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The news from Jerry Hughes on Twitter after the Buffalo Bills season about a wrist injury has piqued the interest of the NFL.

After the Buffalo Bills loss to the Houston Texans, Jerry Hughes tweeted out that he had been playing with torn ligaments in his wrist. This was possibly a contributing factor to the down season Hughes had in terms of sacks, with only 4.5 sacks during the regular season

It is certainly commendable that Hughes was trying his best to help the Bills win while obviously fighting through what was likely a painful injury. Defensive ends are constantly using their hands while trying to beat the offensive linemen in front of him.

However, this news has raised some concerns from the NFL and they have opened an investigation into whether or not the Bills violates rules by not noting the injury on their weekly injury report, according to Buffalo News.

The issue for the NFL, and why they are investigating, is that Hughes was not listed on any injury report all season for a wrist injury. The only times Hughes appeared on the injury report was Week 11 and Week 12 due to a groin injury that forced him to miss three practices and limited for another over the two weeks.

Hughes is the longest tenured player on the Buffalo Bills but only had 23 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and one fumble recovery. However, the veteran pass rusher had his best performance of the season in the playoff game against the Houston Texans, when he had three of the team’s seven sacks.

In the past when teams were found to have violated this rule, they have been fined with the Oakland Raiders fined $20,000 in 2018 and more recently the Detroit Lions fined $75,000 for their reporting of Matthew Stafford’s injury in December.

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The 2019 campaign for the Bills was dubbed ‘The Climb’ by head coach Sean McDermott, and the team made a number of positive strides through the course of the season. While their top-five defense continued to excel, Buffalo’s offense blended together as the season wore on and special teams found its footing in the return and coverage games. The results were the team’s first 10-win season this century and an AFC Wild Card playoff berth.

We take a look now at some of the team’s standouts, who were instrumental in making the season as successful as it was.

Offensive MVP: John Brown

Buffalo’s offense was in need of a jumpstart for their passing game after the 2018 season. Not many saw John Brown as a viable number one target, but he proved to be in every way for the Bills. Brown put together the team’s first 1,000-yard receiving season since 2015 (Sammy Watkins) and was tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns. Four of those six scores came in the fourth quarter including his Week 1 game winner against the Jets. He even threw a TD pass in the win at Dallas.

3 key takeaways from Sean McDermott’s season-ending press conference | Quick Hits

Defensive MVP: Tre’Davious White

Buffalo’s top cover man truly had a breakthrough season in 2019. Tied for the league lead in interceptions with six, White also had the league’s second-lowest passer rating allowed in coverage with a mark of 46.3. His 17 pass breakups on the season was almost twice that of the Bills next closest player in that category (9) and ranks fourth in the league.

Most Improved Player: Josh Allen

The Bills quarterback grew into his role in his second NFL season raising his completion percentage, his yards per attempt, his touchdown to interception ratio and his passer rating. He also reduced his average time to throw from a league high 3.22 seconds in 2018 to 2.86 seconds this season.

Allen also orchestrated four fourth-quarter comebacks in 2019 and led the league in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with nine.

Breakout Player: Jordan Phillips

Phillips play in 2019 was nothing short of dominant. The defensive tackle led the AFC in sacks by a defensive tackle with 9.5. He finished second in the league to L.A. Rams DT Aaron Donald (12.5). Phillips was also second on the team in QB hits with 16. Stout in the Bills run front, Phillips helped lead Buffalo to a top 10 ranking against the run.

Hon. Mention: Shaq Lawson

Most Promising Player: Tremaine Edmunds

One of Buffalo’s two every-down linebackers, Edmunds led the team with 115 tackles on the season. He also ranked second in tackles for loss (10), tied for second in pass breakups (9) and contributed four QB hits, 1.5 sacks and an interception.

Hon. Mention: Matt Milano

Top Rookie: Devin Singletary

The ‘Motor’ really didn’t get revved up until just after midseason when he began to handle the majority of the rushing load, but Devin Singletary was very productive in his rookie season. He finished first in the league in yards per carry average for running backs with at least 150 carries (5.13). Singletary also finished the season strong with 100 yards or more from scrimmage in four of his last eight games.

