Bills still working on solidifying second CB position
The last two weeks, two different CBs have started alongside top cornerback Tre'Davious White in the Bills' secondary, continuing a season-long trend with different combinations for that unit — whether that be due to injury or game planning by the coaching staff.
In the Week 13 game against the Patriots, White resumed the role of Buffalo's No. 1 corner and veteran Xavier Rhodes opposite him as the other starter. 10 days later against the Jets, Rhodes was a healthy inactive and the No. 2 corner switched over to Dane Jackson, who played all 74 snaps on Sunday and recorded two pass breakups. White also played the whole game.
While rookie CB Kaiir Elam was active, he did not enter the game. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier spoke more in depth about the game plan in the secondary.
"We were thinking about and had intentions of getting (Kaiir) in the ballgame," Frazier shared. "But the way the game was going and the way Dane was playing, we just let it ride the way it was going. It worked out for our team."
Though the Bills defense as a whole has allowed an average of 11 points per game the last two weeks, there's still some uncertainty for the team's No. 2 CB and it's something head coach Sean McDermott wants to shore up during the final stretch of the regular season.
"Ideally you've got a guy locked in over there. So we're still obviously working on that and we'll continue to work on it until we find it," he said.
As for Elam, who has not played a snap on defense the last two weeks, the coaching staff is preaching patience to the first-year player and making sure he knows he can still be in the mix.
"He played a lot for us early on, and we do want to get him back in the rotation and that's the goal going forward," Frazier said.
Having strong play from the cornerbacks will be one of the keys to the game this week with the Miami Dolphins coming to town. Though the Dolphins offense hasn't found rhythm the last two weeks (17 ppg), they still are the only team with two WRs with over 1,000 yards on the season in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
Expect Tre White to be tasked with one of those assignments as the CB shadowed the Jets top WR Garrett Wilson on Sunday. The coaching staff has been impressed with White in the three games he's played since returning from the ACL injury; he's increased his snap count from 16 to 31 to 74 since Thanksgiving.
"He did a lot of good things that really encourages us as a staff that he's back to being that guy that we can count on and trust," Frazier said. "He's still really, really good as a player and that's one of the reasons we felt comfortable matching him with Garrett."
Dorsey: Bills offense scratched and clawed during win
The Bills offense hasn't quite reached the same heights in recent weeks as it did during the first half of the season, but there still have been plenty of positives to take away, especially considering the Bills have won four in a row.
Though Buffalo's 20 points on Sunday were the fewest it scored in a game since their first matchup against the Jets, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey believes those low scoring, grind it out games are the type that translate come playoff time.
"I think games like that are hugely important for an offense moving forward," he said. "Anytime you play against a tough opponent who's really good on defense and you have to kind of scratch and claw for every yard you get, I mean that's playoff football right there. That's what it's gonna be."
QB Josh Allen admitted postgame on Sunday that the way the offense started the game and finished the game wasn't the way they hoped, but he was pleased that they were able to find a groove in the middle part to get a two-score lead. Dorsey agreed with that assessment and added that he still believes that offense is doing well enough to win games.
"I think we're definitely trending in the direction we need to be," Dorsey said.
One thing that both Dorsey and McDermott are prioritizing this week to get ready for the Dolphins is eliminating some of the dropped passes that prevented the Bills from moving the chains.
"It's just something that we're gonna focus on to make sure we're back to the fundamentals of coming back stronger to the ball, attacking the ball, making sure we're looking at all the way into the tuck, and focusing on the catch first," Dorsey said.
"Fundamentally, dropped some passes, and so we were just a little bit out of sync at times," McDermott said.
Injury update Week 15
The Bills have a short week to prepare for Saturday night's matchup against the Dolphins and McDermott updated the injury status of several players heading into the practice week.
OL Ryan Bates is day-to-day with an ankle injury and DT Ed Oliver is also day-to-day with a chest injury.
DT Jordan Phillips and FB Reggie Gilliam were out with injury against the Jets and McDermott said both players are improving heading into this week.