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Bills Notebook: McDermott uncertain about Dareus' availability for Sunday

Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus continues to be bothered by the right ankle problem that caused him to miss a large chunk of the Buffalo Bills' loss against the Carolina Panthers Sunday.

Dareus did not practice Wednesday, and coach Sean McDermott was uncertain about the defensive tackle's availability for this Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.

"I am concerned," McDermott said. "It's day to day at this point and we've got to make sure that we have a contingency plan in place."

Dareus worked on the sidelines while wearing a boot-like brace on his ankle.

With Jerel Worthy still in concussion protocol, the Bills decided to add to defensive tackle by re-signing Deandre Coleman Wednesday. The other healthy players they have at the position besides starter Kyle Williams are Adolphus Washington and Cedric Thornton.

Offensive tackle Cordy Glenn also missed Wednesday's session with an injury to his right foot. Glenn had been bothered by left ankle and foot soreness.

Defensive end Shaq Lawson was held out of practice with a nerve contusion in his right foot, but, McDermott said he was "confident at this point that he's really on a day to day basis. The progress that he made from the weekend up until (Tuesday) has been significant, so we're encouraged by that."

Running back LeSean McCoy and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander each received the day off from practice.

Tight end Charles Clay (knee), safety Colt Anderson (foot) and linebackers Deon Lacey (hamstring) and Matt Milano (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.

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In the face of calls for a quarterback change, McCoy defended the starter he currently has.

The Bills' running back said Wednesday that he was unaware of the Tyrod Taylor chatter and the mounting frustrations of fans who want to see a different quarterback under center (hello, Nathan Peterman!). But in the aftermath of their 9-3 loss in Carolina, and growing concerns about their offense, McCoy insisted that Taylor still is the right man for the job.

“I guess he gets blamed for everything,” he said before practice, when asked about Taylor’s detractors. “But I don’t think (he should be benched). Tyrod’s a hell of a player, man. He makes plays. Without him, we wouldn’t have had no shot last week. He made some plays, things weren’t blocked well, he got out of it. Certain plays, I didn’t help him out. The whole week (we were) stressing, ‘Shady, on certain plays, get to the outside.’ I tried to cut back inside, but you guys don’t see that and a lot of people don’t see those type of things but he’ll get blamed for it.

“I haven't heard that yet, but I’m sure that that’ll start up,” he added, referring to the clamor for a new starting quarterback. “…I have a lot of confidence in Tyrod, and the guys on the team and the offense do too.”

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Taylor and his new receivers are still getting to know each other. That's one explanation the Bills' quarterback offered Wednesday for the team's struggles in their passing game the past two weeks.

The inability of Taylor and his top three wideouts — Andre Holmes, Jordan Matthews and rookie Zay Jones — to do much through the air accounts for the Bills ranking 27th in the NFL in passing offense.

"It's a work in progress," Taylor told reporters. "You're not going to learn guys within two weeks or three weeks. Sometimes, it takes a full season.

"But we're doing our best to get on the same page, day in and day out, staying back after practice, talking over film, just trying to get on the same page and making sure we're seeing the same thing. But it's not going to be something that happens overnight. It's over time and we're working hard, that's for sure, to get on the same page."

Another element of the offense that doesn't happen overnight is Taylor being allowed to audible.

"We're getting to that," he said. "As you progress in the offense, as I progress in my relationship with Rico (offensive coordinator Rick Dennison), the comfort level of him allowing me to do that. On the certain packages we definitely have plays that I can audible (out of), but it's not a free-range thing every play."

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As McDermott sees it, the Bills don’t need different wide receivers. They just need their current ones to do a better job of doing their job.

Asked Wednesday if he has enough speed at the position, the Bills head coach gave the expected head-coaching answer.

“I do feel we have enough speed in the receiving corps. I do,” McDermott said, three days after McCoy, his star running back, led the offense with 34 receiving yards on six catches in Sunday's 9-3 loss to Carolina. “And that’s an area we’ve got to work on. You come out of two games and you do a ‘needs’ analysis (and you’re saying), ‘What do we have to get better at?’ And that is one of the areas we need to improve on: winning the one-on-ones. Whether physically or with speed, find ways to win one-on-one matchups.”

The Bills have yet to figure out how to do that, though.

The casual observer can see this team misses Sammy Watkins, the former face of the franchise who in August was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round draft pick. But McDermott maintained his confidence in his unit and stressed the importance of taking advantage of matchups.

“We certainly have to work on getting better separation and winning our one-on-ones,” the coach said. “And that’s just not the receivers; that’s our backs, our tight ends, up front. We’ve just got to do a better job of winning our one-on-ones.”

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In addition to Coleman, the Bills also re-signed defensive tackle Deandre Coleman and safety Robert Blanton.

They filled the spots on the 53-man roster vacated by Tuesday's cuts of safety Trae Elston and linebacker Jelani Jenkins. The Philadelphia Eagles, who have a habit of acquiring former Bills defensive backs, promptly picked up Elston off waivers.

The Bills released the 6-foot-5, 341-pound Coleman after this year's training camp. He joined the Bills' practice squad last year and was promoted to the active roster for the final five games of the regular season.

Blanton also was with the Bills last year, and was with the Dallas Cowboys through the offseason and preseason this year before his release on Sept. 2.

News Sports Reporter Kimberley A. Martin contributed to this report. 

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