The Buffalo Bills will be at full strength at quarterback Sunday against the New England Patriots.
Coach Sean McDermott said Monday that starter Tyrod Taylor came through the Week 15 win against the Miami Dolphins fine physically. Rookie backup Nathan Peterman, meanwhile, has passed the NFL’s concussion protocol and is expected to practice Wednesday when the Bills begin on-field preparations for the Patriots.
Those were the big updates to take away from McDermott’s Monday press conference, a day after his team’s 24-16 win over the Miami Dolphins that guaranteed Buffalo’s playoff hopes will be alive through Week 17.
As for wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, McDermott said he made it through Sunday’s game without any significant setbacks to the right knee injury he’s been dealing with.
“We didn’t have that come up,” McDermott said. “We feel like we’re building off of what happened in the game, as opposed to trying to come back from a little bit of a setback like he had in the Colts game with banging his knee a little bit there. We’ll get a better feel as the week moves forward.”
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was asked how much Benjamin has been impacted by the torn meniscus he suffered in Week 11 at Los Angeles.
“You know, he didn’t break down field a couple of times,” he said. “His big body helped him on some slants, he caught a basic yesterday. He was open because he’s open, he’s big. We’ll work with Sean and he said he’s progressing. He did more than he did the week before and then we’ll go from there. I trust all of our wideouts. We’ll have 11 out there, so one of them will be open.
Cornerback E.J. Gaines, meanwhile, is still being evaluated for a knee injury suffered against Miami.
“Still in evaluation,” coach McDermott said. “We won’t know anymore, right now until a couple days from now. Maybe, a little bit more tomorrow.”
McDermott said linebacker Preston Brown’s main role on the onside kick that he botched Sunday is to form a “wall.”
“A lot of the kicks we see go up in the air and we need a wall, so that’s really Preston’s role,” he said. “That said though, he’s tasked with the responsibility also when the ball’s kicked, coming to field it. He came up a little bit short yesterday, but that’s something we’ll work on and look at moving forward.
“I’ll say this — Preston Brown is a good football player. I know he wants that play back, and I’ve got a lot of confidence in Preston. We look at everything every week and I’m glad it turned out the way it did, that we got the interception at the end of the game to seal it.”
Cornerback Shareece Wright made an immediate impact Sunday, stepping in for Gaines and coming away with an interception on his second play from scrimmage.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said that’s a testament to Wright’s professionalism even when he has been a healthy inactive recently.
“He has prepared every week as if he was going to play,” he said. “I know from a defensive standpoint, it’s not a knock against him that he hasn’t dressed, there were other circumstances. But he’s always prepared like a pro, and this week was no different. He wasn’t sure if he’d be up or not. He went through his preparation, and sure enough, we get an injury, and he had to go in and play. Just like in the past, he stepped in and gave us his best. Glad he was dressed yesterday, we needed him. He came up with some big plays. I’m glad we were able to get him up. He’s a pro’s pro.”