Buffalo Bills: Rookie Offensive Line Struggles


Aug 3, 2014; Canton, OH, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) looks to throw a pass during the first quarter of the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame game against the New York Giants at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills played in the Hall of Fame game this past Sunday.  We got a glimpse at the potential for all 90 players, minus the injured ones, coming into the 2014 season.  The starting defense looked very promising and even the run defense looked good.  The offense still looked to be the same from last year.

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The offensive line struggles continued from training camp and made their presence in the game.  Without incumbent Cordy Glenn in the line-up and probably not going to be ready until early September, Seantrel Henderson, the 7th round, blue chip, 1st round talent, left tackle got the start has he had throughout training camp.  Henderson played for just about all of the first half.  He played well and faced up against Jason Pierre-Paul and held his own for the most part.  There were a couple of failed attempts to keep JPP under wraps.  His run blocker was very good and overall there was a lot of promise from the left side.

The next player and position that had a close eye on them was Cyrus Kouandjio at right tackle. Out of the offensive line, I think that Kouandjio seemed to have the toughest time.  He has had problems in training camp and those transferred over quite well into the game, not a good thing.  Kouandjio had problems keeping his balance and staying on blocks.  He had the second most snaps of any offensive lineman.  He was able to shoe some potential in the run blocking game, but seemed to be lost on passing downs.  He was beat a couple times leading to scrambling situations and a sack.  Kouandjio, a second round pick, does have a long way to go, if he does not progress faster, then Erik Pears may be the starter come the beginning of the season.

The final rookie that we will look at is Cyril Richardson.  A fifth round pick, with solid talent, played at the right guard position in what seems to be a position battle between Kraig Urbik, Chris Hairston, and Richardson. Richardson played mainly in the 2nd and 3rd quarters nabbing 29 snaps.  Richardson showed well in the running game and was able to stay on his blocks.  He does need some help when required to block in space, but overall had a decent showing.  A toss up between Hairston, Urbik, and Richardson at this point.

These guys are young and have limited experience in the NFL to extend as far as training camp.  This was their first game and missteps are expected.  With coaching a grooming, there is a lot of potential that came out of this draft and the Buffalo Bills to field a very strong offensive line.  The potential is there, their play needs to be brought up to their potential.  With four weeks to go, there is time.