Buffalo’s new-look offensive line braces for Rams

Protecting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick could be an issue on

Sunday when the Buffalo Bills (5-7) host St. Louis’ strong pass

rush.

Buffalo’s offensive line is in patchwork mode after injuries to

center Eric Wood and tackle Chris Hairston. In fact, two players –

Sam Young and David Snow – will make their first NFL career starts

vs. the Rams (5-6-1).

”It’s insane how many guys we lose every year,” said Kraig

Urbik, who will start at center or right guard. ”It’s not like

guys are just wearing down. These are actual, physical

injuries.”

The Rams have the NFL’s fourth-best sack total (34) and those

numbers might spike up Sunday. St. Louis is paced by former

first-round picks Robert Quinn and Chris Long, who have registered

8 1/2 and seven sacks, respectively.

”They bring a lot of pressure,” said Snow, a 6-foot-4,

303-pound rookie out of Texas who can play center and guard. ”It’s

evident that they’re a very good defense. It’ll be fun to play

them.”

Snow, 23, saw his first NFL action against Jacksonville last

week. Young, 25, is a 6-foot-8, 316-pound tackle in his third

season out of Notre Dame who will line up vs. Long.

”It’s a great chance to compete against a great defensive

end,” Young said. ”He’s had a lot of production this year and

it’s a good opportunity for me to test where I’m at.”

The new crew has a lot to live up to. The Bills have allowed the

sixth-fewest sacks (20) in the NFL despite using five different

starters at right guard or right tackle.

Whatever the combination on Sunday, the Rams are just going to

have to wait to figure it out. Buffalo coach Chan Gailey is keeping

his alignment close to the vest, and likes it that way. Urbik or

Snow, after all, could play center or guard, or both.

”This might be overall as athletic of a defensive front as we

have played all season,” Gailey said. ”You look at all the guys

they rotate through there. They are playing extremely well right

now and it will be a challenge for (Young) and David (Snow).

The Bills practiced indoors Friday after spending Thursday

outdoors. Gailey said receiver Donald Jones will return to the

lineup and that Stevie Johnson (questionable) has improved. How

Johnson feels on Saturday, though, will be a key to Gailey’s

ultimate decision.

Gailey listed cornerback Aaron Williams as questionable.

”It’ll be close,” he said.

Leodis McKelvin is also questionable, as is Spencer Johnson,

Chris White and Justin Rogers. Defensive end Mark Anderson, like

Wood, is out.

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