Worthy out of concussion protocolIt took him almost a month, but DT Jerel Worthy is finally out of the concussion protocol. Head coach Sean McDermott confirmed that news on Wednesday as the defensive tackle was cleared for practice.
Worthy suffered a concussion in the team's final preseason game. He was hustling to pursue a ball carrier downfield and a teammate collided with him helmet to helmet as he too tried to make the tackle.
The four-year veteran is expected to play a key role in Buffalo's defensive tackle rotation after putting together a strong preseason. With Marcell Dareus still on the mend from an ankle injury suffered in Week 2, Worthy is expected to be dressed for Sunday's game as one of the team's four healthy defensive tackles.
Dareus meanwhile will be limited in Wednesday's practice. Head coach Sean McDermott said No. 99 isn't full go at this point.
"We're day to day right now," he said of Dareus. "He put in a lot of time over the weekend. The last two days those being Monday and Tuesday we feel like we're headed in the right direction."
Fixing run game at top of to-do listNo one has to tell head coach Sean McDermott that the run game has been unproductive the last two weeks. Facing a pair of strong run defenses (Denver, No. 1; Carolina, No. 6 in Wk 2) the run game proved difficult to get on track. Buffalo had to battle to average 2.57 yards per carry the past two weeks.
They've managed just 144 rushing yards combined in those two games after piling up 190 on the ground in Week 1. So, what to do?
"It's certainly something we have to continue to work on. Like a long list of other things we have to do, we have to get better. We've got to go back to work on it, which is why we practice. I look forward to watching us to improve because that's one of the areas we have to improve on no question."
LeSean McCoy has proven to be the focus of opposing defenses the past two games. The Bills feature back has managed just 30 yards on 26 carries against Carolina and Denver.
Buffalo also just has one rushing touchdown this season, a one-yard plunge by Mike Tolbert against the Jets.
The task gets no easier against another fast defensive unit in Atlanta that ranks ninth in the league against the run, allowing just 85 yards per game.
How history with Falcons head coach helpsFalcons head coach Dan Quinn was a graduate assistant coach at William & Mary when Bills head coach Sean McDermott was still a safety playing for The Tribe. The two aspiring football coaches crossed paths several times since then, and have developed a healthy respect for one another and what each has accomplished.
Quinn reached head coaching status in Atlanta in 2015 and last year took his Falcons team to the Super Bowl as NFC champions.
McDermott often talks with Quinn and reached out to the Falcons coach for some counsel on what the first year on the job as head coach is like in the NFL.
"He's been a tremendous help to me. He really has," said McDermott of Quinn. "Like a number of other coaches around the league and in other sports. He's been open to sharing his first couple of years to helping me in my first year. Whether it's dealing with what happens in your first year as far as what to expect.
"I know going as far as they went last year with the Super Bowl run that they were on, the experiences that came from that and sharing some of those valuable lessons that he learned along the way (was great). So that's been of great value and much appreciated on my part."
Even back in his final playing days at William & Mary, McDermott saw something in Quinn as a coach that convinced him he would be successful.
"Dan was one of those coaches that just had 'it.' He had a great way with players, yet he still had a tough-minded approach to the game," McDermott said. "Being a defensive player and a defensive coach and a head coach now I really appreciated that. He was close to the players, but not too close in terms of the relationships he was able to form. You just knew he had something even then when I was in college. It's been fun to watch his career."