Unsung Hero: Jordan Poyer

The Bills safety was one of three players with over 100 tackles, and one of two players with production in every single defensive category. The team leader in both forced fumbles (3) and fumble recoveries (3), Poyer also contributed a pair of interceptions to finish second to White in total takeaways (5).

Hon. Mention: Trent Murphy

Biggest X-Factor: Andre Roberts

Though he did not take a return the distance, Roberts was very consistent in providing quality field position for Buffalo’s offense. He was the main reason the Bills ranked first in the league in average drive start (27.6) and fifth in the league in kick return average with a personal return average of 26.6.

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Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson might become “former Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson” in a few weeks.

Lawson had his best season as a professional in 2019, notching 6.5 sacks, second-most on the Bills (Jordan Phillips, 9.5) and he led the team with 13 tackles for loss.

But Lawson wants to set the bar even higher in 2020, regardless of the team he’s on. Lawson took to social media this week and moved things up.

“Great year, but I am coming for 10-plus sacks,” Lawson posted.

While a pending free agent, Lawson did express a desire to return to Buffalo during the team’s locker cleanout day, saying he’d “love” to be back. However, Lawson also indicated that he would have to make an understandable “business decision,” as well.

Most importantly, Lawson doesn’t appear to be taking this personal. The Bills could have locked Lawson up for next season, but declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. That’s something that Lawson said motivated him to have a career-year.

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The Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets have battled through rainy, windy conditions in a sloppy game reminiscent of a preseason tilt thus far. At the half, the score is 3-0.

For the Bills, their number-one goal was to exit the game with everyone at full health. That won’t be the case, as cornerback Levi Wallace suffered what appeared to be a fairly serious ankle injury in the first quarter. He is doubtful to return this week, but he was unable to put any weight on the ankle at all, so his status for next week looks doubtful, as well.

Josh Allen started the game for Buffalo and was largely ineffective for his two series, although he wasn’t asked to do much. Frank Gore leads the team in touches, as he has run the ball effectively all afternoon. He has six carries for 26 yards, and he also leads the team in receiving, catching three passes for 16 yards thus far.

Buffalo’s backups on defense have held the Jets’ starters on offense in check, as the team could only muster a field goal. Kicker Sam Ficken also missed a 51-yard kick on the team’s first drive. Sam Darnold has completed 15-of-23 passes for 122 yards. He also was intercepted by Wallace on the play where the latter injured his ankle. Le’Veon Bell has 12 carries for 45 yards, and Jamison Crowder has five catches for 39 yards.

Defensive back Siran Neal briefly left the game with what appeared to be a stinger, but he was back on the field later in the second quarter. The Bills have employed a heavy rotation thus far, with multiple backups seeing more time than normal. Jaquan Johnson had an interception nullified by a Kurt Coleman personal-foul penalty. Darryl Johnson Jr. has seen a majority of the snaps at defensive end. Julian Stanford has played middle linebacker. Lorenzo Alexander was given a curtain call in the first quarter. It’s been a quintessential Week 17 game.

Matt Barkley threw an interception at the end of the first half, giving the Jets an opportunity for more points heading into intermission. However, Ficken missed his second field goal, this one from only 34 yards out, leaving the score 3-0. His make came from 30 yards out.

This is your second-half thread, ladies and gentlemen. Go Bills! Stay healthy!

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Here are my hot reads from the Buffalo Bills’ 13-6 loss against the New York Jets Sunday at New Era Field.

Hottest topic
Now that the Bills have gotten their regular-season-finale/preseason game out of the way, they can turn their attention to what actually matters: The playoffs.

The Bills will face the Houston Texans next weekend at NRG Stadium. The Texans became the opponent once the other potential foe, the Kansas City Chiefs, scored a 31-21 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday to lock Houston, which won the AFC South championship, into the fourth seed.

