Rex Ryan’s first post-bye week press conference certainly was full of new information, and should lead to a great deal of discussion among Buffalo Bills fans as the team prepares to take on the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. The main points of interest included:
- Acknowledgement, albeit passive-aggressively, that Jordan Mills has been the clear weakest link on the offensive line. Ryan mentioned that Seantrel Henderson “looked great” this week, and he will be given every opportunity to compete for the starting gig that was once his. Henderson has battled health problems related to Crohn’s Disease, and was even suspended for four games for using cannabis to treat the symptoms of the autoimmune illness.
- In the wake of Eric Wood’s broken leg, both Ryan Groy and Patrick Lewis will compete for the chance to replace him at the center position. Groy has been the active backup all season long, but the Bills claimed Lewis from the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season. He has been inactive for all nine games this season. Sticking on the Wood injury front, the Bills’ center had surgery this week, and Ryan has been debating whether or not he should be placed on IR with GM Doug Whaley.
- Ryan did not close the door on opening competitions at other positions where players have been struggling. While he did not specify which positions he meant beyond center and right tackle, Nick Veronica speculated that all positions in the secondary may be up for grabs after multiple putrid showings in a row. After practice, Sal Capaccio tweeted that Corey White told him “it’s an open competition” at CB with Ronald Darby this week. Since Aaron Williams was injured against the Dolphins, the Bills have looked lost in coverage, and the coaching staff appears to be hesitant in terms of what to call. Obviously, figuring that out will be paramount to righting the ship the rest of the way.
- Ryan provided a mini-update on Sammy Watkins, as well, saying that although he is eligible to practice this week, trainers do not feel he is ready to do so. Watkins has been on IR with a foot injury since right before the fourth week of the season. He is technically eligible to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 27.
- Other updates Ryan provided on injury include positive news on Marcell Dareus (“progressing nicely,” according to Sal Maiorana), and not-so-positive news on Brandon Tate (still in the concussion protocol).
Hopefully, with Ryan putting multiple position groups on notice, the competition will bring out the best in every man on the roster. The Bills are out of mulligans, as it stands today, and they’ll need everyone to play at peak performance to prevent the league’s longest playoff drought from progressing to a seventeenth season.