ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Facing slim playoff odds heading into the final seven games of the regular season with a 4-5 record, Bills head coach Rex Ryan opened up several positions on both sides of the ball for competition, in an effort to generate wins.
One such area that’s up for grabs is right tackle, where Jordan Mills’ recent struggles at the position have allowed for Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio to earn first-team reps throughout the week of practice.
On Wednesday, Ryan wouldn’t declare anyone a front runner in any of their position battles, however one day later offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn offered some insight into the right tackle spot.
“It’s been a good competition all week,” Lynn said. “Jordan Mills, he’s one of the most professional guys along that offensive line, so he’s getting it done. But we just feel like we want to look at some other people at that position. Kouandjio is also in the mix. And we’ll see in the game who plays better.”
When asked to confirm if the entire trio of Mills, Henderson and Kouandjio will get some playing time this weekend in Cincinnati, Lynn declared that it was a “very fair” assumption.
Henderson entered the 2015 season as the Bills starting right tackle then lost the job to Mills in Week 7 and was later diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It’s been a very difficult road back from multiple surgeries, which left the 24-year-old underweight, and a four-game suspension earlier this season. He’s worked his way back into the conversation and has apparently impressed at practice this week.
“Yeah, I feel like I’m real close,” Henderson said on Wednesday. “My last two or three weeks of practice, I’ve been progressing as far as my craft and my technique. It’s all of the little small things that a tackle has to do. Feet, hands, being aggressive and fast, and things like that. I’ve just been coming along with everything and I feel good with where I’m at right now.”
Henderson has yet to appear in a game this year.
Since nabbing the starting job last season, Mills has been able to retain it to this point, however has clearly lost his grip on it on the position due to some poor play in recent weeks. He’s started 19 consecutive games for Buffalo.
As for Kouandjio – who became a U.S. citizen on Thursday, he’s dealt with an ankle injury throughout much of this season and is finally looking healthy enough to compete for the spot as well. He’s seen minimal action in six games in 2016.
With all three expected to play on Sunday in some type of rotation, the Bills are surely hoping one is able to stand out and secure the starting role full-time, moving forward.
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