Rookie linebacker Matt Milano has played well since being inserted into the starting lineup as a replacement for veteran weakside linebacker Ramon Humber, who suffered a broken thumb in Buffalo’s 23-17 Week 4 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
While Milano’s first-ever NFL start was impressive, Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Humber will get his starting job back when he's fully healthy and recovered from his injury.
“Well, hopefully we’ll get Ramon back soon. He has a pretty serious injury, when you do the damage that he did to his thumb, but Matt did a good job, but we’d like to have Ramon back,” Frazier told the media Monday. “Ramon’s not going to lose his job because of injury. He was playing well for us prior to his injury, and we look forward to having him back.”
Humber is listed as week-to-week according to first-year head coach Sean McDermott, but it would appear unlikely he would return to action this Sunday, when the Bills welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to New Era Field for a 1 p.m. showdown.
At the time of the injury, Humber was leading the Bills in tackles, but he slipped to second (37), one behind fellow linebacker Preston Brown (38). Humber leads Buffalo with 28 solo stops and has been an integral piece of the team’s league-leading scoring defense (14.8 points per game).
Milano, Buffalo’s 2017 fifth-round draft pick (No. 163) out of Boston College, was in on four tackles (one solo) in the loss to Cincinnati. He especially excelled against the run, as Pro Football Focus credited him with two stops in run defense, earning an 87.0 grade for his performance.
“All of us were really pleased with his (Matt’s) play,” Frazier told the media. “It’s not an easy task to go on the road and get your first start. He had gotten some snaps in the Atlanta ballgame because of the injury to Ramon [Humber], but to go out and find yourself to have to play as many snaps as he did in that ballgame last week, we’re really proud of the way he played, and the way he competed. The game wasn’t too big for him, he really settled down as the game went on. Sure enough, there are some things that he can get better at, but based on what we saw, he has a bright future in our league as a linebacker, he did some really good things.”