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Observations: Tremaine Edmunds, A.J. Epenesa going to 'be a stretch' to play vs. Lions

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Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds on the field before Sunday's game against Detroit. 

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The Buffalo Bills are working on a short week. 

As such, coach Sean McDermott said Monday that it's "going to be a stretch" for linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and defensive end A.J. Epenesa to be healthy enough to face the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Edmunds missed Sunday's game against the Browns because of a groin injury, while Epenesa left after playing just six defensive snaps because of an ankle injury. 

The Bills conducted a walk-through practice Monday and were required by the league to release an injury report. Quarterback Josh Allen was listed as a limited participant as he continues to manage an elbow injury, while Edmunds, Epenesa, defensive end Greg Rousseau (ankle) and center Mitch Morse (ankle/elbow) were listed as non-participants. Morse was seen in a walking boot after Sunday's 31-23 win over the Browns. 

Also listed as limited was offensive tackle David Quessenberry, who was also in a walking boot after Sunday's win. 

As for cornerback Tre'Davious White, who has yet to make his season debut as he continues to make his way back from knee surgery, McDermott reiterated a familiar refrain at this point -- that the team is taking it "one day at a time."

"We'll see where that goes," McDermott said, adding that it has been a "team decision and making sure he's ready, and in a good spot here," as it pertains to his return to the lineup.

Rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam, who missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury, was a projected full practice participant on the injury report.

"He's getting better," McDermott said. "He was moving in the right direction (last week), so we'll see where he goes this week here."

Here are four more observations from McDermott's Monday press conference.

1. McDermott explained his sideline conversation with Stefon Diggs. With the Bills' offense struggling in the first half Sunday, the TV broadcast caught McDermott and Diggs sharing a hug and a fairly long conversation on the sideline. 

"Stef is one of our leaders, so I just wanted to offer a couple words of encouragement and settle everyone down and I thought Stef did a great job of taking that message and running with it and putting his own signature on it," the coach said Monday. "It's just a feel, you just kind of feel what we need and Stef was there and you don't want people pressing and so you go to your captains or leaders, and not just the captains, but guys that carry influence in our locker room on our team. And in that case with Stef and I thought, again, he did a great job."

2. The Bills will play on Thanksgiving for the third time in the past four seasons. McDermott said that's an honor.

"I think it's pretty cool," he said. "For the players and coaches who have never done it before, I think it's an honor and fun to be a part of a tradition like that, especially playing at Detroit, who has traditionally played on Thanksgiving. Just to be able to tell your kids one day 'hey, you know, I coached on Thanksgiving Day or I played in a Thanksgiving Day game on television where most people will be watching and sitting at home and celebrating Thanksgiving with their families."

3. The coach sought to take some of the heat off Allen. The Bills' quarterback got off to a rough start against the Browns, going 4 of 11 for 27 yards in the first 25 minutes of the game. 

"I think just they were playing some good defense and give them credit," McDermott said. "Everyone expects Josh to be Superman every game, all the time and every throw. I just love the fact that a. he's human, and b. that he was able to work himself through that. I mean, I think that says way more about him than probably most people give him credit for it in terms of his performance yesterday, and I'm super proud of him for it."

4. Nyheim Hines continues to progress in the offense. Hines, who was acquired in a deal with the Colts ahead of the trade deadline, has made an impact on special teams in his three games, although his role on offense has been minimal to this point. 

"It's a short week and we'll see how it goes this week as we move forward," McDermott said of the possibility of Hines having an expanded role on offense. "He's an extremely eager young man. Very aware, very smart. It's important to him. He's very urgent in his approach and his respect for the process, it seems in the time we've been around each other. As you've seen, he's done a nice job in the return game and he's done more than that. He's covered kicks and covered punts, and he's done a great job."

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News Sports Reporter

I started at The Buffalo News in 2009, and have previously been honored as one of the top 10 beat writers in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors for my coverage of the Bills. I live in Amherst with my wife, Melissa, and son, Elliott.

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