1 - Step up time for Jonathan WilliamsHe's been the third stringer just about all season, but today Jonathan Williams is seen as LeSean McCoy's primary backup in Buffalo's top ranked rushing attack.
Bills head coach Rex Ryan qualified the pecking order behind McCoy knowing they also have Reggie Bush on their roster, calling Bush and Williams No. 2 and 2-A. But Bush has been a specialty player and has been used sparingly.
Williams has 17 carries to Bush's nine and has been far more effective rushing for 61 yards to Bush's minus-two.
"They'll both spell McCoy," said Ryan.
Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn has liked what he's seen from the rookie tailback.
"Jonathan is a very instinctive runner," Lynn said. "He can find the soft spot in the defense. He's not as explosive as Mike, but I have no problem with Jonathan picking up first downs and helping us win games."
Williams believes getting this opportunity now in Week 12 as opposed to early in the season benefits him greatly.
"It's huge," Williams told Buffalobills.com. "Getting through most of this season has allowed me to prepare and get used to being in football shape and running and cutting. And the mental aspect as well, getting over the hump of learning the playbook and learning protections and seeing the defense. It definitely helps a lot. You know your guys up front. Who pulls faster? What type of block to expect from Richie (Incognito), and different things like that. You know your teammates better as well after 10 games, so it all helps out."
The fifth-round pick has worked to prepare like a professional every week and believes that preparation is what has him relaxed and confident going into Sunday's game.
"Every week me and Mike (Gillislee) and Reggie (Bush) we all get ready throughout the week like we're going to be the starter," he said. "That way when times like this come it's not a surprise to me. I don't change the way I prepare because I do it the same every week to be ready. I'm excited to see what happens and if I get an opportunity, but the most important thing is to come out of it with a win."
2 - Rotation expected at safetyThe Bills had five safeties on their roster heading into the season opener. Only two from that original group of five remain on the active roster. Colt Anderson and Aaron Williams wound up on injured reserve while Duke Williams was released two weeks ago. Robert Blanton joined them on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury last week in Cincinnati.
Just Corey Graham and Jonathan Meeks have made it successfully to Week 12.
Sergio Brown and James Ihedigbo have been added to the safety contingent as reinforcements the last couple of weeks.
Heading into today's game the defensive staff is planning to use a combination of players in the safety spot formerly occupied by Blanton.
"We're going to play a combination of guys out there and see how it goes, but Ihedigbo will play more out there than he did last week," said Rex Ryan.
Ihedigbo played 25 percent of the snaps (18 total) last week in Cincinnati. Meeks is likely to see some rotational work. Another option could be CB Corey White, who has some limited experience at safety. White's cover skills could make him a more versatile option to that of Ihedigbo or Meeks.
Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman knows with different players rotating in and out from series to series and in some cases from play to play, getting everyone in sync will be critical.
"Communication is always going to be the key in a situation like that," Thurman said. "Guys get comfortable being back there with certain guys, so the guy who comes in has to be on top of his stuff to communicate the defense, the calls and get them out in a manner so nobody is back there not knowing what to do."
3 - Bills cover men have respect for Jags receiving trioThe Jaguars might be without their top two tight ends in this game in Marcedes Lewis (I-R) and Julius Thomas (back), but their trio of talented receivers had Buffalo's cornerbacks putting in as much time as possible this week to prep for the Jaguars passing game threats.
Allen Robinson has scored touchdowns in each of the last three games. Marqise Lee is playing the most consistent ball in his career with injury problems behind him. And Allen Hurns is now working primarily out of the slot.
"Hurns, 88, I feel like he's the best receiver on the team," said Nickell Robey-Coleman. "Real good guy, big, tall, can run, run all of their routes. Robinson, 15, is a good receiver. He can move, got some good little speed on him, probably not the fastest of all three, but he's a great receiver. Got great hands, looks the ball in, he's a go-to guy too."
Robey-Coleman is all too familiar with Lee, who is finally emerging in his third NFL season. Buffalo's corner went against him daily when they were college teammates at USC.
"Marquise Lee has more speed than the other two," Robey Coleman said. "I played against him a lot at USC, so I kind of know him already. [He's] got good speed, can run routes, but I can see they're trying to give him the ball a little bit more than normal. They're trying to spread the ball around. Blake [Bortles] loves 88 though. He loves 88, he loves 15, so he's going to try to get those guys the ball."
"They're talented," said defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman. "They're a talented group. Robinson, Hurns, Marqise Lee. They have guys who can play. So they're going to go out and compete and we have to go out and compete and get our job done."