It’s been a short week for the Buffalo Bills as they had to gear down from their dominating peformance against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night and prepare to fly south to take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The “banged up Bills”, as they have been called a lot this week, had only four days to get everything ready and work on their game plan. More importantly, they only had four days to decide who would be suiting up to take on a Dolphins team that, like the Bills, is undefeated and will be coming into the game looking to take control of the AFC East.
Of those twelve, nine are listed first on the team’s depth chart with two others, Tim Settle and Jordan Phillips, regularly rotating into the game as part of a defensive scheme that keeps fresh legs on the field and wreaking havoc along the line of scrimmage. Only Cam Lewis has not seen any playing time in the first two weeks of the NFL season.
Friday injury report pic.twitter.com/TfoXqbuzuI— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) September 23, 2022
Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott announced that Micah Hyde, Dane Jackson, and Jordan Phillips would not be playing before practice even began on Friday, but the news that Ed Oliver would also be missing his second straight game is new.
Oliver, who injured his ankle in the Bills’ Week 1 match up with the Los Angeles Rams, had been a DNP all last week but appeared to be trending upward with his limited action in this week’s practices. However, the team must have decided to be conservative with what Oliver had said was “just a rolled” ankle and sit the defensive tackle one more week.
With Tim Settle, who sat out Monday night’s game despite having been able to move from a DNP to Limited practice by the end of last week and stating that he was able to do all the team asked of him on last Saturday’s practice, still questionable for this week, Buffalo has gone from nine healthy defensive linemen to six.
Leslie Frazier is going to have to get creative to keep his line fresh and the pressure on a quarterback that has thrown for over 700 yards this season, including 469 last week.
Creativity is going to be key in the back portion of his defense for Frazier as well, as the Bills will be playing without either of their starting cornerbacks from last season or Micah Hyde. Jordan Poyer looks to be a game-time decision, and if he is out it will be a whole new look in the backfield as the Bills will turn to Daquan Johsnon and Damar Hamlin to take over for their All-Pro safety duo while rookies Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam are stepping up at the corners.
On the offensive side of the ball, Buffalo looks a little better, but there could be cause for concern about center MItch Morse being questionable with his elbow injury.
Morse injured his elbow during the first quarter of Monday’s game and went to the locker room for x-rays, but was able to return just before the half. During the time he was in the locker room, Greg Van Roten took over under center. While Van Roten was in the game, there were some low snaps and the line didn’t look as efficient in protecting quarterback Josh Allen as it did later in the game wtih Morse back at center.
Gabe Davis, who was inactive last week with an ankle injury he sustained in practice, is listed as questioable, although he himself said that he felt “100% optimistic” about being able to play on Sunday.
Dawson Knox moved from not practicing in the Bills’ walkthrough practice on Wednesday to being limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and is now listed as questionable for game time.
Davis and Knox are both key parts of a Buffalo offense that has looked virtually unstoppable, having punted just three times this season. Having all of his weapons healthy and available would definetly be an asset to Allen in what cold become a shootout between two of the leagues top five quarterbacks.
It has been said that the Buffalo Bills have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, as McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane have spent the past five years working to build a team that is solid in every aspect of the game.
Sunday we will find out if they have succeeded.