After an abysmal rookie year, John Miller rebounded in a big way in 2016. He was a crucial aspect of the Bills preeminent run game but experienced a rough start to 2017 that led to his benching after Buffalo's win in Atlanta over the Falcons.
His replacement has been journeyman Vladimir Ducasse, a former second-round pick who spent the past two seasons in Baltimore with current Bills offensive line coach Juan Castillo.
Let's assess how Ducasse has played as Buffalo's starting right guard over the past three games.
Week Five against Bengals
- +0.4 overall grade
- One quarterback hit, one hurry allowed
Week Seven against Buccaneers
- -2.2 overall grade
- One quarterback hit, three hurries allowed
Week Eight against Raiders
- +0.6 overall grade
- Two quarterback hits allowed
The eight quarterback pressures since Week Five (two hits, six hurries) are tied for the 13th-most allowed among 68 qualifying guards.
Ducasse's overall -1.2 grade ranks 30th out of 70 qualifiers since he moved into the starting role for the Bills.
He's surrendered those on 109 pass-blocking snaps, which equates to a 7.3 percent pressure-allowance rate. In the first four games of the season, third-year pro John Miller had only given up three quarterback pressure on 132 pass-blocking snaps (2.2 pressure-allowance rate) but was much less effective blocking for the run.
His cumulative run-blocking grade was -11.2, the lowest grade in that area among 75 qualifying guards in the first four games of the 2017 campaign.
Meanwhile, Ducasse's run-blocking grade over the past three games is +0.3, the 18th-best grade among 70 qualifiers at his position since Week Five.
In fairness to Miller, the Bills faced the Panthers and Broncos — two of the stoutest defensive fronts in football — while he was starting at right guard.
As Miller's replacement, Ducasse hasn't been spectacular. He's been leaky in pass protection at times but has been an underrated part of Buffalo's ground-game resurgence over the past two games.
(Stats and grades courtesy of Pro Football Focus)
Story topics: Vlad Ducasse