While there was sloppiness across the board, the weakest performances during the Buffalo Bills loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 stemmed from the team’s offensive line.
Head coach Sean McDermott called the numerous penalties caused by their offensive line “unacceptable” during his postgame conference, and on Tuesday, made it clear he’s not afraid to replace underachieving lineman.
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On Tuesday, the Bills added protections to two of their practice team guards, Jack Anderson and Jamil Douglas, as stated in the NFL’s daily transaction report.
Putting protections on Anderson, who was drafted out of Texas Tech in the 7th round of the 2021 NFL draft, and Douglas, a six-year NFL veteran who has started 46 games with various teams, means these players can’t be signed away by other teams until after Week 2’s game.
Protections are not permanent. No players are protected on Monday or on Tuesday before the deadline, so practice squad players still have opportunities to sign elsewhere, even with the protected spots. Each team can pick four players to protect each week, but the Bills only picked three: in addition to Anderson and Douglas, they protected defensive back, Cameron Lewis.
Anderson, 22, who’s 6-foot-4 and 309 pounds, made it clear he’s ready to step in whenever the team needs him. “It’s definitely something I pride myself on, being competitive and going out there and preparing myself like I’m the starter,” Anderson said during rookie minicamp. “That’s something I’m excited about, the opportunity of just going out there and earning my spot.” The Texas Tech alum was also encouraged by offensive line coach Bobby Johnson to get comfortable in multiple positions.
“That’s something that he really stresses; we only travel X amount of people, and you’ve got to be able to play all three inside,” Anderson continued. “So that’s something I’m really focusing on, getting comfortable at center and at left guard. I feel real good at right guard,” the latter of which was his starting position in college.
As for Douglas, a fourth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins during the 2015 NFL Draft, he’s spent the past three seasons with the Tennessee Titans. Like Anderson, the 29-year-old guard can also bring some versatility to the Bills’ offensive line, as he can play center, per USA Today.
Bills O-Line Allowed 24 Pressures Vs. the Steelers
McDermott again addressed the team’s o-line problems on Monday. “We didn’t win enough of our 1-on-1 matchups [on the offensive line],” said McDermott, as reported by Buffalo Rumblings. “We won some, but not enough. We also have to do a better job helping them when we go against a talented front like that with our plan.
“That’s where you’re beating yourself. We were beating ourselves with holding penalties. We had eight, I think eight penalties, and a lot of those were holds, offensively. We can do a better job.”
Dion Dawkins, the team’s starting left tackles, was called for holding three times, while Jon Feliciano, Daryl Williams, and Mitch Morse, each of whom earned their own holding penalties.
Morse said following Sunday’s 23-16 loss, “The unfortunate thing is that most of the holding calls came with chuck plays. So not only did we go backwards, but this game is a game of momentum, and for the most part, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot today.”
Safety Micah Hyde knows winning will be impossible if they keep making so many mistakes. “If we want to take the next step, we can’t let that stuff happen,” he said, as tweeted by The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia.
The Bills Take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 2
The Bills are working hard to turn things around before they travel to Miami take on the Dolphins (1-0) in Week 2. The Bills have been 7-1 against Miami since McDermott took over as head coach in 2017.
Buffalo (0-1) faces off against their AFC East rival at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on September 19 at 1 p.m. ET.