Buffalo's already inexperienced secondary will go into Sunday's game touting even fewer experienced players than at the season opener. With Ron Brooks recovering from surgery stemming from a broken foot and Stephon Gilmore still recuperating from wrist surgery, the Bills will bring two new additions into the rotation.
"When you bring in newer players, or players that haven't been with you before, it's like double duty," Head Coach Doug Marrone told Buffalobills.com. "We just want to make sure we've covered ourselves and have enough people back there so we don't fall into a situation where we're short."
The team will look to Brandon Burton, a cornerback the team signed off waivers less than two weeks ago, and Johnny Adams, a cornerback addition from the practice squad, to contribute positively in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
Marrone's staff, along with veteran players, are supporting the fresh talent and bringing them up to speed. Along with extra coaching, experienced players are spending extra time and offering up advice.
"If you do what your responsibility is...you'll play well," veteran defensive back Jim Leonhard said. "With young guys we just have to reiterate that every single day. Go out there and play your techniques and good things will happen."
Adams, who was signed to the practice squad as an undrafted free agent in 2013, said he's got an edge on picking up techniques, practice and the playbook quickly thanks to his time with the team.
"It's not like taking the SAT's again, but it's muscle memory about how you've got to react on certain things. You've got to bring it from the classroom to the field," he said.
Burton, who is in his third season in the NFL, said he seeks out constructive criticisms from coaches and players like Leonhard.
"I'm feeling good, I'm starting to get the system down pat," Burton said. "I've got a good majority of the playbook down, if not all of it, and I'm just trying to get better and better with the techniques."
With a six-foot, 185-pound stature, Burton said he is confident in handling aggressive play, but also is quick enough to run with receivers.
"You just have to go out there and play confident," he said. "The ball is going to come your way, it's just making a play on it, and then making him regret coming your way."
Burton said Utah's defensive scheme prepared him well for his role in Buffalo's defense.
"I think one reason they brought me in is because I played in a system like this in college. It's kind of like your first bike. It's what you know," he said.
Both Burton and Adams said they stay for extra time with the defensive coaches, and treat all work like game time. Veteran strong safety Aaron Williams said that is benefitting the team.
"I feel like practice is much harder than it is in the game," Williams said. "We have such good guys on the opposite side of the ball to help prepare us. There's no holes, there's just a lot of strengths in our defense."
Williams said in preparing for Sunday's game, he's telling all of the players to stick to their assignments so Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has fewer options. Leonhard said he's working with the team on group communication.
"Obviously Cam is very versatile. He can hurt you with his arm, and hurt you with his legs, and the (Panthers) have a great running game," Leonhard said. "It always comes down to communication and technique.
Carolina's offense netted 254 yards in its last game against the Seahawks, scoring over half of their yards with the run.
Williams said the team, along with their new additions, will be ready come game time for anything Newton throws at them.
"We're going to get ready and prepare for a W on Sunday," he said.