Sean McDermott isn't pressing the panic button about his offensive line. Yet.
The Buffalo Bills' coach said Friday the team has not considered moving rookie second-round draft pick Dion Dawkins over to left tackle.
That means the plan, for now, is to get franchise left tackle Cordy Glenn healthy as he deals with a foot injury and to leave Dawkins at right tackle, where he's competing for the starting job with veteran holdover Jordan Mills. Fans shouldn't be blamed if they feel a little less comfortable with that plan after Thursday night's dud of a showing for the starting offensive line. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was sacked twice and pressured several other times during a 20-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. That contributed greatly to Taylor's miserable, two-interception showing.
"There’s a lot of factors that came into play in terms of the pressure on our quarterbacks last night," McDermott said Friday. "Technique is obviously one thing, beating the man in front of you, the timing of the offense has to work hand-in-hand with the protection, the route development, the quarterback getting the ball out in time. All those things work together in terms of protection, in terms of execution. We didn’t do a good job of that enough last night."
Despite that, McDermott isn't considering a drastic shakeup. The Bills used Seantrel Henderson in Glenn's place against the Eagles. That's not a viable option for the regular season, however, because Henderson still has to serve five games of a 10-game suspension handed down last year.
"He needs all the work he can get at this point in time," McDermott said when asked what the thinking was playing Henderson with the starters. "That said, we felt like we got some good reps last night with Jordan and Dion in the game alternating, and getting some good time. We need to play this week out and monitor where we are as we move forward. If at some point we feel like we need to make a move, with one of those two going over to the left side, then in fact we’ll do that. We’re not going there right now."
McDermott said the Bills remain optimistic that Glenn, who received an injection in his injured foot recently, will be able to return soon. The team is listing him as week to week.
"There will be a time when we say, ‘Hey we’ve got to do something,' and go with that contingency plan. Right now, we look forward to getting Cordy back. That’s the prognosis we’ve gotten from the docs," he said. "We’re going to take it one day at a time right now, but keep a very close eye on it."
The Bills had remarkable consistency last year along the offensive line. Mills, right guard John Miller and left guard Richie Incognito started all 16 games, while Glenn started 11 games and center Eric Wood basically split the year with Ryan Groy after the former was hurt in the team's ninth game.
That consistency has not been there this summer. Glenn and Henderson have worked at left tackle, while the right side has seen the rotation between Mills and Dawkins as well as a spitting of reps with Miller and veteran Vlad Ducasse. Wood, however, said that shouldn't be viewed as a reason for Thursday's poor showing.
"I'm not going to make excuses," he said. "All the guys that have played have a good amount of talent. Seantrel has started games in this league. John and Vlad have both started games in this league, and then Dion, you know, he's a second-rounder. He needs to be a ballplayer for us. Everybody who has come in, we expect to play in some capacity. So I wouldn't credit it to that.
"We've got to do a better job up front staying out of his face. That's a pretty talented front. On a normal game plan week we probably would have done a few things different maybe, but we've got to block them better up front."
The Eagles also weren't shy about bringing pressure Thursday. They even sent a seven-man blitz at one point.
"They’re going to do what they feel like they need to do to get themselves ready and then for us, as the Buffalo Bills, we’re going to do what we feel like we need to do to get ourselves ready," McDermott said. "It was good work for us, quite honestly, when they blitzed as much as they did and when they went no-huddle offense. Those are all good things that they felt like they needed to do and it was good work for us. Good work for us, defensively, going against a no-huddle and then offensively, to go against the pressure that we saw."
McDermott laughed when asked if there was a "gentleman's agreement" between teams not to send all-out blitzes during the preseason.
"If we had it, it certainly got broken during the game," he joked. "Like I said, they obviously wanted to get some things checked off their list for development."
Perhaps former Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wanted to give his old team something to think about.
"I was messing with Schwartz after the game becasue I've got a pretty good relationship with him," Wood said. "I'm like 'You threw two zero blitzes, cover-zero blitzes, at the 'ones,' man.' He said, 'Yeah, Tyrod scrambles so well when we only bring four or five on a pressure that we just brought them all.' "
When that happened, the protection failed too often. Bills quarterbacks were sacked a total of six times.
"Those are things that, we’ve seen those looks as an offense or a defense or even special teams, and we learned some valuable lessons going against it," McDermott said.