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Bills FS Byrd Set To Return To Starting Lineup

With second-year safety Jairus Byrd still recovering from preseason groin surgery and not 100% healthy, the Buffalo Bills started George Wilson at free safety in Week 1 against Miami. Byrd, the 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year runner up (twice), was relegated to work in nickel and dime packages, and by my count played 32 snaps to Wilson's 42.

That's going to change in Week 2, as reports that Byrd will start the game at free safety, and that head coach Chan Gailey expects him to play the entire game.

The Green Bay Packers feature one of the league's most potent passing attacks, so it's critical to Buffalo's defensive success that Byrd - perhaps the only Bills defensive back opponents need to be constantly aware of - is on the field. Wilson has been a productive player, and he'll perform well when called upon on Sunday, but he has neither the athleticism nor the instincts that Byrd possesses.

Byrd and Wilson were two of a whopping seven Bills defensive backs to get more than 20 snaps against Miami. As Gailey notes in the linked article, it's imperative that the Bills play fewer than 74 defensive snaps in Green Bay; the less they're on the field, the better for the team.