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Bills O-line signals SOS

By Tim Graham

PHOENIX -- A couple weeks ago, the Buffalo Bills' offensive line seemed to be emerging as the soul of the team. The unit set an aggressive tone. It was devastating in the run game and wasn't letting defenders get a paw on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Now somebody needs to save their soul.

"We had a great thing going," Bills coach Chan Gailey said Monday at the team's hotel in Phoenix. The Bills will work out at Arizona State's facilities this week in preparation for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

"The ability that we had as an offense, to be able to adjust because of their experience and because of the time they've spent with each other on the offensive line, that's gone now."

Two O-line starters and two backups are injured, and a third-stringer who was pressed into duty Sunday in San Francisco might start at a position for the first time in his career.

"I hate to use a drastic word, but we're depleted there," Gailey said. "That was one of the strengths, we felt like, going into the season. ... We'll have to mix and match and do the best we can."

Already out are starting left tackle Cordy Glenn and starting right guard Kraig Urbik with ankle injuries and backup center/guard Colin Brown with a hamstring injury.

Urbik's replacement, Chad Rinehart, missed practice last week with a calf injury. He struggled through pregame warmups and was pulled from the starting lineup right before Sunday's loss to the 49ers and replaced by Brown, who lasted a quarter.

Rinehart entered the game in the second quarter but eventually had to come out. Sam Young, listed as the third-string right tackle on the depth chart, finished the game at right guard.

"It's been pretty nuts so far," Bills center Eric Wood said. "We've had some injuries in the past, but they haven't come in waves like this. My rookie year, we were in bad shape. But I still don't think it was as bad as this.

"We got a pretty deep room, and I don't think we played terrible with backups playing and backups of backups. I felt like we still executed at times. It's the next-man-up philosophy."

When asked if the Bills would need to sign O-line help for the Cardinals game, Gailey replied "Let's wait and see until the end of the week."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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