Conventional wisdom is that the Texans are the much better draw, because the Bills have a far better chance of beating them. The primary advantage to facing the Houston is the Bills avoid going against Chiefs dynamic quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

However, the Texans are expected to have dominant defensive end J.J. Watt back from injury. They also play a sound scheme, under veteran defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, that is rooted in the same concepts as those used by the New England Patriots, who formerly employed Crennel. Quarterback Josh Allen could have his hands full.

The Bills’ defense could have issues against Deshaun Watson and the rest of the Texans’ passing game with multiple injuries to the secondary suffered Sunday.

Well done
Allen exiting the field healthy Sunday after only two possessions, and Matt Barkley taking over the rest of the way.
Defensive end Trent Murphy had two sacks while receiving extensive action because fellow end Shaq Lawson was inactive with an injured hamstring.
The Bills making cornerback Tre’Davious White, receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley, running back Devin Singletary, and tight end Dawson Knox inactive for the game.
The Bills calling a timeout just before the snap of the Jets’ second offensive series to remove linebacker Lorenzo Alexander from the game and allow him to receive an ovation. Alexander is expected to retire after the season. His daughter, Zoie, sang the national anthem, and Alexander gave her a hug at midfield afterward.
Ice cold
The Bills losing cornerback Levi Wallace and offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe to what appear to be serious ankle injuries. Wallace was injured late in the first quarter while intercepting a Sam Darnold pass. His right foot looked to catch in the turf, causing him to bend his ankle awkwardly. Offensive guard Quinton Spain rolled up on Nsekhe’s right ankle, which Nsekhe had previously injured and subsequently missed the five games preceding the encounter against the Jets. As a precaution after Wallace’s injury, the Bills took third cornerback Kevin Johnson out of the game and replaced him with safety Dean Marlowe.
How desperate were the Bills for secondary help? After cornerback Taron Johnson left the game late in the fourth quarter after Jaquan Johnson stepped on his right foot/shin, receiver Isaiah McKenzie was inserted at corner.
Barkley threw two interceptions and lost one of two fumbles. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 165 yards and had a passer rating of 41.5.
Setting the table
The day and time of the Bills-Texans wild-card playoff game weren’t immediately revealed by the NFL. This marks the Bills’ second postseason appearance since 2017.

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Time for the weekly Friday mailbag. What a crazy Wild Card Weekend last week, and now we are heading into a Divisional Round. I think the weekend’s games should be excellent!

But first, mailbag questions. And don’t forget to holler at me on Twitter or Instagram if you have a question next week.

What is Josh Allen’s career floor/ceiling? Should the Bills be looking to move on? — @jdiz1617

This is Josh Allen: Josh Allen is a below replacement-level quarterback.

He’s started for two full seasons now, and the success rate of quarterbacks who’ve started their first two seasons under replacement and become even a solid starter in the last 20 years is narrow — basically, it’s Alex Smith.

Age may factor. The only QB of the last 20 years to develop into a solid starter despite below replacement years 1-2 was Alex Smith who also came into the league at 21.

1:36 AM – Dec 27, 2019
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Allen is just good enough for the Bills to be competitive in most games, as they were against the Texans last weekend. But he’s not good enough for this offense to ever put away teams. He still misses on far too many easy throws, and while he’s not had many big games so far, he has come up short in many of them (like against the Patriots and Texans).

When you think of a franchise QB, you want someone who’s going to elevate your team when the stakes are highest, and his play doesn’t match that. I know what Bills fans will say to me: “Well, he improved so much this season.”

Yes, and most quarterbacks make their biggest jump between the first year starting and their second. Yet, Allen’s “jump” in the rankings still left him 24th in QBR, 27th by Football Outsiders, 22nd by PFF, 23rd in adjusted yards per attempt, and dead last in completion percentage. So, not ideal.

The Bills should not be looking to move on, though. They drafted Allen and will hope for the best next season as they add more weapons for him and continue to build the offense around him. However, the Bills entering 2020 feel like the Bears from last season and the Jaguars the season before that: great on defense, not so great at the quarterback position. I believe they will take a big step back next season.

