There was hope in George Wilson's voice on Wednesday when he said he had a much better chance of returning to the lineup after missing the past two games with a neck stinger. The team doctors however, felt differently.
Not cleared for practice this week Wilson will miss his third consecutive game Sunday when the Bills host the Tennessee Titans.
"George didn't go again today," said head coach Chan Gailey following Friday's practice. "He's out."
For Wilson his absence from the lineup has been particularly frustrating. The co-captain has watched his team drop from the top contenders in the AFC playoff race. Still alive, but with no margin for error Wilson, who was also putting together his best individual season, was hoping he could help his team get a much needed victory this Sunday.
"It's been tough sitting on the sidelines watching a lot of that stuff take place," said Wilson. "It's not just on the secondary. Last week we had 20-plus mental errors. Any time you're making that many mistakes you're helping your opponents and it's tough to overcome those mistakes and get victories."
Head coach Chan Gailey earlier this season largely credited Wilson for keeping everyone in sync on the defensive side of the ball with his pre-snap communication.
Da'Norris Searcy has been a solid replacement for Wilson at strong safety, but with five rookies now seeing a lot of playing time on the defensive side of the ball the continuity and consistency of play has been somewhat compromised.
"It's been average," said Gailey of the on field communication by the younger players. "They're not there yet. It's hurt us big a few times the lack of communication. So that's an area for improvement."
Buffalo's defense held Mark Sanchez to just 180 passing yards last week and Miami's Matt Moore to 160 the week before. The problem has been in the red zone where the Bills have allowed their opponents to score touchdowns on each of the last 13 trips inside Buffalo's 20-yard line.
"Our effort has been fine, but effort doesn't win us games," said Aaron Williams. "You have the task of your responsibilities and when you're in a position to get off the field that's what we've got to do."
Lindell doubtfulKicker Rian Lindell is also out for Sunday's game.
"Rian kicked some on the side," said Gailey. "We've got him listed as doubtful, but I don't think we'll play him this week."
This will be the fourth game missed by Buffalo's most accurate all-time kicker.