Quick Hits: Bills return to the practice field healthy heading into Miami week

Devin Singletary. Buffalo Bills Week 5 practice at One Bills Drive, October 2, 2019. Photo by Bill Wippert
Devin Singletary. Buffalo Bills Week 5 practice at One Bills Drive, October 2, 2019. Photo by Bill Wippert

1. Bills are healthy coming out of the bye week

The Bills were a nicked up group going into the bye week after a very physical battle against the Titans in Week 5, but heading into their practice week in preparation for Miami, Buffalo is a relatively healthy group.

“Matt Milano and Corey Thompson will be limited today,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “Lorenzo (Alexander) and Ty Nsekhe will get (veteran) rest days. Other than that, everyone else will practice.”

Milano is dealing with a hamstring injury suffered at Tennessee, while Thompson is returning from an ankle scope a few weeks ago.

The good news is that Devin Singletary and Taron Johnson, who have missed the last few games will be full participants, as well as Cody Ford and Trent Murphy. Ford and Murphy have been in the concussion protocol after leaving the Week 5 game against the Titans with head injuries.

This also likely means that TE Tyler Kroft will be returning to practice for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury in practice prior to the team’s Week 3 game against Cincinnati.

2. Ed Oliver coming along

Rookie first-round pick, Ed Oliver, may not be putting up a lot of crooked numbers in the stat column on defense, but in no way is that an indication that his play has not been effective for Buffalo’s defense.

Head coach Sean McDermott sees the situation with Oliver as a learning process.

“It’s about bringing along a young player,” McDermott said. “Learning how to play in this league, handling one-on-one confrontations, learning how to play in our system. And we need to remember that it’s a very unselfish position. Sometimes you don’t hear from defensive tackles when they’re doing their job, but the minute a defensive tackle gets out of his gap, then we have a problem and you notice it. It’s a real fine line with what the job description for a defensive tackle and I feel like we’re moving in the right direction with our young players including Ed in this case.”

One of the reasons McDermott remains encouraged with where Oliver’s personal game is headed is his unrelenting approach to every single snap he’s on the field.

“He’s young and we have a small sample size at this point. I love how hard he plays,” he said. “Sometimes that’s half the battle, how hard you play game in and game out.”

Among defensive linemen on the roster, Oliver stands second on the roster to Jordan Phillips. He also has a batted pass and a pair of quarterback hits.

3. Steering clear of overconfidence

The Bills might be a 16.5-point favorite this week against Miami, but don’t tell the players in Buffalo’s locker room or their head coach that they can relax this week. It’s not going to happen.

“We focus internally quite a bit on that,” said McDermott. “Having a chance to watch some games last week during the bye, you’re reminded of a couple of things, and we talked about this as a team, namely it’s a week-to-week battle. You can throw records out the window. Records really don’t matter in this league with all do respect to the football gods. This is the best of the best in the world and you have to be on your ‘A’ game every week.”

McDermott has worked to build a team culture that embraces a narrow focus on each opponent as they come up on the schedule each week.

“I’m confident in our player-driven leadership,” he said. “We have a process in place that we focus on and take games one week at a time. That said, we respect every opponent, so we have to continue to improve. If you stay where you are you’re going to get beat in this league. So you have to continue to grow every week. That’s what we’re focused on.”

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