Thursday night’s game will likely come down to how dominant Buffalo’s defensive line can be against Miami’s reshuffled offensive line, provided things like turnovers don’t overshadow it. The players on Miami’s offensive line facing the most difficult assignments are C Samson Satele, who will match up with one of the most dominant defensive tackles in football right now in Marcell Dareus. Facing an even more imposing task is new starting right tackle Dallas Thomas, who draws Mario Williams as an assignment.
Thomas is making his first NFL start at offensive tackle Thursday night and he’ll be doing it against a pass rusher with at least a half sack in each of his last six games. His head coach Joe Philbin doesn’t have many other choices, and has thrown his full support behind Thomas heading into the game. He’s encouraged by the fact that Thomas played some offensive tackle in junior college.
“One of the things we liked about him, I remember watching the tape when he came out was that he had some versatility,” said Philbin. “I remember watching his junior year film, I believe he was the left tackle his junior year of college. I watched a good bit of that. I liked the way he moved. I liked his skill set out there. Last year, he got some work at both positions.
“Obviously, he’s very limited in game activity. He had some in the preseason. Here this year he’s played most of his snaps at guard. I think he’s coming along and doing well. I thought he hung there and competed well the other day. You figure, hey, you are playing left guard, then the next play you are playing right tackle and you’re on the road against a pretty good defense and some pretty good players. I thought he held his own.”
When asked specifically about the challenge Thomas faces in Mario Williams, Philbin didn’t deny it’s a tall task.
“I think when you play offensive tackle in the National Football League, it seems like every team you play has outstanding players on the edge,” he said. “It’s no different with the Buffalo Bills. They certainly do have that. Mario Williams is one of those guys. He’ll be ready, but it’s going to be a challenge. He’s an excellent player.”
As for Satele’s assignment of Dareus in the middle, Philbin knows that will be a matchup that requires some double team assistance.
“I think he has 10 sacks. For a defensive tackle, that’s awfully high,” said Philbin of Dareus. “That’s a lot of production. He plays the run well. He’s a good football player overall. He’s hard to move because he has size and strength. He’s a good player. We are going to have to keep our eyes open, protect our gaps and not letting him penetrate into the backfield. It’ll be a full-time job blocking him.”
Tags: Bills-Dolphins, Dallas Thomas, Mario Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills