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Fixing run defense remains priority for Bills as they add defensive lineman

Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday that the signing of former first-round pick Corey Liuget was not specifically in response to the Bills’ struggles with the run defense.

“Both, really,” McDermott said in reference to Liuget also being used in passing downs. “He’s had a lot of success in this league, veteran guy without a lot of experience. We’ll see how he does today and take it one day at a time.”

Asked about the decision to add another defensive lineman in order to balance the snap counts, McDermott said, “You can't have enough capable defensive linemen.”

Liuget's signing follows the decision to elevate Vincent Taylor from the practice squad, though he replaced another defensive lineman in Kyle Peko.

The Bills seemed to think they had solved the run defense issue with help from a film session after the Eagles loss, but again struggled in the first half against Washington. The run defense stiffened in the second half.

“Things just don't go away in this league,” he said. “You’ve got to get it right. It’s a week-to-week deal. Whether it's run defense or other challenges you have – you have to continue to work on it. I said that the minute was game was over … The minute you think you have something fixed, it's not fixed. It’s an ongoing effort."

McDermott pointed to gap integrity, fundamentals and technique. “It usually comes back to two or three things.”

The Bills have a short injury report as they begin preparations for the Browns: Cornerback Kevin Johnson will not practice because of a knee injury. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe are on veteran rest days.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, coach Freddie Kitchens told reporters that running back Kareem Hunt, who is back from an eight-game suspension, will have a role, but “we’re still trying to find out what we can draw up.” He also said Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb could potentially work together in the backfield.

Kitchens also said former Bills guard Wyatt Teller will “probably start.”

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