Jairus Byrd and Drayton Florence saw a good amount of playing time in last Sunday's game. With injuries suffered by Leodis McKelvin and Donte Whitner in last week's contest, both Byrd and Florence could find themselves starting come Sunday if the regulars are not fit to play by the weekend.
McKelvin is out indefinitely with a cracked fibula in his right leg. Head coach Dick Jauron said on Monday that he'll be out longer than Whitner, who had thumb surgery Monday. Jauron described Whitner as week-to-week though he did not rule him out for Sunday's game at Miami.
Florence stepped in and capably manned Buffalo's right cornerback position for McKelvin against the Saints. He had an assisted tackle and a pass breakup as he was rarely challenged with New Orleans run game gaining consistent yardage in the latter stages of the game.
Jauron indicated that Florence would start for McKelvin this weekend.
"Drayton finished the game and Drayton is a seasoned performer," said the Bills head coach. "We'll look at it through the week, but I would say probably Drayton."
Florence has 51 starts in his career and is arguably the most physical corner on the roster at 6'0" and 195 pounds. Prior to a knee injury suffered in training camp Florence was the team's nickel corner and the primary backup on the outside.
In his absence however, Reggie Corner and Ashton Youboty had been the next corners on the field to defend spread formations.
The more precarious situation exists at safety. Not so much because Whitner will be replaced in the lineup by a rookie in Byrd, but because veteran Bryan Scott's availability is also in doubt.
Taken for MRIs after suffering an ankle injury last Sunday, Scott along with Whitner figure to each be questionable at best for the Week 4 matchup at Miami. If Scott cannot play on Sunday it's expected that George Wilson would be the next safety to come off the bench.
"We're not certain about Donte, which is why I said we'll go week to week with that," said Jauron. "And also with Bryan we'll know more about that as the week goes on."
The good news is Byrd has seen time on the field in each of the first three games this season, with a good number of reps on defense in Week 1 and Week 3.
"He's a good football player and he'll just get better," said Jauron. "He missed a lot of time in the offseason for us and the training camp. So he's catching up and he's catching on."
For Byrd, who has nine tackles on the season, more time on the field is a prospect that has him eager to contribute even more than he has to this point on the defensive side of the ball.
"It's exciting," he said. "I was brought here to play and I'm excited about the opportunity and I'm going to make the best of it."
Byrd knows that he could very well be a target if he winds up starting this Sunday, but is not intimidated by that possibility in the least.
"You just make sure you do your job really," said Byrd. "We have veterans out there like Drayton Florence and Terrence McGee and they help me out a lot. As long as I'm doing my job we'll be fine."
Even the possibility of being down three of the team's four starting defensive backs does not have the confident Byrd concerned.
"You've just got to stick together, help each other out, have each other's back and just fight from there," he said. "We know it's going to be an uphill battle for us, but I think we're ready for it."