The analytics website Pro Football Focus uses color coding for its grading of NFL players.
Green is good, white is average and red is bad. As you might imagine following Week 10, there was plenty of red following the Bills’ performance against the New Orleans Saints. On offense, just one “green” was recorded. That was by rookie left tackle Dion Dawkins.
“I don't really like to single myself out, because the O-line is a unit,” Dawkins said Thursday, when asked how he rated his individual performance against the Saints. “So if one player plays good and the rest plays bad, then we all played bad. We move as one. I just know that we have to do a better job.”
It’s looking more and more like Dawkins will make his fifth start of the season Sunday when the Bills visit the Los Angeles Chargers. Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn has not practiced since a Week 9 loss to the New York Jets as he continues to deal with foot and ankle injuries.
When Glenn has been healthy, Dawkins has worked as a swing tackle and played some guard.
"That's just me embracing the NFL,” the rookie second-round draft pick said. “I could play guard one week, tackle the next, or a support player on the sideline just cheering them on. I'm just know that I'm going to do whatever coach needs me to do for us to win games.”
Coach Sean McDermott has said Glenn remains day to day, which means Dawkins could soon return to his role as a reserve. Until that happens, though, he'll continue to start at a critical position on the offensive line.
"The position I feel most confident at is left tackle because I've been getting a lot of reps there," he said. "But whatever it is, I'm willing to do it. I know as an O-line, we have to do better."
Kicker Stephen Hauschka did not practice Thursday because of a right hip injury. After practice, coach Sean McDermott had a long conversation with Hauschka on the field.
The Bills did not make a roster move to add another kicker, which would seem to indicate they do not believe the injury to be serious. Guard John Miller left practice with an ankle injury, and was listed as a limited participant.
Also not practicing for the Bills were Glenn, running back Mike Tolbert (hamstring) and left guard Richie Incognito (rest day). If Tolbert can't play, Travaris Cadet will make his Bills debut as the backup running back to LeSean McCoy.
"He's done a really good job. He really has," McDermott said. "Been impressed with his football acumen, knowledge of the run game, knowledge of the pass game. I've been impressed up to this point."
Defensive end Jerry Hughes returned to practice as a limited participant after sitting out Wednesday because of a shin injury suffered in Week 10 against the Saints.
“He did good. He moved well, better than I originally thought going into practice, so it’s a good sign,” McDermott said.
Tight end Charles Clay also returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday with a knee injury, while receiver Jordan Matthews was listed as a limited participant for the second straight practice with a knee injury.
Starting cornerback E.J. Gaines was listed as a full participant – the first time that’s happened since before he got hurt in Week 7 – as was wide receiver Zay Jones.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers practiced Thursday on a limited basis.
“We think he’ll play, but that’s up to the doctors,” Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn told reporters. “That’s not my decision.”
Rivers remains in the concussion protocol, which means he has more medical tests to pass before being cleared to play. He has not missed a game since 2005.