The NFL sidelines are a closed circuit network with all the coaches plugged in and the interns running around with cables. The link between coach and QB’s helmet is over air waves. Could someone with a scanner app not hear that chatter? — @johnsms3

Good question. The play is radioed in from the headset of the playcaller to the QB’s helmet. And for those who don’t know, this happens on defense also. One player on defense gets to wear the “green dot helmet” so he’s able to get the call from the defensive playcaller.

So in theory, I guess someone could grab the chatter somehow. But, how useful would it be?

I think it would be extremely tough given the 40 seconds between plays to intercept the chatter and then decipher those calls in time to get them back into the players on the field. Remember, 15 seconds before the end of the play clock, the communication cuts off.

Also, I think it’s just an overload on the system to have all this information sometimes, especially if the information isn’t relayed properly. You have your offensive or defensive call, plus the opposing look on the field. You go through your pre-snap process and then boom, you get word of the opposing call. Is this call correct? How do I adjust? Where do I look?

It’s just so much. Then the ball is snapped and you’re just standing there thinking.

I’ve always been curious: What goes into gameday for players (say a noon kickoff)? When do you get to the stadium and what’s the process up until warmups? You said before you guys are creatures of habits, so what exactly goes on while all of us crazy people are partying in the parking lot? — @bburtonn

Awesome question. Let’s use a 1 p.m. ET game. Whether it’s a home game or an away game, you must be in the locker room two hours before the kickoff, so 11 a.m. Before every game, including home games, you stay at a hotel. There’s a wakeup call, normally around 8:30 a.m. for breakfast. I would wake up around 7:30 so I could eat and get to the stadium early, normally around 9:30.

At home, we drive and on the road, there are two buses. An early bus would normally arrive to the stadium by 10 a.m. and then a second arriving at 11 a.m. Once you’re in the locker room, there’s a schedule posted for warmups. If you want to go through warmup on your own, you’re free to get that done.

Before you head out for warmups, guys are getting taped, stretching, in the hot tub, and getting treatment. When it’s your position’s time to head out, then you go out for warmups. The linemen are the last ones out, normally around 12:20. You warm up for 15 minutes and then go back inside and get ready for the game.

My personal routine was this:

9:30: arrive
9:40: bathroom
9:50: get my ankle warmed up in the training room
10:30: I’d just lounge around, maybe go for a stroll on the field. Just relax
11:30: I’d get dressed, everything but my pads, and go outside for my warmup
11:50: back in the locker room to relax
12: get my pads on, followed by my hands taped
1: game time
I hope that answers your question!

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The playoffs are underway. At the start of last weekend there were 17 former Iowa players trying to help their team earn the Vince Lombardi Trophy and pick up a nice ring in the process.

As long as the Houston Texans or Seattle Seahawks don’t win it all, at least one former Hawkeye will be getting that ring!

For the former Hawkeyes not in the playoffs, their final stats and information are at the bottom of the article and as team are eliminated, they will join their friends at the bottom the week after their loss.

Hawkeyes in the Playoffs

QB C.J. Beathard (San Francisco 49ers, 3rd season in the NFL): Beathard and the 49ers own the top seed in the NFC and had a bye this week. They host the Vikings on Saturday afternoon.

OL Ike Boettger (Buffalo Bills, 2nd season): Boettger and the Bills lost in the wild card game to the Texans 22-19 in overtime. Boettger was inactive for the game.

OL Bryan Bulaga (Green Bay Packers, 10th season): Bulaga and the Packers have the second seed in the NFC playoffs and will host Seattle on Sunday night. POTW = 1.

WR Nick Easley (Buffalo Bills, 1st season): Easley is on the Buffalo practice squad.

C James Ferentz (New England Patriots, 4th season): Ferentz and the Patriots were upset by Tennessee 20-13 in New England on Saturday night to end their season. Ferentz only played in three plays for the special teams. POTW = 1.

