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Bills vs. Lions: Analyzing Tre’Davious White’s return to play

A glimpse into Buffalo’s All-Pro corner’s return to action

Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White returned to action versus the Detriot Lions 364 days after he tore his ACL on Thanksgiving Day in 2021. White only played 16 snaps during the game, but it was our first look at him in almost a year, so let’s take a look at how he was moving during the Bills’ 28-25 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

First play back: hip toss

White’s first play back in almost exactly a year probably involved a lot of pent-up emotion. White released some of those emotions by hip-tossing his opponent to the ground. Great to see.

Working the backpedal

White looks pretty solid here on his first play in coverage. He does a nice job of backpedaling inside first, and staying patient before he opens his hips to run with the receiver. Good coverage.

Press coverage

This is a run play by the Lions, but here is a glimpse of White covering the first 10 yards of a route. He looks relaxed and confident in his technique here. Sometimes when players are left one-on-one with a receiver, they will try to get physical and disrupt the route. White looks comfortable with his footwork, even if this is only a run play.


Here is an actual pass play where White is in one-on-one coverage. By my eyes, he looks solid throughout the route. Similar to the play above, he stays patient at the beginning of the route, and he lets the route develop before committing to opening his hips. Once the receiver breaks his route off to run a comeback, White stops on a dime and stays in his hip pocket. It’s great to see White running at full speed and then being able to quickly stop.

Speed covering a deep route

Part of recovering from a torn ACL is the dreaded “did he lose a step” question. This is just one play, but White seems to have the acceleration and speed to cover this deep route.


The ability to change direction is a key component of being able to play the cornerback position. White changes direction quickly by firing forward to set the edge and get in on the tackle.

Just for fun

Nothing special happens in this play, but I thought it was a good clip of White moving around and changing direction on his knee. It looks like he’s playing instinctually, and not thinking about his knee too much.

In summary

The sample size was small, but it was encouraging to see Tre’Davious White back on the football field. The Bills clearly have a plan in place to manage his workload and bring him back at a gradual pace. It appears that White passed the test in his first game back; he looked comfortable and confident on his knee. Hopefully, he can continue to show progress and be back full-time sooner rather than later to help lessen the blow on the string of injuries that is running through Buffalo’s secondary.