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Jay Skurski's 3 thoughts: O-line, injuries, Dez Lewis not looking good

1. Tyrod Taylor's performance late in games has been rightfully scrutinized, but there is no denying he needs better protection. In fact, the entire offensive line's performance -- from run blocking to protecting Taylor -- has plenty of room for improvement. According to analytics website Pro Football Focus, the Bills' offensive line ranks 24th in the NFL in run blocking and 31st in the league in pass blocking.

That may sound odd for a team that's second in the NFL in rushing yards, but the Bills are averaging 3.63 adjusted line yards per carry, which Football Outsiders formulates by taking all running back carries and assigning responsibility to the offensive line based on the length of the run. The Bills rank 28th in "power success," at 47 percent. That's the percentage of runs on third or fourth down needing 2 yards or less to achieve a touchdown or first down. They are 27th in "stuffed" plays, at 22 percent, which is when the running back is tackled for no gain or a loss.

A lot of the success of the running game has come from LeSean McCoy's ability to make defenders miss in the open field -- the Bills lead the NFL in "open field" yards  (formulated by taking the yards a team's running backs earn more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage and then dividing by total running back carries) -- and Taylor's ability to pick up yards, either by design or when scrambling.

Simply put, the Bills need better push up front, especially if McCoy can't play, starting Sunday against New England.

2. I've never seen anything like the Bills' injury report Wednesday. A whopping 16 players are on the list. Even if you take off Lorenzo Alexander, who was given a veteran rest day, that's still a preposterous number of players nursing either an injury or illness. Obviously, a lot of those players will be ready to go by Sunday -- which is why guard Richie Incognito said he never pays attention to the injury report during the week -- but the sheer number of players listed is concerning. The Bills desperately need their bye week, but have to face arguably the two best teams in the NFL in New England and Seattle before it arrives. That makes the loss in Miami that much more troubling.

3. Ed Eagan's promotion from the practice squad to the 53-man roster was bad news for Dez Lewis. The Bills' seventh-round draft pick in 2015, Lewis looked like he turned a corner during spring practices and would make a strong push to earn a roster spot in the summer. That never materialized, though, and Lewis was among the team's final cuts. He joined the practice squad a couple days later and has been there all season, but not getting the call this week -- even with the Bills having a clear need for height at receiver on the active roster -- shows he's not developing the way the coaching staff would like.

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