TE Parker Hesse (Tennessee Titans, 1st season): Hesse is on the Titans practice squad.

LB Anthony Hitchens (Kansas City Chiefs, 6th season): Hitchens and the Chiefs have the second seed in the AFC and will host Houston on Sunday afternoon. POTW honors = 1.

S Amani Hooker (Tennessee Titans, 1st season): Hooker and the Titans knocked off the defending champion Patriots on Saturday night to advance in the playoffs. The Titans will travel to Baltimore to play the top-seeded Ravens on Saturday night. Hooker had one tackle in the victory.

Wild Card Round – Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots
Amani Hooker in a rugby scrum at the end of the first half against New England. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
S Micah Hyde (Buffalo Bills, 7th season): Hyde and the Bills lost in the wild card game to the Texans 22-19 in overtime to end their season. Hyde had five tackles in the loss. POTW honors =2.

CB Josh Jackson (Green Bay Packers, 2nd season): Jackson and the Packers had a bye. They will host Seattle on Sunday night.

DT Jaleel Johnson (Minnesota Vikings, 3rd season): Johnson and the Vikings upset the Saints 26-20 in overtime. Minnesota moves on to play at San Francisco on Saturday afternoon. Johnson had one tackle for loss in the victory. POTW honors = 1.

TE George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers, 3rd season): Kittle and the 49ers own the top seed in the NFC and had a bye this week. They host the Vikings on Saturday afternoon. POTW honors = 4.

LB Ben Niemann (Kansas City Chiefs, 2nd season): Niemann and the Chiefs have the second seed in the AFC and will host Houston on Sunday afternoon. POTW honors = 1.

OL Riley Reiff (Minnesota Vikings, 8th season): Reiff and the Vikings went to New Orleans and upset the Saints 26-20 in overtime. Minnesota moves on to play at San Francisco on Saturday afternoon.

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
Why not? Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
OL Keegan Render (Philadelphia Eagles, 1st season): Render is on the practice squad for Philadelphia.

OL Ross Reynolds (San Francisco 49ers, 1st season): Reynolds is on the San Francisco practice squad.

OL Marshal Yanda (Baltimore Ravens, 13th season): Yanda and the Ravens had a bye this week and will host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night. POTW honors = 1.

Final Stats for Eliminated Hawkeyes

OL Austin Blythe (Los Angeles Rams, 4th season): Blythe and the Rams finished their season at 9-7 as they defeated Arizona 31-24. With a high payroll and no first round pick in 2020, the Rams will have to be creative to keep up with San Francisco and Seattle. Blythe played and started in 15 games on the season while drawing just three penalties on the year. Blythe is a free agent for 2020.

RB James Butler (Oakland Raiders, 2nd season): Butler was on the Raiders practice squad in 2019.

DE Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta Falcons, 9th season): Clayborn and the Falcons finished 7-9 on the season. Clayborn played in 15 games recording 18 tackles which included four sacks. He also forced two fumbles. Clayborn is a free agent for 2020.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Atlanta Falcons
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
DT Mike Daniels (Detroit Lions, 8th season): Daniels and the Lions finished 3-12-1 on the season. Daniels was put on the IR on December 16 and was only able to play in nine games for the Lions. His ten tackles and one sack were probably not what the Lions had in mind when they gave him an $8 million contract. Daniels is a free agent for 2020.

C James Daniels (Chicago Bears, 2nd season): Daniels and the Bears finished the season at 8-8. Daniels played and started in all 16 games for the Bears as he played both center and guard. Daniels was called for four holding penalties on the season. There are still two years left on his rookie contract.

DT Carl Davis (Jacksonville Jaguars, 5th season): Davis and the Jaguars ended the season at 6-10. Davis played in two games for Jacksonville getting one tackle. He also played one game in his time with Indianapolis. Davis is a free agent for 2020.

TE Noah Fant (Denver Broncos, 1st season): Fant and the Broncos finished the season at 7-9. Fant played in all 16 games for Denver and ended the season with 40 catches for 562 yards and three touchdowns. Fant was the number 20 pick in the 2019 draft and has three years remaining on his rookie contract. POTW =2.

