The Buffalo Bills will play in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs for the third straight year, as they host the Cincinnati Bengals this coming Sunday afternoon. Before the first full day of practice, head coach Sean McDermott met with media.
The good news was that McDermott said he expected the entire roster to participate in some capacity at today’s walkthrough.
Bills coach Sean McDermott said that he is expecting everyone to be at today's walk-through participating in some capacity.— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) January 18, 2023
After the team concluded practce, there was even more good news for the Bills, as some of the injuries listed on last week’s report were gone, while several players had their practice status elevated as they began the week.
Wednesday injury report pic.twitter.com/tsGMca1NH0— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 18, 2023
Quarterback Josh Allen’s ankle injury is no longer listed. Allen injured his ankle in the first few minutes the last time these two teams faced each other in the regular season. While the game was ultimately canceled due to the on-field cardiac arrest of safety Damar Hamlin, Allen didn’t leave unscathed. However, three weeks later, the quarterback is now only sporting the elbow injury that has plagued him since Week 9.
Like Allen, safety Jordan Poyer and cornerback Cam Lewis are dealing with some injuries that won’t disappear until after the Bills’ season ends, and they likely seek more extensive rehab than they can get between games. However, Poyer was limited rather than a non-participant, which is a great sign.
Isaiah McKenzie was a full participant after being a game-day scratch last week. While the wide receiver was quoted last week as saying he didn’t think the injury would slow him down, Buffalo’s training staff had other thoughts, and had him sit a few more days. Now, it would appear that the Bills will be headed into the divisional round of the NFL playoffs with a stacked wide receiver room.
While Phillips was limited, it was better than last week’s DNP status. On Monday, McDermott said that training staff had told him Jackson could have re-entered Sunday’s wild-card game if needed, the cornerback appears to still be working through some soreness today. Gilliam’s elbow, on the other hand, is apparently a non-issue; despite getting some attention during Sunday’s game, his injury hasn’t been mentioned since.
New on the list today was DaQuan Jones, one of only two Bills starting defenders to not miss a game this season. Jones was listed as a limited participant with a calf injury. It isn’t yet apparent when Jones’ injury occurred, but it likely isn’t too serious if he was practicing on it.
We will have to wait and see what tomorrow’s report brings in terms of participation when the Bills up the intensity at the practice facility.
Buffalo’s opponents this week don’t have as clean an injury report as the host team. The Bengals entered the week with three players not practicing due to injury.
On offense, the group tasked with protecting Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow has taken some rough hits lately. While tackle La’el Collins is on injured reserve, guard Alex Cappa (ankle) and tackle Jonah Williams (knee) were both non-participants on Wednesday.
In addition, cornerback Tre Flowers missed today’s practice due to a hamstring injury. While Flowers isn’t CB1 in Cincinnati, Eli Apple is – and he’s working through a neck injury. Apple was a full participant today, but the injury is still there, and could affect his ability to keep up with one of the league’s premier route-runners in Stefon Diggs.