PITTFORD, NY — After a slew of injuries to kick off training camp, Buffalo Bills’ offensive line is getting healthier. Guard Rodger Saffold was activated from the non-football injury list on Sunday and was in uniform for the team’s training camp training.
Saffold entered training camp on the NFI list after injuring his ribs in a car accident.
He signed with the Bills this offseason as a free agent and is expected to be the starting left guard. Saffold was limited in his first practice back but took light reps with the first team attack and started easing his way back into the herd. Center Mitch Morse, the only entry-level offensive lineman who hadn’t missed a day of training camp, was off with a vet day.
With Morse out, projected starting right guard Ryan Bates, who has also missed time through injury, fell in the middle, fully participating in the team portion of practice for the first time since his return.
Offensive lineman David Quessenberry mainly filled in for right-wing tackle Spencer Brown, who is slowly working his way back after missing the entire offseason schedule due to back surgery. Brown took part in some light team practice and one-on-one for the first time on Sunday.
Due to the injuries, the Bills practiced with a variety of offensive line combinations throughout the camp.
“The positive side for us, is with [players missing time]“Some guys have invaluable experience,” said offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. “When I come in and play against some of the best D-linemen in the league I feel like it really pushed them and really forced guys to really step up their game and take on bigger roles. And hopefully, it’s helped our depth there, and hopefully it’s helped that league for guys to really stand up and push each other.”
Expectations are high for the Bills’ offense this season, but the streak is the biggest question mark and Saffold’s return is an important step forward in preparations.
Wide receivers Isaiah McKenzie and Khalil Shakir and Nickelback Taron Johnson did not participate in Sunday’s practice due to pain after training at Highmark Stadium on Friday. The wide receiver’s absences presented more opportunities for veteran Jamison Crowder, who competes with McKenzie on final receiver and missed a lot of time with a lower limb problem.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Crowder told ESPN. “I was just kind of preoccupied with little things in my lower extremities, but yeah, now I feel pretty good so I’m just trying to get my legs back under me and get used to moving and cutting everything again. So I am good.”