The start of the Bills 2022 season is now one week away. The 53-man roster has been set and the first game against the Los Angeles Rams is right around the corner.
Bills GM Brandon Beane spoke to the media on Thursday to talk about key topics heading into the season, including Tre White's status, the roster decisions and more.
Here are the top things to know from Beane's press conference.
Tre White expected to still play a 'considerable number of games'
CB Tre'Davious White (ACL) was placed on the Reserve/PUP list earlier this week, meaning he will be out at least the first four games of the regular season. While Beane wouldn't say whether or not White is on track to play Week 5 when he's eligible to return, he did say they are working on finalizing a timetable within the club on how to approach White's return.
"I don't want to say he's 100 percent playing Week 5, which is the first time he could be out there. But we'll put a good plan in place. I know he's got another doctor visit scheduled here upcoming. I think that will give us a good idea. I think we're closing in on a timeline for him internally," Beane said.
The Bills tried to extend the timeframe as long as possible to see if White could potentially be ready for the season opener, but with the deadline earlier this week to set the 53-man roster, the best course of action was to not rush White back and give him more time to rehab. White has been working out on the side during practices without pads or a helmet and Beane said the CB has not suffered any sort of setback during this process.
"Tre's in a good spot. He's really working hard," Beane said. "It's still going to be a long season. I think he'll play a considerable number of games."
Martin officially joins the Bills
The Bills officially inked former Broncos punter Sam Martin to a one-year deal on Wednesday. Martin, 32, has been one of the more consistent punters in the league since entering the NFL in 2013. His 44.1 average net yards per punt in 2021 ranked fifth in the NFL.
Beane said one of the attributes that appealed most about Martin was his accuracy.
"He's a guy that's really good at directional (punting), placing the ball, especially if you're talking getting it from minus 40 or minus 45, over to the plus side, those areas where you're trying to get them not only inside the 20, but down closer to the 10," Beane said. "You didn't see him missing and booting those balls in the end zone a lot. It's that sand wedge shot, getting to stick. I think that's the best thing."
Martin's punting mechanics — his quickness getting off a punt after the snap and his hangtime — are traits that should translate well in Buffalo, especially in the winter.
"I think he's been in the league nine years, he's had one career kick blocked, so his get off time, touch-to-toe, all that good stuff. He's a pro, I think he'll slide right in," Beane said.
Difficult decisions when making the 53-man roster
Roster cutdown week is always tough for the coaching staff and front office, but perhaps even more so this season due to the depth of the Bills roster. Several players, Beane shared, were deserving of a roster spot but there wasn't enough space to keep everyone he had hoped.
"You've got to do the best, in this seat, to pick the best 53," Beane said. "I was trying every which way I could, to figure out how to keep about 56, but the rules are the rules.
Beane was asked about the difficult choices made about key positions, including wide receiver and running back. The GM was glad that a handful of players that couldn't be kept on the 53 — namely WR Isaiah Hodgins, RBs Duke Johnson and Raheem Blackshear were signed to the Bills practice squad.
As the team is a week away from the start of the 2022 NFL season, Beane is pleased with where the roster is heading into Week 1.
"I love our guys. I love our coaches. I think we got guys that have been going through some battles the last two seasons, they've played some really good football. They've played in some big games. Obviously, this will be another game on a national stage," Beane said.
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