Injuries could thrust some young players into Bills defense

Buffalo may have to start two rookies against the Dolphins' elite wide receivers

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – We're still a long way from Sunday’s game between the Bills and Dolphins in Miami, but the Buffalo defense is having to overcome a lot of injuries.

It started with Tre White’s knee injury from last season, and continued with Dane Jackson, Jordan Phillips, Micah Hyde and Matt Milano all having to leave Monday’s game against the Tennessee Titans due to injury.

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Ed Oliver and Tim Settle were also inactive for the Titans game because of injury, so defensive linemen Brandin Bryant and C.J. Brewer had to be activated from the practice squad.

Hyde, Jackson and Phillips did not practice on Wednesday, while Oliver, Settle and Jordan Poyer were limited. Milano had a stinger and was a full participant in practice.

This week, Buffalo faces a Dolphins team that rolled up 42 points and 547 yards of offense against the Baltimore Ravens.

Rookies Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam have been alternating for two games opposite Jackson. If Jackson can’t play on Sunday, both rookies would have to start.

“In the roles that they’ve played in the first two games, they’ve done a really good job understanding and executing the game plan," said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier on Wednesday.

“The games haven’t been too big for them, so if it comes to that, we’d be confident with both of them out there.”

Keep in mind, neither player has had to face a wide receiver even close to the abilities of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in Miami.

If the Bills' rookies have to go up against Hill and Waddle, Frazier says he isn’t worried, because the defense works as a unit.

“It’s the ability to be able to rush the quarterback with four, and not always having to expose the secondary bringing five or six guys to make him speed up,” Frazier said of trying to disrupt quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

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With it only being Wednesday, I’m sure there are some players that Frazier doesn’t know yet if they’ll be available.

“It definitely goes through your mind as you’re preparing for the opponent as you’re thinking about matchups," he said. "But at the end of the day, you have to trust the guys that have the potential to have to step into roles, and that they’ll be able to handle the game plan."

On offense, Gabe Davis was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice with an ankle injury that caused him to miss the Tennessee game.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi