ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – If you didn’t get a sense of how hard Bills players are taking the loss of Tre’Davious White for the rest of the season by looking at their social media pages, you definitely could actually hearing them talk about it after practice on Thursday.
“Yeah that’s a tough one man. It’s hard to replace a guy like Tre’Davious White just as a teammate, as a friend. You know you hate to see to see that happen anywhere in particular with the guys that are in our back end,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said.
“We wanna play for T White. T White is one of the best players on our team, he’s one of the hardest workers on our team and not having one of your pieces, one of your guys out there,” Stefon Diggs explained.
White tore his ACL in a 31-6 win over the Saints on Thanksgiving night. And while it’s a tough pill to swallow, losing one of your best players for the rest of the year, especially with how dominant this secondary’s been, they also expressed confidence in second-year cornerback Dane Jackson who will start in White’s place.
“It is next man up and we got all the faith in the world in Dane. You guys have seen him go in football games and make plays already, we trust him on the back end. I know he’s excited for the opportunity that he’s gonna have,” Poyer said.
“We got 100% faith in the next man up process. You know Dane Jackson’s not a bad player at all, he can hoop,” Diggs said.
Jackson played in five games last year and started two of those. And even though his opportunities were limited during his rookie season, he made the most of them with 15 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. Jackson was also competing with Levi Wallace for a starting spot during training camp, but was just too inconsistent to win the job.
But now Jackson has a big opportunity in front of him. He’s played in all 11 games so far this season but just 18% of the defensive snaps. And McDermott understands what they’re dealing with.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Dane. Look he’s gonna get tested so that’s the reality of the situation at corner when you go out there whether it’s within the game or game to game so he’s aware of that and we expect him to do his job,” McDermott said.
“So just believing in those guys, loving those guys and bringing them along because we knew at one point in this season we were gonna need guys to step up, we didn’t know when, we didn’t know what position but right now it’s at cornerback,” Diggs explained.
And even though Jackson is literally taking White’s place on the field in that position, overall filling that void is going to be a by committee approach.
“You can’t replace a Tre White, he’s a great player and he’s a great person, we’re gonna miss him. The challenge is not just Dane’s, it’s everyone’s to raise our game to another level and that’s what we have to do as a team,” McDermott acknowledged.
McDermott always preaches “winning up front” and how games are won and lost in the trenches. Now the defensive line needs to step up even more while White is out. Even the Bills offense has to take its game to a new level and make sure it takes as much pressure off of the defense as it can (example no Jacksonville type games).
The Bills will be thinking of White as the season goes on.
“You know we wanna play for T White, that’s our guy and I’m sending prayers for him. He’s a hell of a player, he’s a good person as well so we’re gonna have to get one for him,” Diggs said.
“He’s in high spirits,” Poyer said.
Poyer knows all about severe injuries.
“I’ve been through that with a lacerated kidney after my fourth year, just kind of being told your season’s done, that’s hard. But I know the type of person he is, the type of player he is,” Poyer explained.
“It’s just a minor setback for a major comeback and I’m excited to see what he does next.”