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Next Man Up | Bills will lean on team's depth heading into Week 4

Jaquan Johnson (46). Buffalo Bills Week 1 practice, September 7, 2021.  Photo by Ben Green
Jaquan Johnson (46). Buffalo Bills Week 1 practice, September 7, 2021. Photo by Ben Green

Sean McDermott announced this morning on WGR 550 that Jordan Poyer (ankle) and Jon Feliciano (concussion) will be out for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

The Bills have talented depth at many positions on the roster and they will have to step up this week to fill in for those starters. McDermott has instilled the next man up mentality into this locker room and knows his players will be ready for the challenge.

"Yeah, a lot of confidence," McDermott said before Friday's practice. "Same thing with the offensive line. A lot of confidence with the depth of our football team. Injuries happen so it's an opportunity for a guy to step up and show us what he has."

Safeties Jaquan Johnson, Damar Hamlin and Josh Thomas will all be in the mix to fill in for Poyer. Up to this point, Poyer has only missed one game (Wk. 7 - 2017) since he came to Buffalo. His 60 consecutive regular season starts ranks third among all safeties and his 60 consecutive games played ranks fourth. 

This Sunday's game will be a good test of the team's depth with the safety position being crucial for the communication of the defense. Tremaine Edmunds thinks that the linebacker and safety positions are very similar in terms of commanding the defense. The team will miss Poyer against Houston, but Edmunds is confident that the backups are ready to take advantage of their opportunity.

"First of all, let me say Jordan (Poyer) is a big-time player as you say, but I think guys understand that in this league things come up and it's the next man up," Edmunds said after practice. "I think our guys are ready. They've been looking really good at practice, making calls, making the checks they should make, and being in the right position. I have no doubt in my mind that they will go out and execute at a high level. Now it's just about going out on the field on Sunday and executing."

Bills guard Jon Feliciano will miss his eighth game since coming to Buffalo in 2019. He's played and started in 12 straight games since he came back in Week 8 of last season off the pec injury he suffered in the 2020 offseason. In his absence this week, the Bills have Ike Boettger, Ryan Bates and Spencer Brown who could fill in for the injured lineman. Out of the three, Boettger has the most starting experience, starting the seven games Feliciano missed last season. 

Whatever configuration of linemen the Bills coaching staff think is best for Sunday, Dion Dawkins knows that this offensive line won't miss a beat against the Texans. 

"The great thing is that the organization has done a great job of getting the right guys here with depth all over the team, honestly, not just the o-line," Dawkins stated. "Things happen in football, guys go up, guys go down, and opportunities present themself. And in this league, when opportunities present itself, guys are usually ready. So, we have guys that come in, that have been in, that have been here. There's no hiccup, there's no change. It's just a different face. But whatever needs to be done to win a game, that's what we're here to honestly do, is to win games."

On the Bills' Friday injury report, Taron Johnson (groin) did not practice and Efe Obada (ankle) was a full participant, and both are questionable for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.

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