Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Buffalo's O-line needs some duct tape
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills can only draw a deep breath and trudge forward.
Injuries continue to pile up like lake-effect snow, but they still need to field a team Sunday.
The biggest concern is their offensive line. A knee injury will sideline center Geoff Hangartner against the Cleveland Browns in Ralph Wilson Stadium and force the Bills to juggle positions and play more backups.
Kraig Urbik, Hangartner's replacement in Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings, went on injured reserve with a knee injury. Left tackle Demetrius Bell missed Wednesday's practice with a knee injury.
"You're putting your head in the sand if you sit there and say 'It doesn't matter. They'll just pick up where everybody left off,'" Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "You have to think 'How much communication can go on? What can they handle? What can't they handle?' And you have to adjust from there.
"But you can't be so simple that you walk out there and you diminish what you can do with the other people on your team. So there's a balance that you try to reach between all of that."
Eric Wood, one of the nation's top collegiate centers in the 2009 draft before the Bills converted him to right guard, will handle the snaps. A couple of rookie tackles who've gotten reps at guard, Cordaro Howard and Ed Wang, will handle Wood's usual spot.
The interior changes likely will impact the run game more than pass protection. The Bills rank 17th in rushing yards per game. The Browns rank 20th in run defense, but 12th in yards per carry allowed.
The Browns rank 17th in sacks with 24. Outside linebacker Marcus Benard leads them with 6.5 sacks.