It appeared to be a forgone conclusion as early as Thursday when Seantrel Henderson's illness kept him practicing a second straight day. With Henderson unable to practice all week, and doubtful for Sunday's game, it's expected that Jordan Mills will make his first start for the Bills this weekend at right tackle.
"Coach Ryan and the coaches talk about next man up and always prepare like you're the starter," Mills told Buffalobills.com. "Every week I approach it like I'm the starter because every week someone could go down, get hurt."
Henderson, who is dealing with an illness, may be dressed for Sunday's game, but serve only in an emergency capacity.
Mills, who has 29 NFL starts under his belt as a two-year starter for Chicago at right tackle, has been on the roster for about five weeks and feels like he has a good grasp of Buffalo's offensive system.
"It's been good," he said. "Got here a few weeks ago and it was a lot of information to get down, but having the O-linemen, Eric Wood, Richie (Incognito), Cordy (Glenn), (Kraigh) Urbik and Gabe (Ikard) helping me with terminology and it's been good so far."
"I think he's picked things up quickly and he's just like everybody else-coming out to work every day, finding out what his responsibilities are and he's diligently approaching them," said offensive coordinator Greg Roman of Mills.
Head coach Rex Ryan confirmed earlier in the week that Mills had moved ahead of Cyrus Kouandjio as the team's swing tackle. Wholly familiar with the blocking techniques of offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, having worked with him the past two seasons in Chicago, Mills was in position to move up the depth chart if he demonstrated consistent play in practice.
Mills, who hasn't started a game since the Bears 2014 season finale almost a year ago, goes into the game confident after getting all the starter reps in practice this week. He felt it was critical to his preparation knowing the caliber of defense Buffalo is facing this week in the Texans.
"It takes you a long way and the defensive players we have here going against them and getting great looks, it goes a long way," Mills said. "Having that it's like you're in the game. J.J. Watt is a great player and simulating him is difficult, but every day prepares you like you're in the game already. Having the defensive players here it gets me ready and gets us ready for the game."