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7 takeaways from McDermott briefing: Bills confirm WR Benjamin has a torn meniscus

1. Buffalo Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin has a torn meniscus in his right knee, the team confirmed Monday.

Benjamin, who was acquired from the Carolina Panthers at the trade deadline, was injured in the Bills' Week 11 loss to the Los Angles Chargers. He was originally classified as questionable for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but downgraded to out after not making the trip.

"He's working hard. He's going to be day to day as we move forward this week," coach Sean McDermott said. "We'll see how the week unfolds."

McDermott initially denied the report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that Benjamin had a torn meniscus, but a team spokesman later clarified that he indeed does, saying the coach had misheard the question and thought it referred to ligament damage.

The spokesman said the team was not going to provide any more of a timetable for Benjamin's recovery.

"Day to day" has been rendered largely meaningless as a classification — that's the same time frame McDermott has used on left tackle Cordy Glenn, who hasn't practiced or played in three weeks.

2. Defensive end Shaq Lawson didn't start for the Bills on Sunday for the first time this season. Asked why Monday, McDermott said: "really it was just a situation for us that I'm going to keep between Shaq and myself at this point."

Lawson entered the game on the Bills' second defensive series and ended up playing 39 of 58 defensive snaps (69 percent), which is in line with his normal usage. Eddie Yarbrough played 19 snaps.

3. Although Travaris Cadet has looked good in back-to-back weeks, McDermott isn't ready to say he has officially taken over as the No. 2 running back behind LeSean McCoy. Mike Tolbert, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, is still in that mix.

"I like both of those backs," McDermott said. "Travaris has done some really good things in a short amount of time here. I like how physical he was with the ball for the second week in a row. So there's a good thing going on there with some good football players. For us, that's a good problem to have."

Cadet ran six times for 28 yards and caught three passes for 21 yards in the 16-10 win over the Chiefs.

4. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander played a season-low 20 snaps defensively, finishing with three tackles and his first sack since Week 3.

"Well you know we just gave some different looks," McDermott said of Alexander's usage. "He played the sub package a little bit for us in different spots. You know, he's a good football player and a leader on this football team. Just wanted to present a couple different looks overall. It's more of a game-plan thing."

5. McDermott said he has not heard from the NFL yet regarding the puzzling penalty on E.J. Gaines in the fourth quarter. Gaines was flagged for unnecessary roughness for what looked to be a routine tackle on Chiefs running back Charcandrick West.

Teams file weekly reports to the league regarding officiating, which McDermott said the Bills do.

"And not just from, 'hey file a complaint,' but moreso let's learn so we can coach things properly," he said.

Asked whether coaches should have the ability to challenge penalties, McDermott said: "You know what, they set the rules and that's at this point what we focus on."

6. McDermott was asked whether the Bills had lost some of their "nobody believes in us" edge after getting to 5-2.

"You look at it and you say, 'hey, maybe,' " he said. "I don't know. I mean, that's some of the crystal-ball theory a little bit. "You have to keep your edge every week in this league. You've heard me say this: It's going to tear you, pull you in different directions and challenge you. You have to keep the edge."

In an effort to build back that edge, quarterback Tyrod Taylor revealed after Sunday's game that McDermott had show the team analyst predictions which were nearly unanimous in picking the Chiefs over the Bills.

"Really it's just about getting the players in the right type of mindset before a game. These guys know that there's not a whole lot of people out there that believe in them, and that's OK," McDermott said. "We've got a bunch of guys in that locker room who have been told that they're not good enough or haven't been good enough. So want to use that. We'll use it to our advantage, and that's what they did yesterday."

7. The Bills' punt coverage unit ranks third in the NFL, allowing just 4.6 yards per return. Buffalo was perfect Sunday against the Chiefs, as two Kansas City returns went for 0 yards. That's even more impressive considering it was the ultra-fast Tyreek Hill who had both attempts.

Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman "had a good plan with the coverage units," McDermott said. Colton Schmidt "punted extremely well, and that was key with that type of returner back there. I think the offense got us some favorable field position, too, which enabled them to pin them deep and help the defense also. Really what we're talking about here is complimentary football amongst all three phases of the team."

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