Apparently, it was more than an illness that led to Ronald Darby being benched by the Buffalo Bills in Week Nine.
Upon returning from their bye week Monday, Corey White lined up with the first team in Darby's usual spot. Afterward, White said coaches told him it would be an "open competition" for the job opposite Stephon Gilmore in the secondary.
"I've just been working all year," White said. "Never let down. Never give up. Just keep battling, because you never know what opportunity you might get."
Darby was benched in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks after 19 defensive snaps, with coach Rex Ryan explaining after the game that the second-year veteran was sick.
Darby, however, downplayed his illness Monday, saying "they're the coaches" when asked about the lineup change.
"Just got to look at yourself in the mirror, work on what you’ve been doing wrong," he said. "It’s frustrating, but at the end of the day, I’m young, I’m going to learn from my mistakes. I’ve been through rough times before. It’ ain’t nothing new."
Darby gave up a 50-yard completion to Doug Baldwin on Seattle's second play, then later took a pass-interference penalty in the second quarter that helped set up another Seahawks touchdown on the next play.
"It’s been up and down," he said of his season. "Y’all see it. I don’t get what you’re trying to ask me. Just got to keep pushing. ... It could be technique. At the end of the day, plays going to get made on you. It’s the NFL. They’re getting paid, too."
After a phenomenal rookie season that included 21 passes defensed and two interceptions, Darby has fallen into a sophomore slump. He has just nine passes defensed in eight games -- missing Week Three because of a hamstring injury -- and no interceptions.
That would explain why the Bills are willing to at least give White a look at earning the starting job in practice.
"Looking forward to this week and the challenges," White said. "It's my fifth year in the league. I've seen everything. I've started, come off the bench, so it's nothing to me, really."
Whether it's White or Darby in the lineup Sunday, the Bills will need a better performance out of their secondary in Week 11. Heading into their Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Bengals have the fifth-ranked passing attack in he league.
"I’ll be game ready when it comes to Sunday," White said. "I’m going to stay focused mentally, study these guys and we’ll what happens. They've got one of the best quarterback-receiver tandems in the league. We’re going to prepare and try not to let AJ Green beat us."
White has played in 59 career games, with 21 starts. During the 2014 season in New Orleans, he started nine times.