This past offseason the Bills signed veteran free agent safety Rafael Bush. Buffalo knew they were quite fortunate to have both Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer as a tandem for 15 of the 16 starts in 2017. So Bush was signed as insurance in the event that one of the starters sustained an injury that would keep them out of the lineup.
That plan was put into action last week when Hyde left in the first quarter with a groin injury. Bush, who had a strong training camp, proved himself capable of filling the void. But now, he too is nicked up.
"Rafael Bush has a shoulder injury," said head coach Sean McDermott. "He'll be listed as day to day."
The hope naturally is that Bush can recover in time to play on Sunday in Hyde's role, knowing Hyde has what McDermott called a week-to-week injury.
If not, the duty would fall to rookie Siran Neal, who saw some time on defense last week at Green Bay in addition to his special teams role.
"He did a good job in the game (last week)," said McDermott of Neal. "When your number is called when you're not the primary starter you've got to be ready and that starts with preparation. I was proud of the way he stepped up and executed at a key moment in the game. He got a sack on a guy who is not easy to sack. He did some good things."
McCoy's workload must increase
Through the three games in which McCoy has appeared he's averaging about 10 touches per game. Part of it has been due to the games getting lopsided on the scoreboard early. Part of it has been an inability to reset the line of scrimmage to open up rush lanes for the running backs. Regardless, McDermott firmly believes that his feature back should be more involved in the offensive production be it rushing or receiving.
"We have to make adjustments offensively, just with the overall running game," McDermott said. "We had 30-something passes compared to mid-teens of runs (last week). We have to make sure we establish the line of scrimmage, whether it's LeSean, Chris (Ivory), Marcus (Murphy) or Taiwan (Jones). We've got to get the run game going."
At the same time McDermott knows their offensive play calling has to be mindful of how the opposing defense is playing them that week as well.
"Without talking strategy too much, you've got to make sure that you're establishing the line of scrimmage, but also take what the defense is giving you," he said. "So it's a double-headed deal there."
Lineup changes a possibility
Coach McDermott has been asked about it before after less than desired results in games. How realistic are lineup changes to get better performance?
Buffalo's head coach never rules it out as he enforces an "earn everything" approach to practice each week.
"We'll see," said McDermott of changing lineups. "We'll take it one day at a time. We're always trying to put our best players on the field together. Evaluating our personnel is a day to day, in this case a week-to-week thing.
"When things aren't the way you want them, you do an assessment internally and make the appropriate adjustments. And that's what we're trying to get done here."
At the same time, McDermott is trying to give the offensive and defensive units time to jell, knowing the turnover that occurred this past offseason as well as the newness of things on offense in terms of scheme
"If you go across our roster, they're new to us, whether it's first year in the league or first year with the Bills and how we want things done with techniques," he said. "We have a new offensive system. The defense is early part of the second year in, so (the inconsistency) is a part of it as you go through it."