The importance of David Quessenberry in the offensive line of the Buffalo Bills becomes clearer three weeks before the start of the regular season.
The 31-year-old veteran, who started all 18 games for the Tennessee Titans last season, seems to have a good idea of the No. 3 tackle position.
Quessenberry started at right tackle the first two and a half weeks of training camp, while Spencer Brown returned from surgery in the offseason.
Now, sophomore tackle Tommy Doyle is out with a foot injury that required him to wear a protective boot. Doyle, a 2021 fifth-round pick, entered camp as a challenger for the third tackle spot and a likely lock for the fourth tackle spot. Quessenberry has the advantage as a swing tackle.
Quessenberry is happy to play a leading role.
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“It’s great, I’m very proud of what I’m doing,” he said. “I’m going to be ready to play any role the team needs. We’re just ready because it’s a long season. Things happen. It won’t just be me. There will be other guys who will have to step in and play different kinds of roles. I am happy to be at peace in the bigger picture.
The Bills like to have veteran insurance on the offensive line. General manager Brandon Beane signed experienced replacements each year after the first wave of free agency each spring. There’s a long list over the past five years: Quinton Spain, Vlad Ducasse, Jon Feliciano, Ty Nsekhe, Brian Winters, Russell Bodine, Spencer Long, Greg Mancz, Greg Van Roten and others.
If things go wrong and there’s a slew of injuries at stake, the Bills like to have veteran options who know how to play the game and aren’t going to miss assignments if they’re called on duty.
Quessenberry was signed a month in free agency and a week before the NFL Draft. He fit the profile of the Bills.
He started all of last season at right tackle for a Tennessee team that went 13-4 and earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC. He has versatility. He started six times for the Titans at left tackle in 2020.
He is considered a better run blocker than a pass protector. Quessenberry had the highest run blocking rating on the Titans offensive line last year, according to Pro Football Focus. But PFF scored it for allowing a team-high 11 sacks.
The Titans were ready to leave Quessenberry because they invested a second-round pick in Dillon Radunz last year and are counting on him to lock down the right tackle.
Safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, defensive linemen Tim Settle and Kinglsey Jonathan and offensive linemen Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle did not practice.
The Bills gave Quessenberry a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
Quessenberry, a week shy of his 32nd birthday, knows the importance of versatility for backup linemen and emphasizes it to young players.
“You really have to be a starter and be the guy in that position, or you have to be able to do anything,” he said. “I think I’m always here to adapt everywhere. And when guys come up to me and ask me how I’m doing, ‘Hey, you must be proud of the offensive line as your art. You need to understand that, hey, if you’re not a beginner yet, understand the angles. How the angles can be different at guard and the angles are going to be different at tackle. How your hands and the timing of things might happen quicker at guard, or there’s going to be a little more patience at the tackle. There is an art that you really need to study and be proud of if you don’t want to be a beginner and are more of a swinging guy. ”
Quessenberry also established a reputation in Tennessee as a highly valued team player and locker room player. He is an inspiring story, having missed three NFL seasons – 2014 to 2016 – while battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“Nothing seems to faze him,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “I think that says a lot about who he is. And again, I think you learn a lot through life’s challenges and I’m just happy to have him with us.
“I couldn’t play for those three years and then coming back was a mountain to climb,” Quessenberry said. “Now that we’re here, I would probably say it’s the gratitude I have for every day going into it, being grateful to be able to go out there and work on my craft and play this game that I love. , keep learning and keep living that football life.
Brown, one of the roster’s promising young players due to his raw talent, returned to the starting lineup at right tackle last week. Brown missed Wednesday’s practice in “pain.” This put Quessenberry back with the first unit.
Quessenberry is adapting to a different style of attack this year. Tennessee is against the grain with Derrick Henry. The Bills offense is led by quarterback with Josh Allen.
“Give the ball to Derrick Henry, that’s the main thing,” Quessenberry said of the Titans. “Here, there are so many layers and so many different dimensions. We have a fantastic running room, one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The reception room is stacked. Tight ends are fantastic. It’s very dynamic. So it’s very different. But it’s the same goal. Putting that ball in the end zone every time we enter the field.