We're always up for a good conversation on Twitter. (You should follow us @BuffRumblings, by the way.) Sometimes those conversations take more than 140 characters and a question from Kent Lee Platte got us thinking about the Buffalo Bills offensive line heading into training camp.
@BuffRumblings What is the expected (most likely) starting 5 OL in 2016? Conversely, what is the ideal (best case) starting 5?— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 20, 2016
Let's go backward first. In 2015, the Bills rolled out an infirmed Cordy Glenn, reclamation project Richie Incognito, stalwart Eric Wood, rookie John Miller, and young Seantrel Henderson. It wasn't exactly a recipe for a great rushing team but the group gelled quickly. Incognito and Wood earned Pro Bowl nods while Glenn earned a giant new contract. While Miller had his growing pains, the right tackle position went through a major overhaul in the middle of the season when Henderson was reportedly diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
Fast forward to the offseason and the Bills haven't done much to change the line. Incognito and Glenn were retained as free agents and Jordan Mills, who replaced Henderson when he got sick, also re-signed. They added experienced depth in Fernando Velasco and Henderson is on track to be healthy for camp, according to reports.
With the players they have on the roster now, the left side of the line is entrenched; Glenn, Incognito, and Wood are the guys. The right side is where it gets interesting. Can Velasco and his 38 career starts unseat Miller at right guard? For now the most ideal scenario (as Kent asked for in his tweet) would be for Miller to make a big Year 2 leap and put that notion to rest. Is Henderson or even former second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio healthy enough to put up a fight for the right tackle job and salvage one of their young careers? Until proven otherwise, it's Mills' job to lose. He doesn't have as much upside as the other two, but he's more consistent.
Ideally; Glenn-Incognito-Wood-Miller-Henderson/Koudanjio. Expected; Glenn-Incognito-Wood-Miller-Mills.
Oh, and that line on the right powered Buffalo to the league lead in rushing in 2015.