Each week, Bills writer Jay Skurski answers questions from readers in his Bills Mailbag. You can submit questions via firstname.lastname@example.org or @JaySkurski on Twitter.
Here are two additional questions from last week. (You can read the full Mailbag by following the link below.)
David asks: Can the change in O-Line scheme actually improve the O-Line play even with the losses of Wood and Incognito? Groy has always been solid and Miller was a monster in that system.
Stu asks: The WR corps looks underwhelming so the offense will have to run through Shady. Who's going to block for him?
Jay: Let’s pair these questions together, starting with David. The Bills are expected to go to more of a “power” blocking scheme rather than the “zone” scheme that was favored by former offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. That should help. The Bills led the NFL in total rushing yardage and yards per rush in both 2015 and 2016 playing that scheme.
As for the changes, Dion Dawkins becomes the permanent left tackle after the trade of Cordy Glenn. The Bills obviously felt like Glenn was expendable, and Dawkins gave plenty of reason to believe he’s ready for the job as a rookie last year. At left guard, replacing Richie Incognito became an unexpected hole the Bills have to fill. I like Groy a lot as a player, but he’ll be stepping in for a three-time Pro Bowler. At center, Wood’s retirement because of a neck injury is another tough spot for the Bills to be in. Given the contract extension they signed him to last August, the team clearly had him in the plans for 2018. Russell Bodine was signed as a free agent from Cincinnati, but to put it kindly, the Bengals weren’t upset to see him go. Until proven otherwise, the Bills took a step back at left guard and center. The right side of the line should remain unchanged with guard Vlad Ducasse and tackle Jordan Mills.
I think that line can play at a reasonable level. I wouldn’t go so far as to agree with David that Miller was a “monster” his first two years in the league, but he does have plenty of starting experience and is entering a contract year. It’s time for him to step up if he wants to once again be a starter.