by Mario Granata
Now much of the attention has been on the thrilling trio of quarterbacks at One Bills Drive and how they have performed in the preseason, however the focus might have been misplaced just a little bit. The insertion of a veteran head coach (Rex Ryan) and offensive coordinator (Greg Roman) have also helped, but the way that the Bills have turned what was statistically the worst offensive line in the NFL into Cinco de Chemistry is quite remarkable and also overlooked.
Try to think back a year at the Buffalo Bills offensive line. Their second round pick was a “healthy” scratch for most of the year, they were starting a 7th rounder at right tackle, and played mix and match for most of the season trying to find the right combination that would work. Not until a 10-year veteran named Kyle Orton came in and set protections and used his seasoning so that the line wasn’t a complete dumpster fire did things start to improve. However, they were still bad. So how did the insertion of a couple other players turn this thing around? Now I know its just the preseason, so I will wait to be completely sold on the resurgence of Richie Incognito and the rookie John Miller from Louisville, but it seems that they are finding their stride.
Now, you can attach any excuse that you want to the performance of Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel but when you take into consideration that the completion percentage of the three ranges from Manuel (67%) to Cassel (87%) with Taylor at a staggering 77%, it can’t all be attributed to their pinpoint accuracy in the face of defenders. Also, they were able to do this with a range of receivers that seem to be all but forgotten by the rest of the NFL. I mean, who would have considered Deonte Thompson of performing as well as he has this preseason?
Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, John Miller and Seantrel Henderson are going to be the key when the Bills start playing games in the regular season for all of this to work. Now, I am not taking anything away from Tyrod Taylor. He has performed well in the preseason, Matt Cassel has looked better than he ever did, and Manuel has thrown 4 touchdowns and the most telling stat that will also be key for Greg Roman will be 0 interceptions in the preseason (aside from Matt Simms of course). Protecting the ball is essential in any offense, but probably more so in a Greg Roman one if the Bills are to break the longest playoff drought in the NFL. Things are looking good so far, and giving Bills fans something to talk about as far as the quarterbacks are concerned, but don’t forget the horses up front. If Taylor is the man, it will be up to the Forgotten Five to keep him off his back.