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[BN] Blitz newsletter: Bills CB Phillip Gaines returns to practice, could start vs. Packers

Bills cornerback Ryan Lewis performed admirably last week in his first career start. He was promoted from the practice squad after Vontae Davis retired and Phillip Gaines injured his elbow.

But Gaines returned to practice this week while sporting a hefty brace and could rejoin the starting lineup opposite Tre'Davious White when the Bills take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Gaines started the season opener while Davis was inactive. Pro Football Focus has given Gaines a 60.5 grade in 87 snaps this season. Lewis earned a 65.0 last week.

Asked about the position, coach Sean McDermott said, "We'll continue to see how this week plays out."

Bills pass rush near top of NFL in pressure rate: PFF has credited the Bills with getting pressure on the opposing quarterback 54 times this season on 131 dropbacks, or passing plays. Their pressure rate of 41.22 percent ranks second in the NFL, just behind the Steelers. And how about this: Jerry Hughes is tied with Khalil Mack for the league lead in pressures, with 20.

Benjamin aims to put rough start behind him: Bills top receiver Kelvin Benjamin has not put up good numbers in the first three games, logging just six catches for 58 yards. That's not what you want in a contract year. Benjamin has drawn the ire of some Bills fans, and he said he's always heard similar criticism. "I got all that as soon as I got drafted," Benjamin said. "They said, 'He's big, but you know, he's got problems dropping the ball.' I mean, everybody drops the ball in this league. That's just part of it. Guys that you're playing against on the other side, they get paid to play this game, too. I've just got to go out there and keep working, man." In 2017, Benjamin was credited with dropping three of the 19 catchable passes thrown his way once he became a Bill, according the PFF. His drop rate of 15.8 percent ranked 22nd-highest among all wide receivers targeted at least 10 times (Zay Jones ranked 23rd). So far this year, Benjamin has dropped two of eight catchable passes; only eight receivers have more drops.



Picks for Week 4: All three writers polled picked the Bills +10.5 to cover in Green Bay.

Voice of the Fan: The sheer joy of Bills fandom: I'm going to venture that this is the first Buffalo News story to ever use the word "orgasmic" in the first sentence. A search of all stories on, which goes back to roughly the late '80s, shows this was only the sixth article to feature the word. And now there will be seven.


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