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O-line plugging holes

Posted Oct 10, 2012


Entering Week 4 Buffalo had an emerging offensive line as they were clearing the way for back C.J. Spiller, who led the league in rushing and had not allowed a sack of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Less than three weeks later they’ve lost three linemen to long term injuries, with a key reserve very iffy for Sunday in Chad Rinehart. It’s prompted a lot of shuffling up front and won’t make the task any easier Sunday against an Arizona defense ranked fifth in the league in points allowed.

“We’re banged up,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “That’s something that I don’t want to say we have to overcome, but guys have to step in. The good thing is the guys that are still healthy and in there, they’ve played together for a while, so if we have to plug one guy or two guys in there that haven’t played as much, they’re in there with guys that know what they’re doing. I think there are a lot of unknowns there right now. That’s just something we’ll have to deal with.”

Buffalo tried to improve their current situation signing veteran G/OT Reggie Wells, while placing G/C Colin Brown on injured reserve. That makes Buffalo one lineman healthier, but with Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik out for this Sunday’s game and Rinehart questionable at best Chan Gailey isn’t happy about not having all his horses.

“I hate to use a drastic word, but we’re depleted there for sure,” Gailey said. “That was one of the strengths we felt like going into the season. Right now we have three guys that are out and we’ll see about Rinehart that’ll be the fourth guy out. So we’ll have to mix and match and do the best we can there.”

In the last two games center Eric Wood has played with four different right guards alongside him in Urbik, Rinehart, Brown and Sam Young, who stepped in during the latter stages of last Sunday’s game.

“It’s been pretty nuts so far,” said Wood. “We’ve had some injuries in the past, but they haven’t come in waves like this. My rookie year we got in some bad shape, but I still don’t think it was as bad as this. We’ve got a pretty deep group and I don’t think we played terrible Sunday with backups playing for backups. I think we executed at times so it’s kind of the next man up philosophy.”

“We had a great thing going,” said Gailey. “I think I talked about the ability that we had as an offense to be able to adjust because of their experience and because of what the time they spent with each other on the offensive line. That’s kind of gone right now. You’ve got to adjust differently.”