The Bills are reconfiguring their defensive line ahead of Monday night’s showdown against the Chiefs.
Starting defensive end Trent Murphy and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, who started the past two games, are inactive for Week 6. The shake-up comes one week after a dispiriting loss to the Titans that saw Buffalo fail to sack Ryan Tannehill once and manage just two tackles for loss.
Per the Bills’ depth chart, rookie A.J. Epenesa and former first-round pick Vernon Butler are listed behind Murphy and Phillips, respectively. The team announced Monday it is elevating defensive end Bryan Cox and defensive tackle Justin Zimmer for the Kansas City game.
Their task will be a tall one.
One year after boasting one of the league’s best defenses, Buffalo has taken a notable step back in 2020. Its pass rush and run defense have been particularly ineffective, as the unit is averaging just 2.0 sacks per game and was ranked No. 22 against the run by DVOA entering Week 6.
Those issues start up front. Other inactives for Buffalo: quarterback Jake Fromm, running back T.J. Yeldon, linebacker Matt Milano, guard Quinton Spain and tight end Dawson Knox.
Cornerback Cam Lewis suffered a wrist injury against the Chiefs and is questionable to return. Offensive lineman Cody Ford (knee) is doubtful to return after getting injured in the fourth quarter.
Here’s other news, injuries and transactions we’re tracking on Monday:
- Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz suffered a back injury against the Bills and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Defensive end Alex Okafor was also ruled out after suffering a hamstring strain in the first half. Receiver Sammy Watkins sat out a second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the terms of running back Le’Veon Bell’s one-year contract with K.C. Bell, who’s banking on a deep playoff run, will join the lineup in Week 7. Bell will make a $1M base salary (prorated to $705,882), $500K for 25% playtime and an AFC title win and $500K for 25% playtime and a Super Bowl win.
- The Dallas Cowboys added linebacker Leighton Vander Esch to their active roster, putting him in line to play Monday against the Cardinals. Vander Esch has missed the past four games after breaking his collarbone. The Cowboys also placed quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) and defensive tackle Trysten Hill (knee) on injured reserve. They signed defensive tackle Justin Hamilton from their practice squad and elevated safety Steven Parker and center Marcus Henry. Offensive tackle Cameron Erving is away from the team and not playing Monday due to illness.
The following players are inactive for Monday’s game against the Cardinals: QB Garrett Gilbert, WR Malik Turner, DB Saivion Smith DB Reggie Robinson II, LB Rashad Smith and LB Luke Gifford.
- The Arizona Cardinals signed tight end Evan Baylis to the active roster and elevated practice squad players linebacker Reggie Walker and defensive lineman Trevon Coley ahead of Cowboys game.
The following players are inactive for Monday’s game against the Cowboys: QB Brett Hundley, WR KeeSean Johnson, RB Eno Benjamin, LB Kylie Fitts, LB Isaiah Irving and OL Joshua Miles.
- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said running back Mark Ingram has an ankle sprain and the team is hopeful he’ll be back for the Steelers game in Week 8. Harbaugh also expects guard Tyre Phillips and defensive end Derek Wolfe to be ready for the Steelers game.
- The Los Angeles Chargers have designated defensive end Melvin Ingram and defensive tackle Justin Jones for return from IR.
- Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is seeking a second opinion on his high-ankle injury but he’s expected to miss a few weeks, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported. Ertz went down in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. Running back Miles Sanders, who suffered a knee injury in the Week 6 loss, will miss Thursday’s game against the Cowboys, Garafolo reported. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson and guard Jack Driscoll also won’t play, per Garafolo.
- The Tennessee Titans activated receiver Corey Davis from the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. Also, the Titans officially placed left tackle Taylor Lewan (torn ACL) on injured reserve. Tight end MyCole Pruitt from the 53-man roster currently remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list, along with defensive back Breon Borders from the practice squad.
- San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said left tackle Trent Williams suffered an ankle sprain and is being further evaluated. He also said running back Raheem Mostert (high ankle sprain) is most likely going on IR.
- Washington offensive lineman Saahdiq Charles suffered a dislocated kneecap Sunday on his second NFL snap, Pelissero reported. That will keep him out for Week 7’s game versus the Cowboys but the early hope is he’ll return following the ensuing bye week, Pelissero added.
- Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule said he’s still unsure how soon Christian McCaffrey will return. The All-Pro has missed the past four games with a high-ankle sprain. The Panthers also placed guard Michael Schofield on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
- The Raiders are placing cornerback Damon Arnette on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Pelissero reported, per a source. The rookie was already on injured reserve after undergoing thumb surgery. No other Las Vegas players or personnel tested positive, Pelissero added.
- The Cincinnati Bengals signed defensive tackle Margus Hunt and waived defensive tackle Andrew Brown.
- The New Orleans Saints have designated running back Ty Montgomery for return from IR. Linebacker Kiko Alonso, who’d been on the physically unable to perform list while rehabilitating a torn ACL, is returning to practice.
- Seattle Seahawks tight end Colby Parkinson and defensive back D.J. Reed are returning to practice from the reserve/non-football injury list.
- The Houston Texans claimed defensive tackle Eli Ankou off waivers from the Colts.
- The Denver Broncos signed quarterback Blake Bortles to the practice squad.