It wasn't long ago that Alex Carrington was standing on the sideline in street clothes watching as his Buffalo Bills teammates were lining up. Now following some elevated play and a key injury, Carrington will be in the starting lineup as the Bills travel to play the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
For a solid month, Carrington sat out after being named a healthy scratch against the Dolphins, Giants, Titans, and Bengals. Until the Thursday Night Football game against the New York Jets, he hadn't played more than 18 snaps in a single game as a rotational lineman, even after the injury to Kyle Williams. But over the last two week's it's been Stefan Charles on the sideline while Carrington has stepped into a larger role.
Against the Jets, Carrington played 43 snaps and recorded four tackles. That's 73% of the total snaps the defense played and the third-most on the line behind Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes. His numbers dropped against the Patriots, recording two tackles on 33 of Buffalo's 67 snaps as Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams took the bulk of the defensive end reps.
"Next man up. You’ve just got to go play," Carrington said. "I mean, I’ll be ready. I’m preparing like I do every week. Looking forward to it, though."
Head coach Rex Ryan likes Carrington's versatility. In his previous stint with the Bills from 2010 to 2013, Carrington played at both defensive tackle and defensive end in 4-3 and 3-4 base alignments. He has been used all over the field in his time back with the Bills in 2015.
"I like him, because he’s a versatile guy," Ryan said of Carrington. "He can play inside, he can play outside. He can do a lot of different things. He’s a good player."
It will be all hands on deck on the defensive line this week, which is probably a good sign knowing Carrington's nickname.