Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey told the official site that he expects star safety Jairus Byrd to play in Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. He said, “Very limited out there on Thursday, but Jairus practiced Friday. We’re going to list Jairus as questionable, but I expect him to play.”
That’s great news for the Bills, because the team’s cornerbacks have struggled this season with Leodis McKelvin looking lost in the slot, Stephen Gilmore showing rookie struggles, and veteran Terrence McGee has also been off to a slow start this season. Byrd is one of the most important players on the Bills defense, especially in terms of coverage.
Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden was awful against the Philadelphia Eagles to start the season, but he had a terrific bounce back game against a weak Cincinnati Bengals secondary. In that game, the Oklahoma State product complete 70.3% of his passes for a total of 322 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Mohamed Massaquoi has become his favorite target early on, and he will look to hit him more often (especially on deep routes) if Byrd is unable to play.
Therefore, the news that Gailey expects Byrd to play tomorrow is terrific for the Bills. Backup free safety Da’Norris Searcy is in his third season in the NFL and will get the start if Byrd’s foot injury (he sustained it against the Kansas City Chiefs last week) keeps him out of the Browns game. The good thing is that Searcy is a capable backup, and the Bills wouldn’t miss much of a beat in run support with Searcy back there. There is a drop-off between both players in coverage, but Searcy is a good third safety.
In other AFC East news, outspoken New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott threatened to punch a reporter after he took a picture of him in the locker room. This is reminiscent of a similar incident in which Scott made an obscene gesture to a photographer from the New York Daily News and was fined $10,000 by the team. This is an organizational issue and not a league issue, so the punishment for Scott will be up to the Jets.
Follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe