ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills ruled out starting safety Micah Hyde and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips on Friday, and face question marks at other key defensive positions for their AFC East showdown at the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Hyde is out after hurting his neck in a 41-7 win over Tennessee on Monday, while Phillips injured his hamstring against the Titans.
The Bills lineup could be thinned further because of uncertainty regarding the status of starting safety Jordan Poyer (foot) and starting cornerback Dane Jackson (neck), who was also hurt against Tennessee. Jackson was taken to a hospital after his head snapped back during a collision with a teammate.
In ruling out Hyde and Phillips, coach Sean McDermott was unable to provide a definitive update on Poyer, and other players who either missed or were limited in practice this week, including defensive tackles Ed Oliver (ankle) and Tim Settle (calf).
“It may still not be definitive after today, but we’ll take it one day at a time,” McDermott said.
On the bright side, McDermott said starting linebacker Matt Milano is expected to play after he sustained what the team called “a stinger” against Tennessee.
The thinned Buffalo secondary is preparing to face a Tua Tagovailoa-led Dolphins offense that leads the NFL through two games with 703 yards passing. Miami (2-0) is coming off a 42-38 win over Baltimore in which Tagovailoa threw for career-bests with 469 yards and six touchdowns in rallying the Dolphins from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit.
The Bills (2-0) face the prospect of having to defend Miami’s receiving tandem of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle by starting rookie cornerbacks, Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam. Though Benford has started both games, the two have had essentially split playing time opposite Jackson.
Jackson is a third-year player who opened the season starting in place of Tre’Davious White, who continues to be sidelined by a left knee injury.
Hyde and Poyer represent one of the NFL’s top safety tandems since arriving in Buffalo in 2017. Poyer has an interception in each of Buffalo’s first two games this season, while the two led the team with five interceptions each last year.