Bills Lose Defensive Anchor: Pro Bowl LB out for AFC East Showdown

Tremaine Edmunds

Getty Tremaine Edmunds reacts to a play in a game against the Baltimore Ravens.

For the last four games, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has been on the field for every single defensive snap for the Buffalo Bills. In Sunday’s AFC East showdown against the New York Jets, he won’t set foot on the field at all.

The team announced on Friday that the Pro Bowl linebacker is out for Sunday’s game after suffering a hamstring injury. As Pro Football Talk noted, it will be the first game that Edmunds has missed this season and comes after an ironman stretch in which he has been on the field every snap for four games.

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Bills Shorthanded on Defense

There had been indications this week that Edmunds might not be able to play in Sunday’s game against the Jets, especially after his hamstring injury kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday.’s Matt Parrino reported on Thursday that the team was preparing to slide linebacker A.J. Klein into Edmunds’ place.

Klein has stepped into more significant roles for the Bills before, including a stretch when linebacker Matt Milano was out last season. Klein said at the time that he was growing more comfortable on the field as he moved between positions.

“I do have a comfort level over these last few games and it took me a little while to, like I said, settle in and just play more free,” he said, via the Buffalo News. “So yeah, there is a comfort level that’s coming that I haven’t necessarily had in the past, but that’s what this league is. You have to be able to adjust, and that’s one thing I’ve always prided myself on is being able to play multiple positions, so whether I’m playing SAM, MIKE, or WILL, I have to be able adjust and put my best foot forward.”

Replacing Edmunds could be difficult. He has 55 tackles this year along with an interception, and took home AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 4 after leading the defense to a 40-0 shutout against the Houston Texans.

More Injury News for Bills

While the Bills will be without Edmunds for Sunday’s game, a pair of key players on offense could be returning. McDermott said that right tackle Spencer Brown and tight end Dawson Knox have been on the upswing, returning to full practice participants on Thursday.

There could be another loss, however. Running back Zack Moss remained in concussion protocol after suffering a head injury last week. Moss has 233 rushing yards this year and three touchdowns, adding another 18 catches for 166 yards and a receiving touchdown. If Moss is unable to go on Sunday, Bradley Gelber of USA Today’s Bills Wire suggested that the Bills could look to the practice squad to replace him.

“With Zack Moss in the concussion protocol, looks like the #Bills hand will be forced to try a different combo with Singletary at RB… guessing Matt Breida, but there’s also Antonio Williams. Maybe that’s a good thing to see if it makes any difference,” he tweeted.

The Bills are looking to rebound from a 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars with a key matchup in the AFC East. The race for the division has grown tighter as the New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers to move to 5-4, just a half-game behind Buffalo for the lead.

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