ORCHARD PARK, NY — One of the big questions of the Buffalo Bills offseason was when cornerback Tre’Davious White could return to the field after suffering a cruciate ligament tear. Unfortunately for the Bills, that’s not going to happen any time soon.
The Bills placed White on the reserve/physically disabled list Tuesday to start the 2022 NFL season. He will miss at least the first four games of the season – with the Los Angeles Rams, against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football, with the Miami Dolphins and with the Baltimore Ravens.
White tore his ACL on Thanksgiving in a night game against the New Orleans Saints, a game played in his home state. During the opening stages of training camp, White was visible as he rehabbed to the side and steadily increased his training. There seemed to be optimism that he would return to the field but he was last seen training on July 29.
When the 2020 All-Pro was the next defender last season, he allowed a 50.8% completion rate and a 58.9 passer rating, both fourth-best among 50+ goal defenders this season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats at the time of his injury. The Bills had the best pass defense in the league last year, allowing just 12 pass touchdowns and a 56% completion rate.
There remains a lack of a clear return date, although it would come as no surprise for White to miss more than four games as the team would like to see him get plenty of practice time first. White’s surgery was also performed by an outside doctor, according to non-team general manager Brandon Beane.
“They’re connecting how we’re rehabilitating people, what they want to see,” Beane said last week. “To achieve that, you must all work together in Tre’s best interests before we get him out of there. So we’re going to make sure we all agree that he’s ready to start practicing… And we’re not just going to say, ‘Hey, on a Wednesday, Thursday, Tre, get out there and play him on Sunday.”
“…These other guys getting ready for the season have been practicing a lot and hardening. We have to do that to be fair to him.”
In his absence last year, 2020 seventh round winner Dane Jackson played alongside outside corner Levi Wallace for the remainder of the 2021 season. Wallace is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the team traded two places to draft Kaiir Elam with the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Jackson is said to be one of the team’s starters and Elam is battling for the other role with fellow rookie Christian Benford, a sixth-round pick from Villanova.
Jackson is said to be one of the team’s starters and Elam is battling for the other role with fellow rookie Christian Benford, a sixth-round pick from Villanova.
“I think Dane’s experience, coupled with his level of talent, puts him just a notch above the two young rookies we have,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said last week. “These guys will continue to make progress and get better over time but still believe Dane has the edge at this point. As for Kaiir and Christian, those guys are fighting to be able to give us an option if Tre’Davious isn’t active for the Rams game.”
The Bills’ remaining moves to reduce the list to 53 by 4:00 p.m. ET Tuesday were largely expected. One of the team’s biggest deals was the release of OJ Howard after he signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal. The team’s backup tight ends – Tommy Sweeney and Quintin Morris – were impressed enough to both make the squad.