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With injuries mounting, Buffalo Bills protect offensive linemen from practice squad poaching

Week 10’s practice squad protections.

Following injuries to Mitch Morse, Cody Ford, Brian Winters, and Daryl Williams on Sunday, the Buffalo Bills were down to their last offensive lineman against the Seattle Seahawks. This week, the Bills aren’t taking any chances that their reserves will be depleted by protecting their two interior offensive linemen on the practice squad.

Centers Jordan Devey and Jonotthan Harrison are on the protected list again, as they have been for several weeks now. Devey made it on the field for two snaps against the New York Jets a few weeks ago, serving as an extra offensive lineman in jumbo sets. That’s his only game action of the season but he has 21 starts in 44 games over his seven-year career. Harrison has yet to appear in a game for Buffalo but has started 42 games over his six-year career.

Also protected this week was WR Jake Kumerow, who filled in on special teams last week with an injury to Taiwan Jones. He played three offensive snaps and 16 on special teams in his first game action for Buffalo.

Newcomer Daryl Worley was protected this week for the first time. The cornerback was signed November 3rd after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. He has experience in Sean McDermott’s defensive system. With Tre’Davious White injured late against the Seahawks, Josh Norman and Cam Lewis still injured, and Dane Jackson being out of practice squad call-ups, protecting and ultimately elevating Worley to the roster makes sense.

As part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement regarding COVID-19, NFL teams now have the ability to protect four practice squad players from being signed until after the next game. This allows teams to protect positions on their active roster that could be thin in the event of a positive COVID-19 test. Then, players can be called up to the active roster at any point between now and when inactives are due 90 minutes before kickoff.

As general manager Brandon Beane said prior to training camp, it would be difficult for a player signed off someone else’s practice squad or a free agent to make an immediate impact. After traveling to Buffalo, they would need multiple negative COVID-19 tests over a series of days just to be in the building and practicing. They might get one practice before being thrown into the fire, so practice squad players who are in your system are the best bet for a short-term fill in.