ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Von Miller is going to miss at least this Thursday against the Patriots with a knee injury and maybe more games beyond that.
The Bills know it will take more than just one person to replace what the future Hall-of-Famer provides.
“We have a lot of men in the room that are really hungry,” said defensive end Greg Rousseau. “A lot of great rushers like Boogie Basham, A.J. Epenesa, Shaq Lawson. It’s guys that are ready to step up to the plate.”
Rousseau and Epenesa both missed last week’s game against the Lions, but defensive tackle Ed Oliver said he thought both would return against the Patriots. Rousseau returned to practice on Sunday while Epenesa did not, doing some individual work on the side.
While the edge rushers are banged up, the team’s defensive tackles are all healthy and up for the challenge.
“That just means that our role needs to increase,” said Oliver. “I know we’re banged up on the edges but all four [defensive tackles] are healthy so between the four of us, we can get it done.
“We’ve got to fill those shoes that he’s played so far,” said Basham. “It’s just guys coming in, doing a little extra work here and there. I feel like all of us, we’re definitely up for it. Nobody’s going to shy away from the challenge.”
Oliver was asked what gives him the confidence that he and his teammates can adequately replace Miller, who has eight sacks this season, tied for tenth in the league. He quickly made it clear replacing Miller is not the plan
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, now,” Oliver said with a smile. “I said we can hold it together till he gets back. Von is Von, don’t get me wrong. We’ve got to hold it together.”
“When I was down and [Phillips] was down, Von did the same thing for us. He didn’t have the same guys inside and he made do. So we might not have the same guys outside, but we’ll make do.”
The next few weeks present a great opportunity for Basham and Lawson, who haven’t consistently gotten to the quarterback this season. Basham has two sacks this year and Lawson has one and a half.
“You’ve always got to be ready for this,” said Basham. “A special player like that, they get the energy, the next guy up has to be ready and be able to take on everything that comes with it. Me and Von we talk a lot in the locker room about the big moments he’s had, the ones I’ve had. He’s always like ‘just make it happen, don’t let it happen.'”
Even if Miller can’t play, just being around this Bills team can be a huge benefit
“Him bringing that energy, that spice of Von to us, that helps us a long way,” said Basham.