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Bills add coaches, two more starters to COVID-19 list ahead of game vs Patriots

The Bills are going to be short-handed on offense

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills added two more offensive starters to the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday morning, per head coach Sean McDermott. Wide receiver Gabe Davis and right guard Cody Ford were in line to start on Sunday but now will likely be unavailable against the New England Patriots. Also added to the list were special teams coach Heath Farwell and defensive line coach Eric Washington.

The Bills’ offensive line is already without left tackle Dion Dawkins and guard Jon Feliciano is now without their opening day starter at right guard in Ford. With Daryl Williams likely to kick out to right tackle, allowing Spencer Brown to flip to left guard to replace Dawkins, Ryan Bates could get the start of his NFL career this Sunday. Practice squader Jacob Capra was called up to the active roster last week and could also get the nod. Another option would be to move Brown to left tackle, keep Williams at right guard, and call up Bobby Hart from the practice squad. Hart came off the COVID list himself late this week. I think it’s unlikely they will give significant snaps to rookie Tommy Doyle.

Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis started the last couple weeks with Emmanuel Sanders sidelined with a knee injury. Luckily Sanders practiced in full on Thursday. We will see if they knee held up to practice. The other starting wide receiver, Cole Beasley, is already out of this week’s game as an unvaccinated player who tested positive for COVID-19. Buffalo protected Isaiah Hodgins on the practice squad this week, and he’s likely to get a call up, in addition to more snaps for Jake Kumerow.

Like Beasley, Davis is unvaccinated and is out a minimum ten days, per Adam Schefter. The rest of the players can presumably test out of the COVID protocols between now and Sunday. If they are vaccinated, they would need two negative tests, but that has not been the norm around the league.

Already on the COVID list were Beasley, Dawkins, Feliciano, and defensive end A.J. Epenesa in addition to practice squaders TE Quintin Nelson and DE Mike Love.