The Bills will no longer have the services of offensive lineman Cody Ford this season. On Friday, Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced that Ford’s season is done and reportedly it’s due to a meniscus injury.
Buffalo (7-3) has had some time already this year without Ford as he’s dealt with ankle and other knee issues in 2020. But now that Ford won’t be playing for the foreseeable future, who will?
In terms of replacing Ford, the Bills have a few directions they can go in. But one thing that’s for sure, the outside of the line will remain the same as Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams will stick at left tackle and right tackle, respectively. According to Pro Football Focus, both Dawkins (79.1 grade) and Williams (78.1) have had strong years so far. Williams does have an ability to play guard, but if tackle isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Leave him there.
In the middle, we already know, and rightfully so, that Mitch Morse will be at center. McDermott announced on Friday that Morse will start at center, and now considering Ford’s injury, it’s the smartest move to make.
If the choice is Boettger, Feliciano goes to right guard and Boettger is on the left. On the flip side, Feliciano can hit the left side and Winters can go at right guard.
In the Bills’ last two games, both Boettger and Winters started. Prior to that, only Winters started in Week 7 against the Jets. Boettger played most of the game only after injury occurred. That sign could point to the coaching staff having more faith in Winters over Boettger.
But of course, let us now count on the fancy stats.
Without hard, concrete numbers to just offensive linemen on like we have for a wide receiver or quarterback, we’ll look to what the analytics say on the matter.
Per PFF, Boettger would be the better choice to play despite his lack of experience in comparison to Winters. PFF has graded Boettger a 72.0 overall mark so far this season, which is good for the 16th best grade to any guard in the NFL. Winters currently sits at 58.2.
From left to right, the analytics play for the Bills’ offensive line could be Dawkins, Boettger, Morse, Feliciano and Williams. But signs could be pointing toward the coaching staff wanting the more experienced Winters in the lineup. Boettger has appeared in just 12 games in his career and only has made two starts, both this season. Winters has appeared in 99 games ad started 87 of those.
As of right now we won’t have a clue as to which route the team will go. But, we do know when quarterback Josh Allen leads Buffalo’s offense onto the field for the first time this weekend, we’ll get the answer to this question.
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