On Monday, ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques announced that second year defensive tackle, Harrison Phillips, suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. While this is not a death blow to Buffalo’s defensive line, it is certainly a big hit. Phillips has noticeably taken a huge leap from his rookie season and has seen a drastic increase of playing time. Phillips’ season will end with only 0.5 sacks and three tackles in three games.
Without Phillips, Buffalo still has rookie Ed Oliver, Star Loutulelei, and Jordan Phillips on the depth chart. The Bills announced on Tuesday that they have officially placed Phillips on injured reserved and have promoted Kyle Peko from the practice squad. Peko spent last season on Buffalo’s practice squad and is now being asked to step up in a big way.
Peko seems to be an easy fix to Buffalo’s problem for the time being. With a big game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Buffalo needed someone who knows their scheme. It would not be shocking if the Bills sent Peko back to the practice squad after their week six bye. An early bye could allow the Bills to bring in a more talented and experience player.
There are several solid defensive tackles on the market right now including Bennie Logan, Willie Henry, and Cedric Thornton. Bills coach Sean McDermott once coached under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Although it is a distant connection, Logan played for Reid in Kansas City and may be an option for the Bills. Henry, recently cut from the Baltimore Ravens is just a solid overall player that may be a good fit in Buffalo. Finally, Thornton spent the 2017 season in Buffalo and may be solid in the rotation.
Loutulelei and Jordan Phillips should be expected to play a lot more moving forward. Hopefully Peko fills the void well and does not give the staff a reason to find a better solution to the problem.