With Wood's retirement, Groy moves front and center

January 29, 2018

With the unexpected retirement of Eric Wood, the Bills suddenly have a big hole right in the middle of their offensive starting lineup.  How should they address it this offseason?

One very viable option is Wood’s primary backup for the last two seasons, Ryan Groy.

The 27-year old came to the Bills in late 2015, joining their practice squad after brief stints with the Bears, Patriots, and Buccaneers.  That first season in Buffalo, Groy saw action in five games as a backup interior lineman.

But then just a little less than a year after signing with the Bills, Groy took over starting center duties for the team when Wood suffered a broken leg on Monday Night game in Seattle.  The Wisconsin product started the final seven games of 2016 and played well.  In fact, the Bills’ run game didn’t miss much of a beat through the last two months with Groy making the offensive line calls and blocking up front, finishing tops in the league in both rushing yards per game (164.4) and per play (5.35).  The Bills ran for at least 212 yards three times over those final seven games and actually averaged more years per carry (5.42) than they did the previous nine contests that year.

As a restricted free agent at the end of last season, Groy’s solid play earned him a 2-year, $5 million contract offer sheet from the Los Angeles Rams.  The Bills had five days to match it.  It only took them only three days to announce they would, keeping Groy in Buffalo through the 2018 season.

This past season, many observers felt Groy would be a better option at right guard than John Miller or Vlad Ducasse, but the Bills kept him as the main backup for all three interior offensive line positions.  He was also inserted a lot when the team went to their heavy sets, using an extra offensive lineman.  They even started the game that way against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October, a 30-27 Bills’ win.  

But it appears Groy’s time as a backup may be over.  Now that his teammate and close friend Wood is stepping away from the game due to a neck injury, Groy is most likely the next man up, front and center.

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