Football briefs: Offensive line is holding Bills’ offense back

Pro Football Weekly staff

The Way We Hear It

Prior to his concussion, QB Trent Edwards was playing fantastic. RB Marshawn Lynch is plowing forward. And the receivers, particularly Lee Evans, are catching the ball better than they have in years. But the reason the Bills rank 17th in the league in offense is because they still haven’t gotten their line to play up to its capabilities. Much of the blame is being directed at Jason Peters, arguably the game’s most talented left tackle. Peters missed all of training camp in a contractual stalemate, and we hear his missed time has put him substantially behind in terms of learning the protection nuances of new offensive coordinator Turk Schonert’s scheme. And because ORT Langston Walker had to switch over to the left side in Peters’ absence, he was behind in learning his responsibilities on the right side. The line already has allowed 16 sacks, one of the league’s higher figures.

NFL Whispers

JETS: We hear that the Jets’ dramatic rise in sack production from last year — 18 in the first five games — can be attributed to one man: Kris Jenkins. The player whom the Jets traded for in the offseason has been the unquestioned defensive MVP of the team thus far, tying up multiple interior offensive linemen to open up lanes to the quarterback for the Jets’ other box defenders.

COLTS: The Colts are in no rush to plug Tony Ugoh back into the starting OLT job. Although he’s still the best option they have when he’s healthy, his spotty play this season has the coaches content to allow him to heal 100 percent from his groin injury before inserting him back in the lineup ahead of OT-OG hybrid Charlie Johnson.

REDSKINS: Redskins sources marvel at the job that OLG Pete Kendall is doing. The Redskins have become a left-handed running team, often sending Clinton Portis right over Kendall’s backside. And Kendall is getting it done, muscling bigger, stronger defensive tackles and cleaning out linebackers even at age 35 with ailing knees. He’s a big reason why the Redskins have been so strong up front.

The Fantasy Buzz

After showing occasional flashes as a wideout last season, Bears WR Devin Hester has proven to be more than just a return man the past few weeks. Now with a more prominent role in the offense, Hester has caught 14 passes for 180 yards and two TDs in the past three games, leading the team in both receptions and yards Sunday at Atlanta. Even once injured WR Brandon Lloyd returns, Hester still should see plenty of offensive snaps, making him an intriguing fantasy pickup.

Vikings QB Gus Frerotte hasn’t been a fantasy monster, but he certainly has proved he can put up numbers in the right matchup. Since taking over the starting job in Week Three, he has thrown for 247 yards per game, including a 296-yard effort on Sunday against the Lions. He has tossed only three scores in this span, but these are still above-average fantasy stats. It looks like the job is Frerotte’s for the remainder of the season, so it wouldn’t hurt to add him as a backup QB.

Through six games, Packers RB Ryan Grant still hasn’t found paydirt and is gaining just 3.4 yards per carry, but now is the time to acquire him. Even though it hasn’t paid dividends yet, the Packers have been increasing Grant’s workload in each of the past three games, and any concerns about his hamstring injury should be gone after Sunday’s 33-carry effort. With a manageable stretch of games coming up during fantasy playoff time, Grant could bust out when it matters most.

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