Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Bills, once again, have another long injury report to deal with, as the team gets ready to take on Kenny Pickett and the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday afternoon at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.
While some players are trending towards a positive direction for Sunday's matchup, others are not going to play a factor into the contest after suffering injuries during Buffalo's come-from-behind victory over the Baltimore Ravens last week.
During his weekly appearance on the “Extra Point Show” on Friday, Bills head coach Sean McDermott confirmed that safety Jordan Poyer and tight end Dawson Knox were going to miss out on Buffalo's Week 5 matchup with the Steelers. Poyer is dealing with a rib injury suffered on the last defensive play of Sunday's game in Baltimore, while Dawson Knox is out with foot and hamstring injuries.
Also ruled out for Sunday's affair in Orchard Park are wide receivers Jake Kumerow and Jamison Crowder, as well as cornerback Christian Benford. Crowder suffered a broken ankle in Sunday's win over the Ravens, while Kumerow and Benford will miss their second-consecutive game.
In the meantime, McDermott says wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie remains in the NFL's concussion protocol, but did not clarify whether or not he'd be cleared in time to suit up against Pittsburgh.
Also on positive not regarding injuries, progress continues to be made with defensive tackles Jordan Phillips and Ed Oliver, as both have been practicing this week after missing game action. McDermott says the team is trying to be smart when it comes to the amount of reps for both Phillips and Oliver.
With Poyer being out on Sunday, the depth at safety will, once again, be tested with Jaquan Johnson set to step in for Poyer opposite of Damar Hamlin, filling in for Micah Hyde.
“They’ve been able to watch two veteran players, two very good players in Jordan and Micah on a day-to-day basis, and get their own reps and experience,” said McDermott on Friday with Sal Capaccio and Joe DiBiase. “I’ve been really impressed with their work ethic, and their ability to adapt on what’s been going on.
While the depth at safety will be challenged, wide receiver depth could also face some challenges without the potential of McKenzie playing, in addition to being without Crowder and Kumerow. This leaves rookie wideout Khalil Shakir as potentially being thrusted into the lineup with Davis and Stefon Diggs.
McDermott says for a rookie like Shakir, the details are ramped up as he could be getting a lot of playing time this Sunday.
“You’re asked to do a lot, in terms of learning a new position, and in some cases, learning more than one position in Shakir’s position. He’s done a good job with it,” McDermott said.
As for the Steelers, they will be turning to their 2022 first-round rookie quarterback, who is slated to make his first career start. To make matters worse for Pickett, his first test comes on the road, in a hostile environment, against the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL.
Despite that, McDermott knows his team cannot take the Steelers lightly, even if they, too, are missing some key pieces for Sunday's game.
"What we’ve seen on film, [Pickett's] extremely poised, makes quick decisions, gets the ball out, puts stress on the defense," McDermott said. "They’ve got really good skill players, which are matchup concerns and problems, and so he’s done a great job to this point all the way through preseason into the Jets game this past week and put them in position to potentially win the game there. Very impressed, at this point, by their quarterback."
Hear more of McDermott’s appearance on the “Extra Point Show” in the player below: