The Bills began camp with maybe the most expansive offensive line position battle in NFL history.
There are, potentially, eight different players who could land one of four starting spots. Only Mitch Morse at center is a lock.
However, the amount of rotation among the starting five has been light through three days of camp.
Rookie Cody Ford has been the number one at right tackle while Dion Dawkins has manned the left side. Quinton Spain has taken almost all the number one reps at left guard.
Saturday was the first day of practice with full pads for the Bills. It takes the competition at offensive line up a significant notch.
“The competition started in OTA’s, but with the pads on, it shows true colors,” Dawkins said. “This is real ball.”
“This is the real thing now. Now, we’re playing football,” Ty Nsekhe said. “Helmets and shorts is cool. It’s good to get a camaraderie and the basis of the plays, but now it’s the real deal.”
There may be no position group which requires more on the field, before the snap communication than the offensive line. The more experience a group has together, the better the communication usually is.
With so many positions up for grabs and so many candidates to win them, the Bills likely won’t have the luxury of working with the starting group for very long before the season starts.
That means each guy can only work on handling their own business when it comes to communication.
“Doesn’t matter who’s next to you. Biggest thing is if you give the same call over and over again. A consistent call,” Wyatt Teller said. “Whatever’s going on, you communicate. That’s the biggest thing.”
“You have to be fully accountable to your teammates. You have to play for the guy next to you and not for yourself,” Dawkins said. “Once that person that’s next to you feels that love, then it’s forever eternal.”
Even if the four guys around him are constantly changing, Morse in the middle is very helpful. The center is usually the leader of the offensive line and the man in charge of communication during gamedays.
Morse handles both roles just fine.
“He’s a really smart guy. He’s always got a good call,” Teller said. “He’s always talking. If you’re down, if you have a bad play, he always brings you back up. It’s nice to have him there.”
Now, all the Bills have to do is figure out which four guys would be nice to put around Morse.