2021 Buffalo Bills Training Camp Injury Preview- Tackle/Offensive Line

This is the 2021 Training Camp Preview for the Buffalo Bills Tackle/Offensive Line room. This will outline every known injury from 2020 and outlook heading into 2021.

Note: These are all the players on the current roster either designated a tackle or offensive lineman.

Returning:

Dion Dawkins

Appeared in 16 games, 3 postseason games.

One of the cornerstones of the McDermott era, Dawkins has played in every game since entering the league in 2017. His health has also been remarkable, suffering very few publicly reported injuries. 

The only notable injury that he suffered this season was a right shoulder contusion as the result of tripping over a defensive player in Week 3 against the Rams. He missed several plays and was able to quickly return without a drop off in play. Dawkins continues to be one of the healthiest players on the Bills and there are no concerns moving forward.

Ryan Bates

Appeared in 16 games, 3 postseason games.

Bates suffered no publicly reported injuries nor was observed to be limited in any way during each game he played last season. Most of his playing time was on special teams, but he did get spot playing time on offense as well. No concerns moving forward with Bates as he further develops his skills.

Jordan Devey

Appeared in 1 game.

Devey only played in 2 snaps all season, Week 7 against the Jets. He had no publicly reported injuries and spent most of his time on the practice squad. He may be a long shot to make the roster, but he has shown the ability to stick around as a depth option and perform when called upon.

Cody Ford

Appeared in 7 games.

Ford has not been able to stay healthy since entering the league in 2019. Despite appearing in all 16 games in 2019, he dealt with a bevy of injuries that you can read about in the link above.

The 2020 season was even worse with injuries including:

  • Left shoulder injury that required bracing, Week 3, missed 0 games.
  • Groin strain, Week 4, missed 0 games.
  • Right knee injury, possible MCL sprain, Week 6, missed 2 games.
  • Right ankle injury, Week 9, missed 1 game.
  • Right torn meniscus, prior to Week 12 during practice, requiring surgery, went to IR.

While bad luck can certainly happen in the trenches as detailed in this article from Sports Illustrated, poor technique or positioning can lead to some of these injuries as well. The specifics of the shoulder injury aren’t known, but the right knee and ankle injuries were the result of getting rolled up on and tripped, respectively.

There aren’t details regarding how he injured the meniscus in practice. The Week 6 injury could have been where he originally injured it and it worsened during practice or it could have been an isolated event. Ford will be fully cleared from his meniscus repair by the time training camp comes around and I have little concern that he will suffer further issues because of that. But the toll of multiple injuries on the body and how it affects other joints is clearly a concern moving forward. 

I hope he is working on spatial awareness on the line, knowing what is going on around him during the play. I anticipate he has been working on picking up his feet to avoid the roll ups or getting caught by flying bodies. He entered the league as a guard, I believe he will stay in the guard position this coming season despite being listed as OL, but he needs consistency at one position if he intends to stay healthy. This year will be a big one for him if he can avoid injury. 

He will be afforded every opportunity to play as he is a high draft pick of this regime. I have many concerns regarding his body’s ability to withstand the carnage that is playing in the trenches. The Bills better have a strong contingency plan in place in the event that Ford goes down with yet another injury.

Daryl Williams

Appeared in 16 games, 3 postseason games.

After questions of whether Williams could stay healthy and productive following a serious knee injury in Carolina, he has proven just that. The only injuries that he suffered were a left leg contusion against the Seahawks and a groin strain against the Broncos, missing the remainder of the latter.

He has had his share of knee and leg injuries over the years which do come with the position, but he has shown to be durable other than his knee injury in 2018. There is some concern of him getting injured not necessarily due to his risks, but more the loss of consistency seen at both of the tackle positions. The development of Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle will be important to watch as Williams gets older.

New to the roster:

Spencer Brown

Brown, one of the gigantic tackles taken by the Bills in this year’s draft, does bring several notable injuries from high school and college with him, but none since 2017. He has a lot to learn to get up to speed especially after missing last year due to opting out, but outside of unfortunate luck, there is little concern for Brown’s injury risk this year. 

Tommy Doyle

The other tackle taken in the draft, Doyle also comes to the Bills with few injury concerns. He has dealt with his share of injuries including shoulder and foot ailments that have cost him parts of seasons, but no major concerns since 2017. I also don’t have concerns about Doyle heading into this season other than watching his development and getting playing time when available.

Jamil Douglas

Mostly a camp body or depth option for the Bills, Douglas appears to have few injury concerns as he’s bounced around the league the last several years. He could be an intriguing option if injury occurs, but I’m not certain the Bills want him playing for extended periods of time. I’ll be surprised if he makes the roster; a more likely home would be the practice squad.

Bobby Hart

While Hart has shown the ability to be healthy which has likely kept him employed, his chances to make the team will hinge on his play. He has no injury concerns, having shown some stability in playing 3 seasons each with the Giants and Bengals. I hope to only see Hart play in the preseason or if he makes the roster, in emergency situations. 

Not returning:

Ty Nsekhe

Appeared in 15 games, 3 postseason games.

Suffering only a groin strain in Week 15 for which he did not miss any games, Nsekhe began to show his age this season, barely playing in any offensive snaps with the exception of 41 percent in Week 14. 

Due to the emergence of Daryl Williams and Nsekhe’s age, he was deemed expendable and has since signed with the Cowboys in the offseason.  

Trey Adams

Spent season on the practice squad.

Normally, I only list players who appeared in a game, he did get called up in Week 17, but he did not play. However, Adams was rated as a former first-round prospect before injuries in college dropped his draft stock. He was a highly sought-after UDFA following the draft and it appeared as though he could be a developmental project. 

However, Adams decided to retire after one season for unknown reasons. Whether he decided pro football wasn’t worth it or had other plans for his life, the option to play is still there if he changes his mind.

2021 Injury Expectations:

Outside of Cody Ford, the outlook is actually fairly good. There is established, dependable talent at each starting tackle position and overall healthy depth on the offensive line with a mix of youth and veterans. Cody Ford is the only red flag of this group and while the team is not ready to write him off, he must improve his game to avoid injury. He has had some bad luck, but he will need to work with offensive line coach Bobby Johnson to take his game to the next level in order to excel at whatever position he plays but be healthy to maintain consistency for the offense.

Published by Dr. Trimble

My name is Dr. Kyle Trimble and I am, first and foremost, a Buffalo Bills fan!! When I am not cheering on the Buffalo Bills, I am a Physical Therapist. To give a background on myself; I was born and raised in Erie, PA, moved to Buffalo in 2006 to begin my studies at D'Youville College towards becoming a Physical Therapist at which time I became a devoted Buffalo Bills fan.  I graduated in 2013 with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy and moved home for several years. Moving back to the Buffalo area in 2016, I have gained extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. Having obtained a significant wealth of knowledge that continues to grow, along with a undying fandom of the Bills, puts me in the unique position to educate my fellow fans about our great team. 
I am currently an injury spotter working with Dr. David Chao, Orthopedic Surgeon @ProFootballDoc based out of San Diego. In this role, I provide real time updates regarding injuries during the game. I hope you enjoy what I publish and I welcome any comments or questions you may have.
Disclaimer: My opinions are my own.  Any thoughts I have on the injuries is based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available.


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