vying for a shot to earn the starting CB2 job — and the pecking order appears to follow as listed here. Still, Rumblers don’t think it’s a huge concern, considering all three are capable players, even if the hope is that it all clicks sooner than later for the team’s first-round pick in 2022, Elam.

On the national level, fans of all 32 teams voted to choose the winners of each division in the NFL. The Bills remain the overwhelming favorite to win the AFC East. This, despite a massive amount of hype surrounding the New York Jets and a still-ascending Miami Dolphins team.

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