Sports

Bills vs Dolphins: HC Sean McDermott rules out three players

It’s the next man-up for the Buffalo Bills as they prepare to face the Miami Dolphins in South Beach this Sunday without three of their key defensive players.

In a press conference before Friday’s training session, head coach Sean McDermott confirmed that safety Micah Hydecorner back Dane Jacksonand defensive tackle Jordan Phillips will not be available to play on Sunday.

Hyde and Jackson both left Monday’s game against the Tennessee Titans with neck injuries that required more screening at a local medical center. Neither has been able to practice all week, and it was reported yesterday that Hyde was seeking a second opinionalthough it has not yet been stated what his prognosis is to start playing again.

Jordan Phillips also got injured in the match while running downfield as Matt Milano gave an interception for a third-quarter touchdown on Monday. Phillips was on the other side of the field from the action when he fell to the ground with a non-contact injury later listed as a hamstring strain.

Buffalo’s defense played out the light, giving up just 17 points this season, giving the Bills a +55 point lead in the league after two weeks into the 2022 NFL season, but they will face two of the most dynamic receivers in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill, and will have to make do with two rookie cornerbacks.

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Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam have swapped in and out of Bills’ lineup over the past two weeks as defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier has used them together to replace the injured. Tre’Davious White (ACL) who started the season on the list of physically unable to perform (PUP). But now, with Jackson out, the two will have to be on the field at the same time, trying to keep up with the speed of Miami’s receivers.

At a press conference yesterday Frazier said he has full confidence in the rookie duo from Benford and Elam and that they have been preparing for this every week.

In addition, it becomes Jaquan Johnson or Damar Hamlin who will play safety on Sunday in place of Micah Hyde, meaning at least three-quarters of the Secondary Bills have only made a combined 17 tackles in their careers.

When asked whether Jordan Poyerthe other piece of the Buffalo secondary and Hyde’s complement on safety, would be ready for play, McDermott was noncommittal.

“He’s in that group of guys that we’ll have to wait and see,” McDermott said, pointing out that there were “three or four” players in that wait-and-see group, along with Poyer. “After today I will know a little more, but it may not be final yet. We’ll only have to watch it one day at a time.”

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McDermott said Poyer injured his foot during Monday night’s game, something not seen during the game and that it came as somewhat of a surprise when safety first popped up in the week’s injury reports on Wednesday.

“Since then, it’s only been painful and we’ve learned more about it lately,” McDermott said.

If Poyer can’t go, the Bills would be forced to play both Johnson and Hamlin in safety, but during Friday’s practice, which took place after McDermott’s press conference, Poyer was seen in uniform and with the team, offering hope that he can at least partially play on Sunday.

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The good news for Buffalo is that McDermott did not hesitate to say in the affirmative that Milano, who suffered a stinger on Monday, will play against the Dolphins.

“Yes,” he replied simply, quickly and definitively when asked if he expected the linebacker to pass on Sunday.

With strong play along the line of scrimmage, similar to what the Bills did in the first two games of the season, and a healthy linebacker room, Buffalo will surely strive to keep quarterback Tua Tagovailoa off-balance and unable to to get passes deep into the field.

Forcing the Dolphins’ offense to play a short game would certainly ease some pressure on the young secondary the Bills are due to play in Miami on Sunday.

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