San Francisco 49ers guard Mike Iupati could be a top target for the Buffalo Bills on the free-agent market this offseason. (Photo: Kyle Terada — USA Today Sports)
BBD Contributor: Dustin Tingue
The Buffalo Bills finished the 2013 season second in the NFL in total rushing yards, just behind the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2014, that strength became a weakness and Buffalo plummeted to 25th in rushing, averaging just under 93 yards a game. Having a banged-up group of running backs was only half the problem, as the offensive line up front—especially the guards—also struggled for most of the season.
At left guard, Chris Williams appeared in just three games before being assigned to injured reserve with a nagging back ailment. Rookie fifth-round pick Cyril Richardson started four games, but was clearly overwhelmed and eventually replaced by Kraig Urbik. At right guard, Erik Pears graded out as one of the worst players at his position in the entire league.
New head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman will surely evaluate this offseason which offensive linemen they can work with that are currently on the roster, but even with a new coaching staff on board, Doug Whaley would be wise to try and find an experienced and reliable guard in free agency to help Buffalo re-establish its run game.