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills
“Sorry my friend, not today.” Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images
S Jake Gervase (Los Angeles Rams, 1st season): Gervase and the Rams finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Gervase only saw action in two games this season and didn’t record any stats. Gervase signed a two year contract in 2019 so he has one year remaining.

TE T.J. Hockenson (Detroit Lions, 1st season): Hockenson and the Lions finished 3-12-1 on the season. After suffering a significant ankle injury, Hockenson was only able to play in 12 games but during his short time was able to catch 32 balls for 367 yards and two touchdowns. The eighth overall pick in 2019 still has three years left on his rookie deal. POTW honors = 1.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers
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LB Josey Jewell (Denver Broncos, 2nd season): Jewell and the Broncos finished the season at 7-9. Jewell dealt with some injuries over the season but still managed to play in 15 games for Denver. He recorded 38 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the year. Jewell still has two years remaining on his rookie contract. POTW honors = 1.

NFL: DEC 08 Broncos at Texans
The Outlaw. Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
CB Desmond King (Los Angeles Chargers, 3rd season): King and the Chargers finished their season at a disappointing 5-11 and will have the sixth pick in the upcoming draft. On the season King played in 15 games and had 50 tackles including 2.5 sacks. King also was featured in the return game and he returned 16 kicks for 331 yards and 21 punts for 118 yards and a touchdown. King will be entering the final year of his four year rookie contract in 2020. POTW honors = 1.

Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers, NFL Week 16
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LB Christian Kirksey (Cleveland Browns, 6th season): Kirksey and the Browns finished their year with an under-performing record of 6-10. Kirksey was hurt early in the season and only managed to play in two games for the Browns. On the season he recorded 11 tackles and he has two years remaining on his contract though he potentially could be a salary cap casualty.

LS Casey Kreiter (Denver Broncos, 4th season): Kreiter and the Broncos finished the season at 7-9. For those keeping track at home, Kreiter snapped the ball 146 times for the special teams unit, down two snaps from 2018. Kreiter is a free agent for 2020 but I imagine he will be re-signed by Denver.

DB Greg Mabin (Cincinnati Bengals, 3rd season): Mabin and the Bengals won their last game of the year against Cleveland and still finished with a record of just 2-14. They own the top pick in the draft and are expected to take LSU qb Joe Burrow. Mabin was only active for nine games in 2019 and most of his time was spent on special teams. For the season he had just one tackle and one pass deflection. Mabin is a free agent for 2020.

OL Matt Nelson (Detroit Lions, 1st season): Nelson was on the practice squad for Detroit.

LB Anthony Nelson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1st season): Nelson and the Buccaneers finished their season at 7-9. The rookie battled injuries and only managed to see action in nine games. During that time he totaled eight tackles, one pass deflection, and a forced fumble. Nelson has three years left on his rookie deal.

OL Brandon Scherff (Washington Redskins, 5th season): Scherff and the Redskins finished their season at 3-13. Scherff only was able to play in 11 games due to injury but managed to be named to the Pro Bowl for his efforts. Scherff is a free agent and should be looking for a big payday in 2020.

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The Buffalo Bills felt that they drafted a centerpiece of their defense when they selected Tremaine Edmunds in the first round back in 2018. Thanks to the latest information from ESPN’s Field Yates, it is known that Edmunds has accomplished a first for an NFL player.

According to Yates, Edmunds became the first player in NFL history to record 100+ tackles in two seasons by the age of 21. He also notes that Edmunds did not miss a tackle through Week 16, and for good measure referred to Edmunds as a “complete stud.” Edmunds finished the 2019 season with 115 total tackles, and was named a first-alternate for the Pro Bowl. In addition to his impressive tackle numbers, Edmunds added 1.5 sacks, a safety and an interception while leading the Bills defense this season.

