Gaines expected to play for Bills Sunday; Jenkins could suit up

Sean McDermott said the Bills like their new LBs athleticism

Sal Capaccio
September 13, 2017 - 1:02 pm

Photo: Jasen Vinlove - USA TODAY Sports


The Bills got back to work Wednesday in preparation for the Carolina Panthers. Cornerback E.J. Gaines, who injured his shoulder in last Sunday’s 21-12 win over the New York Jets, was limited in practice, but head coach Sean McDermott said he expects Gaines to play Sunday in Carolina.

Jerel Worthy wasn’t seen at practice. The defensive tackle missed week one while in concussion protocol. The only other player who wasn’t available last week due to injury was LB Tanner Vallejo, but he was back on the field Wednesday, along was newly signed LB Jelani Jenkins, who will wear No. 53.  

McDermott said Jenkins will start off playing outside linebacker, but has the ability to play all spots along the second level. He also didn’t rule out Jenkins playing on Sunday. “Well, we’re going to look at that,” McDermott told reporters. “I mean, Jelani’s played in this league, both defensively and special teams. He’s played outside mostly, so that’s where we’ll start him off. The important part now is just acclimating him to our system and what we do and getting him comfortable so he can play fast.”

The five-year veteran is considered a good athlete with ability to cover running backs and tight ends and go sideline-sideline against the run. Nine of Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton’s fourteen completions last week were to running backs or tight ends. 

McDermott said it was Jenkins' overall athleticism that attracted the Bills to him. “(He) came from a good system years ago at the University of Florida and some of the athletic attributes we look for on linebackers,” he said. “He can run, he can diagnose, very instinctive player, so those are some of the things we saw on tape.”

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