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Buffalo Bills protect three on practice squad this week

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

Once again, the Buffalo Bills have only protected three practice squad players for Week 3. They have the option to protect up to four players from signing with another team’s active roster between Tuesday and the end of the game that weekend. The rule is in response to COVID-19, to make sure teams have at least 57 players to choose from on game day.

This is the second week in a row the team decided to only use three instead of four protections. It doesn’t cost them anything to protect a player, so it’s a curious move.

Last week, it was OL Jamil Douglas, CB Cam Lewis, and OL Jack Anderson. Anderson was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles after that protection expired a week ago.

This week it is OL Jamil Douglas, CB Cam Lewis, and DB Josh Thomas. With only five cornerbacks on the 53-man roster and four safeties, it makes sense that they would protect themselves from a potential problem on the back end of the defense. It’s a bit weird that neither of the team’s two tight ends were protected, given that only two tight ends plus Reggie Gilliam are on the active roster.

The Bills host the Washington Football Team this weekend. With fully vaccinated players able to come in and play on a day’s notice, the practice squad protections have lost some of their luster from a year ago, when players would take almost a full week from entry into the league’s protocols to being able to play in a game.