The 100-tackle feat has only been accomplished ten times by 21 year olds since the AFL-NFL merger. Hall of Famer Ray Lewis was the first in his 1996 rookie year and he achieved the mark in every season he played at least 13 games, a total of 13 times. Donte Whitner, a name familiar to Bills fans, was the next 21-year-old to record 100+ tackles, notching 106 in his rookie year of 2006. More recently, Luke Kuechley, Landon Collins, Keanu Neal, Jessie Bates, Roquan Smith, and Devin Bush have reached 100 tackles at the age of 21.

Edmunds was the youngest player taken in modern NFL Draft history when the Bills selected him with the 16th overall pick in 2018. He’s the only 20 year old to record 100 tackles since the merger.

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HOUSTON — The Buffalo Bills will be without starting cornerback Levi Wallace on Saturday.

Wallace will miss the wild-card playoff game against the Texans at NRG Stadium because of a sprained ankle, meaning Kevin Johnson will start opposite Tre’Davious White.

The Bills also made a big move at wide receiver. Duke Williams will play, while Robert Foster is a healthy inactive. Williams had six catches for 108 yards in the season finale against the Jets last Sunday.

Buffalo’s other inactives are tight end Tommy Sweeney, guard Ike Boettger, running back T.J. Yeldon, offensive tackle Ryan Bates and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor.

Right tackle Ty Nsekhe (ankle), defensive end Shaq Lawson (hamstring) and wide receiver Andre Roberts (foot), all of whom were questionable coming into the game, will play for the Bills.

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Taron Johnson and Joey Banks go way back.

“It was in Pop Warner, but we weren’t friends. We didn’t become friends until probably high school,” said Johnson, Buffalo Bills cornerback.

“We played for two different Pop Warner teams growing up. Obviously I played for the better team. We got close in high school. We started training with the same group of guys in high school and it just grew from there, the relationship just grew from there,” said Banks, University at Buffalo safety.

Growing beyond their home of Sacramento, California as they continued their football careers.

“When I was getting recruited I always said that I’d probably end up somewhere where I never expected and Buffalo for sure somewhere I never expected to be,” said Banks.

Banks transferred to UB in 2018, a few months before the NFL Draft.

“I was in the cafeteria, the student café, eating, watching the draft with some other teammates and Buffalo was up on the clock and I seen Taron Johnson go across the screen. I said, ‘Hold on, what? He’s coming to Buffalo too?’ It was just crazy how it happened. I didn’t believe it, but I was super proud of him,” said Banks.

“When it happened it felt kind of unreal already and then it wasn’t until probably about 30 minutes later I’m like, ‘Oh, Joey, we’re going to be in the same area.’ That just made me even more excited to come,” said Johnson.

That bond tested during their first fall in town, both fighting injuries, but leaning on each other to work through them.

“Just control the things that you can control. Don’t worry about the stuff that’s going on on the outside because that can play with your mind and might put negative thoughts into your head or you might second guess yourself sometimes. But if you just focus on controlling the things that you can control, and helping him and him helping me get through that, it kind of helps,” said Banks.

“I know just talking to him that what happened to me, yeah, having surgery, OK, but I can definitely get through it. I can definitely come out a better player, a better person, when I’m healthy again. Even when I was out five weeks when I pulled my hamstring, even with that, he just helped me stay in it, ‘Just keep focusing and control what you can control.’ That was the biggest thing with me, him being in my ear talking to me about that because for a while when I was hurt, it was just kind of messing with my head a little bit,” said Johnson.

Both bounced back this season, with Johnson back in the slot for 10 games with the Bills and Banks a first-team All-MAC corner for the Bulls.

A perfect finale that Johnson believes should bring Banks right where he is once again.

“I told a couple scouts, though. I already told a couple scouts that he’s a dog. I’m not just saying this. I’ve watched him play since seventh grade, sixth-seventh grade and he can play in the NFL. I know that. And hopefully I have the opportunity to see him, whether he’s on this team or he’s on some other team and has an opportunity to play,” said Johnson.

Just like Pop Warner back in Sacramento.