Here's the news of note for Dec. 18th.
1 - Safety will be double dose of CoreyThe wide receiver position is far and away the hardest hit by injury on offense this season. On defense it's unquestionably been the safety spot. More shuffling took place this week, with James Ihedigbo going on injured reserve with a broken fibula this week.
Cornerback Corey White has been playing more and more at safety the past two games and is starting to get more accustomed to the looks and reads back there. Head coach Rex Ryan said with Ihedigbo out for the rest of the season, White will be taking on the majority of Ihedigbo's snaps on defense.
"He's going to fill most of it, but we've got some other things that we're planning on doing. So we'll use some other guys as well. But Corey is becoming a little more comfortable there."
In Week 13, White played 49 snaps to Ihedigbo's 38. Last week the playing time flipped a bit. Ihedigbo had 46 snaps to White's 29. For White, who hasn't played their on a regular basis since college, he's settling in.
"I'm getting there," said White of his transition to safety. "I'm starting to get a feel for it. Maybe it's a home for me next year. Who knows? But I'm getting more comfortable out there. Ed Reed is helping me out a lot."
White admits that he feels like he's got a bullseye on his chest knowing opponents will see him playing in a new spot. But he goes into games confident.
"If anyone is doing their research and looking at film I would go at me too," he said. "I think I'm targeted every week though. So I just do my job. Handle what I can handle within the framework of the defense and just try to make plays."
Corey White will be paired with Corey Graham on Sunday.
2 - Expecting the unexpectedThe Bills didn't have to go far in their film study to see that the Browns at 0-13 aren't afraid to call any kind of play they feel like running. Time and score have mattered little for Cleveland as they'll make high risk play calls in an effort to make a game changing play.
"I see some of the things that they're doing that are unconventional like going for it in the first quarter when you're backed up 4th-and-1 from the minus-21," said head coach Rex Ryan. "That's not conventional. Faking punts and all that stuff, and it's gotten them in trouble quite honestly."
Midway through the second quarter against the Bengals last week down 13-0 to Cincinnati, with a drive start at their own two-yard line, the Browns called a flea flicker pass. It was thrown from their own end zone for Terrelle Pryor and was ultimately intercepted by the Bengals and returned to the Browns 26.
Cincinnati scored a touchdown on the drive and essentially put the game away in the first half. Buffalo defenders however, don't want to be the victim on a play like that, which could come at any time.
"You've got to definitely be aware of things like that," said White. "Within the defense, our rules take care of a lot of that stuff. As long as we're good with our technique and our eyes we should be fine. Hopefully if they try any of that stuff, it'll be really cold and really snowy, so who knows. I'm expecting them to run a lot from what they put on film last week. So we'll see."
The forecast is for snow today, though not as much as the Bills saw last week against Pittsburgh.
3 - Good vibes on Watkins footWhen the Bills designated Sammy Watkins as their player to return off injured reserve, nothing was guaranteed. Coming back from foot issues post-surgery, the dynamic receiver could've lasted one day in practice and never set foot on a game field for all they knew. There was no medical data to give anyone a clear picture as to whether or how long Watkins foot would or could hold up. Through the last three games, Watkins' workload has gone from 45 to 68 to 94 percent of the offensive snaps.
"We've been pleasantly surprised," said Bills GM Doug Whaley. "We weren't sure how long he'd be able to hold up, but that's a testament to him, our training staff and our medical staff. Obviously he's not 100 percent, but an 80-90 percent Sammy looks pretty good to me. And I'm sure everybody would agree."
"Right now I'm feeling really good," said Watkins. "Some of the things I couldn't do, I'm doing now."
When asked about the possibility of needing a second surgery after the season, Watkins said that's a bridge they haven't crossed yet.
"It's really up to me. If I feel like I don't need a second surgery I'm not going to get it," he said. "And if I do. If it starts to tweak or hurt then I'll get it. But right now I feel really good."
"Offseason, we'll sit down with the medical staff and look at the best plan going forward to make sure he's ready for next year so we won't be dealing with these issues," said Whaley. "So we're excited, but that's a testament to Sammy. He's a true competitor and also our medical staff."