Last week was our first ever look at who didn’t play during a preseason game and...I think it was pretty interesting. That article was by request of our fearless editor in chief Matt Warren in case you wanted to assign credit/blame. It’s a little different this week, as the Buffalo Bills played their starters for the most part. Let’s take a look at who we didn’t see and some possible reasons why. Thirteen players didn’t take the field for this one, which is about 20 less than last week.
The Obvious Ones
- Von Miller—While the other stars saw some time on the field, Miller was still kept in bubble wrap. This is likely due to the defensive end position being a bit more solo in nature than offense where the chemistry between Josh Allen and company was a bit more important to tune up.
- Dawson Knox—Best wishes to Dawson Knox and the entire Knox family.
- Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer—Both starting safeties have been dinged up and it’s better to let them rest and heal.
- Tre’Davious White—Still recovering from a major injury, White may not even be ready for the regular season.
- Ike Boettger—Another player recovering from a major injury.
- Tommy Doyle—Doyle is dealing with a foot injury.
- Marquez Stevenson—Recent foot surgery with an unknown time table for return might mean Stevenson is a long shot for the 53, but could be a good stash candidate.
The Less Obvious Ones
- Tim Settle Jr.—Settle started in Week 1, where he was mostly surrounded by players expected to make the team. It’s possible Settle was dealing with an injury but I couldn’t find any mention of one. It’s also possible the Bills have made up their mind on Settle and wanted to see other players compete.
- Taiwan Jones—Similar to Settle, there’s nothing to suggest Jones was hurt. The Bills are very familiar with Jones so there’s a decent shot here as well that Buffalo has already made up their mind for the special teams ace.
- Siran Neal—Another one with no injuries noted. While Neal is also a special teams mainstay, he’s also been a significant depth piece on Sunday. Neal would be a bit of a surprise cut.
- Tyler Matakevich—Our third special teams player, Matakevich usually leads the team in snaps. He’s less utilized for depth, but has appeared in games for Buffalo.
- Kingsley Jonathan—This one is a bit odd. The rookie defensive end also shows no injuries that I can find, but wasn’t allowed to hit the field and show what he could do. Not letting him play still seems like their mind might be made up, but in which direction?
Everyone in the first group should make the team or be injury stashed if I had to wager. On the less obvious group, Tim Settle Jr., Taiwan Jones, and Siran Neal would be locks if I had to wager. I can’t imagine Settle not being in the top four (where he’s currently listed on the Bills’ depth chart). Neal’s spot should be similarly solid. I know the depth running backs have been impressing, but the RB4 shouldn’t expect to see the field unless it’s on special teams and Jones is lethal there.
If I had to guess, this grouping fell into a weird spot for the Bills. None of this group has much chemistry to work out as they’re depth mostly, but also they’re not really in competition with anyone. It’s possible Tyler Matakevich falls into this list as well.
It’s also possible he doesn’t. Matakevich’s name is the furthest back on the depth chart for any of these guys at their respective positions. Baylon Spector and Joe Giles-Harris are intriguing names at depth who both might become especially important with Tremaine Edmunds’s contract up in the air. The pair played significant special teams reps too in both preseason games. Matakevich is a true unknown though.
Kingsley Jonathan saw a ton of time in Preseason Week 1, including a chunk of time on special teams. Without a known injury, being inactive sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s almost certain the Bills have made up their mind but, again, which direction? Is he so far behind the competition he already has no shot? Are they hoping to sneak him onto the practice squad by not giving up any more film on the guy?