The Buffalo Bills have adjusted their practice squad protections, and looking at that list has given us some insight on where the team might think they are struggling. This week’s protections are the standard version, and all three have frequently been protected, so let’s recap.
WR Isaiah Hodgins
Hodgins was first added to the protected list last week when Cole Beasley went on the COVID-19 list and Emmanuel Sanders injured his knee, but he’s remained there in the last few weeks. He played one NFL game, coming in during garbage time against the New England Patriots in December. He saw his first NFL game action, taking four snaps. Buffalo’s top receivers are all healthy now.
DB Nick McCloud & Josh Thomas
Oft-protected but not often utilized, Thomas and McCloud have been constants on the practice squad protection list but the pair has only played in two games this season. Both of those games came when McCloud was on the Cincinnati Bengals before signing with the Bills on November 10. Buffalo is thin at cornerback following the loss of Tre’Davious White.
Every team has 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.
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 2020, when players would take almost a full week from entry into the league’s protocols to being able to play in a game.