Addressing needs before the draft?
The Buffalo Bills added to their offensive line rotation, signing former Tennessee Titans lineman, David Quessenberry. Quessenberry comes with experience all over the line, making him a viable depth candidate. Will he be looked at as merely depth though? Quessenberry started all 17 games for the Titans last season at right tackle. We’ll focus on his work there, but in the back of our mind let’s remember he might be competing for the “not-Spencer Brown” spot.
Let’s start off with the area the Bills seemed to be emphasizing to close last season, with some blocking on the move. There are a few things here that I really like, especially considering this is against Ed Oliver. Quessenberry gets in a couple shoves. The first is effective enough to direct Oliver away from the line of scrimmage. Quessenberry pursues and makes that gap between Oliver and the line even larger. I like how Quessenberry shadows Oliver well enough to prevent a cut back/around.
The internet is telling me Quessenberry’s major strengths are in run blocking. I don’t disagree with that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because of his strength. The phrase of the last few years is “not a mauler” for the Bills’ line. Quessenberry isn’t quite what I’d call that (think Richie Incognito), but he is closer than what we’ve been accustomed too in a Bills uniform.
I did say I agreed his strength lies in the run game, and to my eyes the biggest gap in his pass protection is that he can be beat to his sides by faster or more finesse-oriented opponents. And who better to show that off than Jerry Hughes. This doesn’t look like much, but Hughes is a half step quicker to the outside than Quessenberry due to some minor inefficiencies with his feet. That allows Hughes to get a hand up on Quessenberry’s outside shoulder, rather than taking the block square. The rotation this starts to create is pretty clear in the clip and quite undesirable for an offensive tackle. Ryan Tannehill gets the pass off, but hits the turf.
If I could make this nothing but clips of Tannehill hitting the turf, I’d do it. So here’s another one. This time he’s beat inside. Quessenberry’s hands are swiped to his right, making it impossible to establish contact. That and similar foot issues to what we see above mean he can’t catch up after his hands are beaten.
To be clear, those are flaws that hurt his pass-protection game but I’m not suggesting he’s terrible. It’s pretty common to see a double team, and just as common for one player to find a second defender to occupy. What I like in this clip is that Quessenberry immediately puts himself in a position to look to see if he’s needed for that second block. It’s not just his head either. His body rotates. He’s not sacrificing the original block, and he’s putting himself in a position to react well to the second.
Here’s a nice encapsulation of Quessenberry in pass protection. He’s squared up for the first block and is quite successful. He’s also more likely to try and bump/shove than latch on, which this clip shows. He resets the stance well, but the second defender isn’t coming head on. As a result we see some of the same issues that creeped in versus Hughes.
I usually like to end on a high note. So how exactly does this one qualify? First off, he passes the initial block to his teammate pretty effortlessly. Second, while I don’t know if I’d say he’s as fast as Mitch Morse is when pulling, he’s moving at a good pace and takes a good angle to cut off his second-level opponent.
For an out-of-the-blue signing like this one, David Quessenberry is pretty exciting. At worst he represents solid depth at a number of positions. His biggest flaw in my opinion is that tendency to get beat to the sides. Using my weakest link analogy for team building, even if you assume he was the weakest for the Titans, they had a heck of a season with him starting at tackle. On paper, that same flaw would be mitigated to some degree if he was kicked inside to guard.
Is there a chance he takes a starter spot? It’s possible, especially with how much the Buffalo Bills like to tinker with their offensive line. If that were to occur, my hunch would be that Quessenberry would push at a guard spot. That said, I also don’t know that I’d call that likely to happen.