Buffalo?s offensive line has seen its share of change this offseason. The last thing they needed was more change in the early part of the 2009 campaign. But entering their Week 4 matchup with the Dolphins in Miami, the Bills will have their third different offensive tackle tandem of the season.
Through the first two weeks the Bills had Demetrius Bell and Brad Butler as their starting tackles after releasing veteran Langston Walker right before the season opener. But in Week 2 Butler suffered a season-ending knee injury and Bell sustained a groin injury in Week 3, which will keep him out of today?s game.
Jonathan Scott, who stepped in at right tackle for Butler in Week 3, will flip over to the left side this Sunday to man Bell?s left tackle position. Veteran Kirk Chambers meanwhile will fill Scott?s right tackle spot.
The two men have 12 career starts between them, but they?ve appeared in more than 70 games combined and feel ready for Sunday?s important division matchup. Chambers stepped in for Bell last Sunday at left tackle after he left with a groin injury and Scott stayed on the right side. But they?re not concerned about swapping roles one week later.
?A lot of the difference between the left and right is in who you are facing, but with the options the (Dolphins) have it?s kind of a moot point this week,? said Chambers. ?We both have a challenge in front of us so we?ll have a lot of work to do on Sunday.?
Scott and Chambers will be assigned with neutralizing the pass rush of outside linebackers Joey Porter and Jason Taylor in Miami?s 3-4 defensive scheme. Porter typically lines up opposite the left tackle with Taylor facing the opponent?s right tackle, but the two will switch sides through the course of the game.
The two veteran defenders rank first and fourth in the league in sacks over the past 10 seasons with a combined 188 quarterback takedowns.
Taylor is a taller and leaner pass rusher with long arms helping him to keep opposing linemen from getting their hands on him.
?Your timing and technique with Taylor has to be a little different,? said Scott. ?You definitely have to study each one because they bring something different to the table. When you watch them on film as individuals you see what their tendencies are and adjust to whatever they bring.?
?He?s very savvy, and uses his inside arm very well,? said Chambers of Taylor. ?He?s good at separating from the offensive tackle and he still has speed for a guy that has been in the league as long as he has. He?s really good with his hands so it makes your job as an offensive lineman that much tougher when someone is that good and has speed off the edge as well.?
Porter is nursing a hamstring injury and has not practiced at all this week. He?s listed as questionable, but he was also questionable going into last week?s game against San Diego and started anyway giving the Dolphins 25 plays. It?s believed he may still play on passing downs.
Even if he does not play, Miami has a more than capable backup in Charlie Anderson as the Bills found out last season. Anderson had a safety in the Dolphins comeback win over Buffalo in Miami (25-16) and had a sack and two forced fumbles in Miami?s 16-3 win over the Bills in Toronto.
?He?s looking good on film,? said Chambers. ?He?s very similar to Joey Porter in terms of body size and his body movement and speed. So he?s more than capable.?
?People fail to realize that on a 53-man roster every player is capable of starting,? said Scott. ?You never want to count out the backup. If anything he?ll be playing at an even higher level than everyone else if he gets the opportunity to play.?
Scott and Chambers know with Miami?s propensity this season to surrender big plays their success in slowing down the advances of Porter, Taylor and Anderson could give the Bills offense chances to do the same.
?Our preparation throughout the offseason up until now has always been about finishing through the whistle,? said Scott. ?So even in those instances where we might be a little out of place or off technique-wise if we can still somehow give Trent that extra second to get the ball deep to Lee and T.O. and Josh and Roscoe we?ll benefit. Being that Miami plays a lot of man (coverage) there should be some chances for the big plays guys to make plays for us.?
But as is usually the case success for Buffalo?s attack will start up front.