Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Jauron admits 'worry' over O-line with 56 starts
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills coach Dick Jauron wasn't going to lie.
"There's a lot of worry," Jauron said.
He was speaking Wednesday afternoon about the fact three-fifths of his starting offensive line will have a combined zero NFL snaps among them when they meet the New England Patriots on "Monday Night Football."
The Bills on Tuesday released left tackle Langston Walker, their most experienced offensive lineman.
They're replacing him with Demetrius Bell, a seventh-round draft pick last year who didn't see any action. A pair of rookies will start at guard: Andy Levitre next to Bell and Eric Wood on the right.
Injury-prone Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards will have trivial NFL experience protecting his blindside against one of the league's best defensive coaches.
All 56 games of NFL experience on Buffalo's line belongs to center Geoff Hangartner (27 starts) and right tackle Brad Butler (29 starts).
The Patriots' starting O-line has a combined 372 NFL starts. All but right tackle Nick Kaczur has more individual starts than the Bills' entire line. Kaczur has 49. The New York Jets' front five has 480 starts among them. The Miami Dolphins have 188.
Fifty-six starts would be the fewest on an O-line since the 2002 New York Giants opened the season with 54, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It should be pointed out, though, the Giants gave up only 24 sacks that year. Only four teams allowed fewer.
"Yeah, you worry about it, but I've said often, I really like the guys," Jauron said. "I think we've come a long way. We'll find out on Monday night how far we've come. It’s not going to be easy. There's no doubt about that. So there's a lot of worry."
Walker's dismissal was the latest dramatic revision for the Bills' offense. The club fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert on Friday, replacing him with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt.
Edwards sounded intrepid when asked how concerned he was about the last-ditch developments that could impact his physical well-being.
"On paper, I think you're asking them a lot," Edwards said. "From an outsider's perspective, from where you guys are standing right now, I think it's asking a lot.
"But from my perspective, I don't think it's asking a lot at all. Those guys were drafted. They're bright-eyed rookies that are ready to fight."