Head coach Sean McDermott spoke via WGR550 on Friday morning before the Buffalo Bills began final practice preparations for Sunday’s AFC East divisional game with the New York Jets. In that interview, he announced that both defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and fullback Reggie Gillam have already been ruled out for this weekend.
Bills coach Sean McDermott on @WGR550 said that DT Jordan Phillips (shoulder) and FB Reggie Gilliam (ankle) are both out for Sunday’s game vs. the Jets— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) December 9, 2022
It came as no surprise, as neither Phillips — who suffered a shoulder injury on a diving attempt to sack quarterback Mac Jones late Buffalo’s win over the New England Patriots last Thursday — nor Gilliam (ankle injury) have practiced all week.
In (possibly) better news, McDermott didn’t make a commitment on the availability of linebacker Matt Milano, who also hadn’t practiced on either Wednesday or Thursday. In fact, he indicated that there was a possibility that Milano might practice today, saying “we’ll see.”
Milano, who McDermott said injured his knee early in the game against the Patriots, has been a key part of the Bills’ defensive success this season and he didn’t play Week 9 versus the Jets. According to McDermott, the plan will be to see how Milano does in the next two days, and then decide about his availability for Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. EST kickoff, officially listing him as questionable as of now.
The concerning factor regarding Gilliam’s absence would be that the Bills don’t have another true fullback on either their active or practice-squad rosters, so it will be interesting to watch what offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey does with the game plan on Sunday.
Phillips’ absence could also be felt along the defensive line as the Bills put Von Miller on season-ending IR on Wednesday when they announced that he had to undergo a repair on the ACL in his right knee. Buffalo does have a host of other pass rushers who will be led by defensive tackle Ed Oliver and defensive end Greg Rousseau.
Two other Bills have been limited all week, causing concern for the offensive line and whether it will be able to protect quarterback Josh Allen, who injured the elbow on his throwing arm the last time these two teams faced each other. Both left tackle Dion Dawkins and offensive tackle David Quessenberry, who replaced Dawkins, have been struggling with ankle injuries, but today McDermott said he isn’t too worried about the pair of linemen.
McDermott said he wasn’t “overly” concerned about Dawkins’s status for Sunday, saying that the tackle had done a good job in practice this week and is in a good spot. Of course, as is typical of McDermott, he didn’t make any commitments about whether Dawkins would suit up Sunday, and after what must have been another good day of practice - this time as a full participant instead of limited - listed him as questionable.
As for Quessenberry, McDermott was a little more clear in saying that the lineman, who has the ability to line up at either the tackle or guard positions for the Bills, is “really sore” — but that he should be “okay”. McDermott said that Quessenberry’s mental toughness was an asset. After a full day of practice to round out a week where he was limited for two days, the lineman appeared on the final injury report for the week with no designation for Sunday’s game - a good sign for the Bills’ offense should Dawkins not be ready to go.
Friday injury report pic.twitter.com/dQU8bpfMdg— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) December 9, 2022
For the Jets, they have been struggling with an illness that has hit their locker room this week. Defensive lineman Michael Clemons must be suffering the worst as he has not practiced — even in a limited fashion as some of his teammates have been able to do — and has now been ruled out for the game. The rookie lineman has made an appearance in each of the Jets’ games this season, so to be ruled out with an illness two days before kickoff, we can assume that Clemons is pretty sick.
Jets DL Micheal Clemons won't practice today for the Jets. He is questionable to play vs. Bills Sunday— Antwan V. Staley (@antwanstaley) December 9, 2022