BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills will be without two of their starting linebackers for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano have been ruled out by coach Sean McDermott after both were injured in the team’s Week 1 win over the New York Jets.
Edmunds, Buffalo’s Pro Bowl middle linebacker, is out with a right shoulder injury. Milano, a starter on the outside, is out with a hamstring injury. Milano had a leaping interception for Buffalo in the season-opening win over the Jets.
McDermott did not rule out the possibility of one or both players going on injured reserve.
“Too early to tell at this point,” McDermott said.
Both Edmunds and Milano have been two of Buffalo’s best defenders in recent seasons. Edmunds came into his own in his second season and led the Bills in tackles with 115 last year.
The Bills drafted him 16th overall in 2018. Milano was third on the team in tackles last year with 101 and is in a contract season.
Reserve linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips is also out. Phillips suffered a quadriceps injury against the Jets.
With Edmunds and Milano out, veteran A.J. Klein is set to have an increased role on defense. The Bills added the eight-year veteran in free agency to replace the retired Lorenzo Alexander. Klein has plenty of experience in McDermott’s defensive system, having also played under McDermott with the Carolina Panthers.
“A.J.’s more than capable of doing that,” McDermott said. “He’s a guy we have a lot of trust and confidence in, a lot of faith in. We were with him in Carolina. He’s a guy that we expect to come in and do a good job.”
McDermott did say that the Bills have not reached out to Alexander about the possibility of potentially making a return.
“That’s a little premature,” McDermott said. “You know how we feel about Lorenzo — love him, love his family. Once a Bill, always a Bill. In this case, we’re two days out from the game basically. Unfortunate that we don’t have Tremaine and Matt and Del’Shawn, but at the same time we’ve got to rally the troops and next man up.”
McDermott also provided an update on cornerback Josh Norman. The veteran suffered a setback with his hamstring injury last week, which led to Buffalo placing Norman on injured reserve. Because of the change in rules for players on injured reserve, Norman could return as soon as Week 4.
McDermott also said that starting defensive tackle Vernon Butler (hamstring) has progressed and should be able to play against Miami.
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