John Miller and Jordan Mills have each withstood challenges this summer to remain the Buffalo Bills' starters at right guard and right tackle, respectively.
Coach Sean McDermott said Monday that both would be in the starting lineup for Sunday's regular-season opener against the New York Jets.
Miller, who had been the No. 1 right guard since the Bills made him a third-round draft pick from Louisville in 2015, seemed to be the most in danger of losing his spot after alternating practice and preseason-game reps with free-agent addition Vlad Ducasse. Ducasse was believed to have at least a slight edge by having previously worked with Bills offensive line coach Juan Castillo when they were with the Baltimore Ravens together.
"The competition between Vlad and John has been fun to watch, in terms of watching both of those players put their best foot forward," McDermott said. "Those guys are going to continue to battle."
Mills, who was the Bills' starting right tackle last season, was thought to be in jeopardy of losing his first-string status after the team made Dion Dawkins a second-round draft pick from Temple in April.
"There was good, healthy competition on the field against Detroit," McDermott said. "So we feel good about our group there, and with the guys also back from last year, with (center) Eric (Wood) and (left guard) Richie (Incognito)."
Left tackle Cordy Glenn, who has battled problems with his left ankle and left foot, started against the Lions and is expected to start Sunday.
"Cordy got some good time the other night and we need to continue to acclimate him and get him going in terms of his conditioning and all that type of stuff," McDermott said. "He was in over the weekend and did a nice job putting in extra time."
Addressing other lineup matters, McDermott said that E.J. Gaines, whom the Bills acquired as part of the trade that sent wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams, had "the upper hand" for the starting cornerback spot opposite first-round draft pick Tre'Davious White. Kevon Seymour – who, along with Shareece Wright and Greg Mabin, was thought to have been in the starting-cornerback competition – was sent to the Carolina Panthers on Saturday as part of a deal that allowed the Bills to acquire wide receiver Kaelin Clay.
The coach also said that starting strong-side linebacker Lorenzo Alexander will double as the No. 2 middle linebacker behind Preston Brown.
"We've got all of the confidence in the world in Lorenzo," McDermott said. "He's shown us he can move around in a short amount of time. He's played on the defensive line, he's played on the offensive line, so if anybody can do it, Lorenzo can. It sounds like a cheer, right?"
The Bills' surprising decision to release Jonathan Williams on Sunday left no clear No. 2 option behind LeSean McCoy at running back. McDermott addressed that concern Monday.
"Well, when you look at it, it's a little bit by committee," the coach said, indicating that Mike Tolbert, Joe Banyard and Taiwan Jones might all see work behind McCoy in different situations. "I've been around Mike and he carried the ball well in Carolina and he carried the ball well, we felt like, in the preseason. And then what Joe did, and Taiwan. So we've got different body types, if you will. All bring something a little bit different to the table, and that's a good thing. And then with the element of the special teams, we were able to stay balanced as a roster, in all three phases of the game."
The decision to cut Williams, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry in the preseason, led some to speculate there was another reason – whether that was an injury or off-the-field concern – for the move. McDermott, however, disputed that Monday.
"Absolutely not," he said. "Jonathan is a great young man. He did everything we asked. There's none whatsoever in the regard. He did a fine job.
"That said, we're doing what's right for this football team. I have a lot of confidence in the running backs behind LeSean, in Mike Tolbert and Joe Banyard, Taiwan Jones. Feel good about those guys."
The Bills' practice squad is now at the 10-man limit after three signings Monday. Joining the group are:
• G Will Pericak: A former undrafted free agent of the Ravens, the 27-year-old has spent time on Baltimore's practice squad, as well as San Diego, Jacksonville and Denver.
• TE MyCole Pruitt: A former fifth-round draft pick of the Vikings in 2015, Pruitt has appeared in 20 games the past two seasons – 18 with Minnesota and two more with Chicago. The 25-year-old, who played collegiately at Southern Illinois, has 12 catches for 102 yards in his career.
• LB Zach Vigil: A former undrafted free agent of the Dolphins, Vigil made Miami's roster as a rookie in 2015 and appeared in all 16 games, starting two. He suffered a back injury in 2016 that limited his time. After playing seven games with Miami, he was released and signed with Washington, appearing in two more games. He has 20 career tackles in 25 games.
The only two players not spotted on the practice field Monday were defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (concussion) and linebacker Tanner Vallejo (knee). McDermott said Worthy is in the league's concussion protocol. Vallejo is recovering from knee surgery.
The Bills' offense wore blue jerseys during Monday's practice, which is a change from the white ones they wore during practices at training camp. The reason? The team will wear blue uniforms against the Jets, and the coaching staff wants quarterbacks getting used to throwing to those wearing that color.
Story topics: Cordy Glenn/ Dion Dawkins/ E.J. Gaines/ Jerel Worthy/ Joe Banyard/ John Miller/ Jonathan Williams/ Jordan Mills/ Kevon Seymour/ LeSean McCoy/ Mike Tolbert/ MyCole Pruitt/ Sean McDermott/ shareece wright/ Taiwan Jones/ Tanner Vallejo/ Tre'davious White/ Vlad Ducasse/ Will Pericak/ Zach Vigil