In the age of COVID-19, bad news is always lurking right around the corner, and while the Buffalo Bills aren’t missing half their roster, they’ll still be impacted for the Carolina Panthers game this weekend. The Bills placed left tackle Dion Dawkins on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, according to head coach Sean McDermott. On the bright side, Josh Allen’s foot sprain has progressed well this week. He’s a full participant in practice today, and McDermott confirmed he’ll start on Sunday.
Dawkins, who had two vaccine doses in the summer (but also a real bad bout with COVID), could be eligible to return to the roster this week if he’s asymptomatic. Under the league’s new protocols announced Thursday, he will be tested every day until he tests negative. Once he receives two negative tests, he can return. That would mean two tests given on Saturday and returned Sunday morning early. It’s an unlikely scenario, but technically possible.
Another offensive line shuffle is in order if he’s out this weekend. Spencer Brown could cross over to the left side and start in his place, moving Daryl Williams to right tackle and inserting one of Jon Feliciano, Ike Boettger, or Cody Ford at right guard. The team also needs to decide what they’ll do at left guard, where Boettger was starting, though Feliciano is healthy. You might see as many as four different starting linemen this weekend.
The last detail to track is Emmanuel Sanders, who won’t play this weekend with his knee injury. It’ll probably be a couple more weeks before he’s ready to go.