Inside the Bills: How O'Cyrus Torrence plans to take his game to another level in Year 2


Staff member

Offensive line coaches in the NFL generally tell it like it is.

Such was the case recently with Buffalo Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer when recounting a recent conversation with guard O’Cyrus Torrence.

“He even admitted at the end of the year that he was surprised he started,” Kromer told The Buffalo News. “I’m like, ‘Cybo, I put you with the ‘ones’ on Day One. I was just waiting for you to mess up, and you never did. So I left you in there.’ “

For all 1,164 snaps in the regular season and another 144 in two playoff games.

“It really went way better than I could have imagined,” Torrence said.” I came in thinking I just wanted to help the team any way I could. I ended up starting every game and playing every play. I didn’t know how good of an achievement it was, honestly, until after the season.”

Torrence’s 1,164 snaps tied for fourth most in the regular season among all offensive linemen. Not bad for a second-round draft pick chosen No. 59 overall out of Florida.

“During the season, I wasn’t able to give myself props,” Torrence said. “After the season, I kind of took some self-motivation from it, patted myself on the back a little bit, like ‘it was a good job.’ In this job, it’s so hard to win one rep, so saying I was able to play every snap, it’s only right to give yourself props.”

Torrence learned as a rookie not to be so hard on himself. Coming out of college, he often heard from his coaches only when he screwed up.

“It ain’t always about to look at the negative. That’s one thing I taught myself last year, look at the positives more than you look at the negatives, because in college you kind of get used to, you mess up, coach will yell at you for messing up,” he said. “He don’t really get on you too much for doing right. So you come in here with that kind of mind frame.

“I’ve gotten better at letting myself know when I did something good. That positive motivation I feel like definitely helped me. After the season when I was able to sit back and relax and see the whole picture, I was definitely proud of myself.”

Bills right guard O'Cyrus Torrence played every offensive snap as a rookie in 2023. Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Analytics website Pro Football Focus ranked Torrence No. 44 out of 58 guards who played at least 600 snaps last season, but that doesn’t feel like it accurately captures the impact he made as a rookie. It’s not as if Torrence stepped into the starting lineup for a rebuilding team. The Bills were legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
It’s also not like the team had to force Torrence into the lineup. It was a mild surprise he won the job in Week 1, because the front office and coaching staff had veteran Ryan Bates, who was more than capable of starting. The Bills had previously matched a contract offer to Bates made by Chicago when he was a restricted free agent, a sign that the team valued his contributions. Torrence kept Bates on the bench all year and the Bills eventually traded him this offseason, to Chicago.

“He exceeded my expectations last season, yes,” Kromer said of Torrence. “He exceeded them because of the maturity level at which he could play every week.”

At 6-foot-5 and 347 pounds, Torrence, 24, is the second-heaviest player on the Bills’ roster, behind rookie offensive lineman Mike Edwards (363 pounds). Torrence’s game is all about being big and strong and playing a physical style. That’s what the Bills want in their guards.

So, how does he build on a successful rookie season?

“For me, it’s kind of finding something I’m already good at and making myself even better at it,” he said. “Then just nitpicking my game, looking at the small stuff. I won blocks last year, like coach said, I got the job done, but did I really do it the best way I could have? Just being real critical on myself and just being open to more coaching. … Having that mindset of progressing each day, getting 1% better will keep me on a good path to having another good season.”

While brute strength will always be Torrence’s calling card, he’s working on the finer points of playing offensive line this season.

“My hands and feet, when I get in contact with people, not just trying to overpower everybody. Using technique more, I would say,” he said. “Instead of just powering somebody all the time one way, use their momentum against them and let them go that way instead of trying to force them to go a certain way. Small stuff like that I feel like is something I’m focusing more on, just the quickness out of stance, my twitchiness, how fast can I jump out of my stance when Josh makes the first sound to hike the ball?”

The Bills’ offensive line will look different in 2024. Center Mitch Morse, a team captain and the group’s leader, is gone. Connor McGovern will shift from left guard to center, while David Edwards is expected to step into the starting lineup. Tackles Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown return, as does Torrence, whose rookie season should give both the team and fans a lot of hope for what the future holds.

“It definitely gave me a lot more confidence,” he said. “I’m not cocky. I’m still humble with it, but it definitely gave me confidence, even every day on the practice field, to know I belong out here. Even though I do belong out here, I can still lose it. That keeps me humble, to where I have to get better every day. I’ve got to keep adding onto that.”