The young career of Bills offensive tackle Tommy Doyle continues to stagnate as he is set to miss the entire 2023 season, according to the Bills Twitter account. Doyle missed all but one game last year after being put on injured reserve with a torn ACL, and his absence will now extend until the 2024 season, at least. The nature of the injury has not yet been disclosed, but the team’s announcement is enough to confirm the seriousness of the situation.
Doyle was a 2021 fifth-round selection for the Bills out of Miami (OH). Though he earned some sparse playing time on offense and special teams as a rookie, his most memorable NFL moment came when he was on the receiving end of a Josh Allen touchdown pass in the team’s Wild Card victory over the Patriots.
Coming off a season-ending injury from 2022, Doyle wasn’t expected to have a huge impact on the field this season. But after the sudden retirement of newly signed offensive tackle Brandon Shell, the Bills find their depth on the exterior of the offensive line to be suspect. Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown are slotted in as starters for now, and David Quessenberry is penciled in as the team’s primary swing tackle behind them.
Behind those three, the depth quickly dissipates. With Doyle out, the depth behind the top three is comprised of two undrafted free agents from last year (Ryan Van Demark and Alec Anderson) and undrafted rookie Richard Gouraige.
According to Ryan O’Halloran of The Buffalo News, when asked about the lack of depth on the offensive line, head coach Sean McDermott told reporters, “We remain confident in the guys we have. That said,” he continued, “there is certainly a numbers issue. We have more practices ahead, and it’s an area we have to continue to look at and analyze.”
The losses of Shell and Doyle so close together and so close to the opening of the regular season put Buffalo in a really tough position. There are certainly some veteran options available on the market. Looking into players like Eric Fisher, Ja’Wuan James, or even Jason Peters may be a necessity soon. Peters, though sitting at the ripe old age of 41 years old, has recently reaffirmed his interest in playing this season.
In the meantime, the Bills will have to rely on some young, green players to take the preseason loads off the backs of Dawkins, Brown, and Quessenberry. Some interior linemen may need to step out and assist, as well. Until help arrives, keeping Dawkins, Brown, and Quessenberry healthy has become a top priority leading up to the 2023 season.