Bills Head Coach Explains Tre White’s Lack of Playing Time in Return

Tre'Davious White

Getty Tre'Davious White warms up before a Buffalo Bills game.

After nearly a year, the Buffalo Bills finally got to see All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White return to the field.

It appears it may be a bit longer before they see him return to a full-time role.

White was active for the team’s Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions after spending the last year rehabbing a torn ACL, but was limited to just two series. After the game, Bills head coach Sean McDermott explained the reason for White’s limited usage and gave a hint about he might be used going forward.

McDermott Explains White’s Playing Time

While White was active for the first time since tearing his ACL in last year’s Thanksgiving night win over the New Orleans Saints, his playing time was limited in the 28-25 win over the Lions. White started the game at cornerback, but played in just two series before heading to the bench, playing a total of 15 snaps.

The Bills held the Lions to a three-and-out in the first series of the game. Detroit had a better showing on their second drive, moving 61 yards in 12 plays and capping it off with a 2-yard rushing touchdown from Jamaal Williams.

McDermott said that the team wanted to purposely limit White’s snaps, describing Thursday’s game as a stepping stone in the process and hinting that there would be more work for him to return to a full-time role.

“I think he got two series – about 15 to 20 plays, I don’t have a total count on what it ended up being,” McDermott said, via a report from “But that was in the range of what we thought. And now let’s build on it.”

But White had an impact even when he wasn’t playing. Fellow cornerback Dane Jackson said his presence on the sidelines was a major boost to the team.

“Just to see him out there just gives me that extra like, I don’t know, it’s hard to explain,” he said. “He’s just so much of a leader on our team. All the young guys really look up to him. Just to have him out there just gives you that extra boost for sure.”

Big Return for White

While his playing time may have been abbreviated, Thursday’s game marked the end of months of a long and sometimes arduous rehab process for White. He started the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list and was taken off in October, but had been inactive for every game leading up to Thanksgiving.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott faced some questions about White’s return, and he said it was both a physical and mental process of rehab for the All-Pro cornerback.

In his absence, the Bills called on a pair of rookie cornerbacks, Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford. Though the two gave the team some better-than-expected performances, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said that injuries and a rotating group of new players created some challenges for the secondary leading to White’s return.

“It is for sure challenging, not knowing week to week which guy’s gonna start, and as you are trying to look at practice and trying to determine who warrants more snaps,” Frazier said this week, via ESPN. “We haven’t had to do that in the past. We had usually four guys that were pretty healthy, for the most part, and they were in the lineup, week in and week out. That hasn’t been the case this year.”

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