Camp Countdown, presented by Connors & Ferris, will examine some of the more pressing questions facing the team on the field, and players who could make a difference as the team makes its final preparations for the 2020 regular season. We also focus on a few different areas that impact the team off the field. We'll examine these issues one at a time until training camp begins. Here now is the latest daily installment as we carefully seek some of the answers the Buffalo Bills have to come up with between the start of camp and the opener on Sept. 13th.
Second round offensive lineman from the 2019 NFL Draft Cody Ford is ready to take the next step in his career this season. The rookie's job in his first season was far from easy as he rotated at right tackle with Ty Nseke. Entering his second year, Ford is primed to take a growth step due to his experience from 2019.
One of the biggest learning curves for any NFL player, regardless of position, is stepping into the first year of professional football and trying to understand it all. From learning the offense, to gelling with the offensive line — it's not something that can be digested overnight. Ford played guard for two years and tackle for one during his collegiate career at Oklahoma. After starting in 15 games and playing in 16 during his rookie year, Ford now has a much better IQ for the game entering the 2020 season.
From pass blocking to run blocking, Ford has a sharpened level of insight into the Bills offense this year. Both general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have liked Ford's progress in his first season and are encouraged by his potential going forward. Many young players think the game slows down after their first season, this could be another reason why Ford takes a step forward in year two.
Not only will an increase in knowledge help Ford in his second season, but a wealth of experience from 16 games will aid him as well. Only so much can be taught until you actually go out onto the field and experience what you've learned. The offensive lineman had an uptick in snaps once offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe suffered an ankle injury and was out for five straight weeks. Nsekhe and Ford rotated at right tackle in several games. Ford did have surgery this offseason, but will be ready to go by training camp. McDermott likes the way he attacked his rookie year, especially dealing with an injury in his first offseason.
"Really what you try look at the first season is some of the intangibles with respect to what type of person he is, the toughness he brings to the table and the smarts," McDermott said. "We continue with that evaluation this offseason by the way he's handled his rehab through the course of the offseason has been outstanding. So, which is not, I should add, not been easy to do, especially since these guys are not able, some of them, to be in our building or there was a time where our building was shut down for those as well. So it's been a challenge, but I appreciate the way he's attacked it from the from the day he walked in the door."
One important thing Ford has also grown in experience and comfortability with is offensive line coach Bobby Johnson. Ford now has a year under his belt when it comes to understanding how Johnson coaches the position and what is expected from a player.
An offensive line thrives off chemistry, five players working together as one. In just a season, Ford has built great chemistry with his offensive line and quarterback Josh Allen. When Ford played tackle, he got comfortable taking snaps next to guard Jon Feliciano. When he shifted inside to right guard, Ford got used to taking snaps next to center Mitch Morse.
The entire offensive line is back for 2020—Dion Dawkins, Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano and Cody Ford. Staying intact for a second year together will not only help a young offensive lineman in Ford, it will also help their QB. The chemistry Ford has created with his teammates will allow him to think less when he's on the field and instead act because he knows the responsibilities of Feliciano and Morse in certain situations.