The Buffalo Bills made some moves to bolster their offensive tackle depth this offseason, bringing back veteran David Quessenberry on a new deal and adding former Miami Dolphins lineman Brandon Shell.
But the team may need to consider at least one more move after the two have struggled in training camp, an insider shares. Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com reported that both Quessenberry and Shell had a difficult time in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage on August 4, leading to concerns about their depth at offensive line.
“The Bills may have a problem on their hands when it comes to tackle depth behind Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown,” Talbot wrote. “David Quessenberry had a night to forget at Highmark Stadium being beaten cleanly by Epenesa twice for would be sacks. Brandon Shell, a free agent addition, was beaten late in practice by Boogie Basham, a defensive end fighting for a roster spot.”
Bills May Need Another Body
Talbot suggested that the Bills may need to look outside the organization to bring in more help, considering a late-summer trade for tackle depth.
“If the team were to lose either of their starting tackles in-season, it’s hard to have much faith in Quessenberry or Shell,” he wrote. “The options behind this duo are also unproven. If there was one spot for the Bills to look for a trade partner, it may be for a reserve tackle.”
Bills general manager Brandon Beane has not been shy about pulling off trades just before the start of the season, but more often ships away players who are falling out of roster spots.
The Bills may be inclined to keep Quessenberry, who was a reliable reserve last season. Though the line was struck by a spate of injuries during the last season, Quessenberry has been largely healthy and not missed a game in the last two seasons.
Shell has also gained a reputation as a reliable lineman, making 72 total starts over his career including 11 for the Dolphins last season. Shell earned a 75.9 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus last season, though his pass-blocking grade was just 51.7.
Injury Concerns on the Line
The team’s depth at tackle could be even more important this season given Brown’s history with injuries. He underwent back surgery last offseason, and throughout training camp has appeared to struggle with back pain.
As reporter Joe Marino noted on Twitter, Brown had to be helped off the field during the team’s August 3 practice and appeared unable to bend over as he suffered back pain.
“At the end of practice, Bills OT Spencer Brown left the field walking with obvious stiffness and accompanied by several trainers,” Marino wrote. “He looked extremely uncomfortable and could not bend over to pick up his helmet. He has a history of back problems.”
Brown was later seen riding a bike at the team’s training camp campus outside Rochester, and he was able to play in the intrasquad scrimmage the following day. But Brown has a history of injuries, missing six total games through his first two seasons with the team.