We don't know who will be playing quarterback for the Buffalo Bills when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6, but it's sounding an awful lot like their injury-ravaged secondary will be back near full strength for the game.
Bills head coach Doug Marrone told reporters on Friday that not only is Jairus Byrd ready to return to the starting lineup, but cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks are hot on his heels.
Byrd, as you may have heard, told Marrone that he was ready to play last night, but Marrone held him out of the loss in order to get him a full week's worth of practice reps with the first-team defense heading into a game. Barring some sort of bizarre setback, he'll likely start next weekend.
Gilmore has been out of the lineup since breaking his wrist in the preseason. That surgery gave Gilmore a 6-8 week timetable, and when the Bills take on the Bengals next week, he'll be nearly seven full weeks removed from surgery. He is less of a lock to play because he'll only be returning to practice this week, but clearly, the Bills need him on the field as soon as possible.
Brooks, the team's nickel back, broke his foot in the Bills' Week 1 loss to New England and had surgery the day after. He's been out since, but like Gilmore is ready to return to the practice field, per Marrone. Undrafted rookie Nickell Robey has taken Brooks' role and performed admirably in it for the past month.
With more help at cornerback on the way - including the return of Leodis McKelvin, who played last night against Cleveland - Aaron Williams will be able to move back to safety. If they're lucky, and all three of Byrd, Gilmore and Brooks are able to play against Cincinnati, it will be the first time that the team will have had its full complement of defensive backs to work with all season.