As the Bills continue to prepare for the season, Eric Wood got snaps at center today while regular C Geoff Hangartner got a day off. Coach Chan Gailey told the media that he was preparing Wood in case he needs to play there at some point this season. Wood has not played center since his days at Louisville a couple seasons ago, but it was his play at center that made him worthy of a first-round draft choice in the eyes of the Bills front office last season. Gailey might realize that Wood could become a dominant center that the Bills haven’t had in many years.
It is nice to have guards that are able to pull, and knock people off the ball in the run game, and be able to stand up to big defensive tackles when they bull rush. It appears Wood showed promise in his rookie season at doing those things, as he was one of the most consistent lineman the Bills had before his season-ending leg injury. While Levitre had his ups and downs as a rookie guard in 2009, Wood was solid, sometimes even dominant at his position.
However, I still like to think that Wood’s future with the Bills is at the center spot. Offensive tackles are vital to an offense’s success, and everyone is aware of that. I feel that the center position sometimes gets overlooked, as it may be just as important as tackle. The Bills’ vaunted no-huddle attack had great tackles, Howard Ballard and Will Wolford, but it was anchored by Kent Hull, a former all-pro center. The center is the one who makes the line calls, recognizes blitzers and helps the QB pre-snap more than any other player. Hangartner is not a dominant center. He’s a decent player who can hold down the position until Wood gets more accustomed to playing in the NFL, and recognizing what opposing defenses are doing. I think Gailey recognizes this, and is preparing Wood for his eventual takeover as the next great anchor of the Bills’ offensive line for many years to come.