While Bills offense has dealt with injuries, defense benefiting from continuity

The defense has had the same starters from Day 1 of the offseason

Sal Capaccio
June 12, 2019 - 4:18 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

The injuries on the offensive side of the ball for the Buffalo Bills this offseason have been well documented. Throughout OTAs and minicamp, there are usually at least five or six offensive players unable to participate due to injury or recovery from surgery. There’s another handful who are limited and only take part in their positional work, not able to do anything against the defense.

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Of course some of this is simply out of an abundance of caution. There’s no reason to take any chances with players who had any sort of issue going on this time of year. They’ll have a six-week break to get their bodies in tune for training camp starting at the end of July.

However, it’s not ideal to have so many players out and having to shuffle the offensive line and even wide receiving corps every day. Some of those players are projected as starters and not gaining important chemistry and continuity they want to have so they can hit the ground running at St. John Fisher next month.

While the offense deals with all of those injuries and personnel shuffling, the defense is a much different story. For pretty much every offseason workout, whether that was “Phase 1” or “Phase 2” or OTAs or mandatory minicamp this week, it’s been basically the same eleven players every single day and every single play. 

Here’s how it’s looked:

  • DE - Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy
  • DT - Star Lotulelei, Jordan Phillips
  • WLB - Matt Milano
  • MLB - Tremaine Edmunds
  • SLB - Lorenzo Alexander
  • CB - Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace
  • (Slot CB) - Taron Johnson
  • S - Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer

And that’s just the starting unit. The same has mostly gone for the second-team, as well. It’s been a tremendous benefit for defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s group to be out there together, all the time.

“It’s huge,” safety Micah Hyde told me after practice Wednesday. “Communication purposes. I know where (Jordan Poyer) is going to be at at all times. I know what calls he’s going to make. I know Tre’Davious (White). I know Tremaine (Edmunds), the defensive line, same thing. I know what gap they’re going to be in. So once you can pinpoint where everybody’s going to be and you know you’re job, and you know what you can’t mess up on, the sky’s the limit.”

It’s not just having so many players available this offseason and a minicamp that Hyde says will be big for them as they roll into the season. Going into his third year himself in this defensive system, the safety says how valuable it is for everyone to have yet another year with the same defensive coordinator and so many of the same players.

“I think there’s a lot more guys on this defense that understand the defense,” Hyde said about players being with each other and the same coaches for two even three years now. “With [Poyer> and myself going on our third year, after a play is called we discuss the play and do all that. But now there’s a lot more guys on this defense, whether it’s [Matt> Milano, Tremaine, obviously (Lorenzo Alexander) knows the defense. Tre’Davious. There’s a lot go guys who’ve been in this system for a while that we’re all talking the same, and the more brains that are on one page we’re going to be a lot better." 

Hyde and his defensive teammates will have one last day of mini camp on Thursday to have everything buttoned up before training camp.



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