The line near the end of the old song goes, 'Still they go and shuffle, shuffle off to Buffalo.' Due to injury, the offensive line of the Buffalo Bills will be doing a reprise of their own shuffle for the fourth time in six games.
The Bills offensive line will be featuring its fourth tackle tandem of the season today when the New York Jets play host to Buffalo for a 4 pm kickoff. Left tackle Demetrius Bell will have rookie Jamon Meredith as his counterpart on the right flank.
Meredith is spelling injured starting right tackle Jonathan Scott, who has been the starter ever since Brad Butler went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 2. Scott was declared out for the game Friday due to an ankle injury that kept him off the practice field all week.
A Packers fifth-round pick this past spring, Meredith has been with the club since he was signed off the Green Bay practice squad on Sept. 22. He feels the four weeks he's spent with the Bills has given him enough time to get acclimated to the scheme and his new teammates.
"I feel real good," said Meredith. "I feel like I fit in a lot better. I'm just ready to go, ready for my chance."
Meredith will be joining a pair of other rookies on Buffalo's offensive line in right guard Eric Wood and left guard Andy Levitre. Wood and Levitre both earned starting jobs coming out of training camp after being drafted in the first and second round respectively.
While all three are talented players the trio of rookies will have their hands full in a hostile road environment against a top 10 defense in the Jets, a team that brings a myriad of different pressure packages to the table.
"A lot of teams bring pressure," said Meredith. "So I'm not worried about it. It's all good."
"We have to make sure that we're taking care of the line of scrimmage before anything else because we can't move the ball if we don't get the guys off the ball," said Levitre. "From an offensive line standpoint it's always working on getting the guys off the line of scrimmage and setting a new line of scrimmage."
Meredith will be lining up alongside Wood on the right side of Buffalo's line. The two knew each other prior to becoming teammates last month.
"Me and Wood know each other from the NFL combine and he's been helping me out and getting me adjusted to everything," said Meredith. "He's been doing that for me and I appreciate that."
Wood spent extra time with Meredith both on the practice field and in the film room to help get the new arrival up to speed.
"We've been doing little stuff after practice and even before practice," said Meredith. "We've put in the extra time. It's not like I just came in and boom they're throwing me in there. This is my fourth week and I've picked up on a lot of stuff and I've definitely had enough time with him."
Sitting in the middle of the rookie trio is Geoff Hangartner, who knows all too well that Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins will be a major focus for himself and the two guards.
A former teammate of Jenkins' for three seasons in Carolina, Hangartner has a strong working knowledge of Jenkins' game and has tried to relay any worthwhile information to his young linemates.
"We always communicate about things that we know either during the game or that we know about guys that we notice on tape," Hangartner said. "So there's always a lot of communication among all of us. We've talked about him a little bit."
"It's technique and having a good base and balance. Those are things that are going to help you out especially with a guy like him who can just throw you around if you don't have good technique," said Levitre of Jenkins. "He'll really expose your weaknesses if you don't work on those things and play well in the game."
Playing well as a group is something Buffalo's line is trying to recapture. Their performance the past three games has not been up to their standards, and part of the problem has been all the lineup changes particularly on the edges. They're hoping Bell and Meredith can have better success despite their collective inexperience.
"A lot of offensive lines are more than just five guys, so when one guy goes down there's another to take his place," said Meredith. "And this week I'm that guy. It was just a matter of time before I got my shot, and my shot is now. I'll be ready."