ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane anticipates that edge rusher Von Miller could be activated after spending the NFL-minimum four weeks on the physically unable to perform list, and he said Wednesday Miller could make his debut in Week 5, when the team plays Jacksonville in London England.
Beane also announced a move to address the team's depth at middle linebacker. The Bills are preparing to sign Christian Kirksey to the practice squad, pending the 10th-year player passing a physical. And the GM said he expects to sign a quarterback within the next day to potentially compete with Kyle Allen for the backup job behind Josh Allen.
Speaking a day after paring his roster to 53 players, Beane said he had a lengthy debate about whether to activate Miller for the start of the season because the player was close to being cleared to resume practicing. Miller has been sidelined since tearing a ligament in his right knee last November.
Beane ultimately decided on being cautious with the 13th-year player.
“We want Von for the stretch run,” Beane said. “So we’re just going to try to play it smart, give him a little extra time so that he’s truly ready to go.”
Barring setbacks, he didn't rule out Miller playing in Week 5.
“We’ll see where he’s at and see where we’re at, and what we need,” Beane said, noting Miller can’t practice in pads until he’s activated. “But I know he’s going to want to play in that game. And we’d be crazy not to want him out there. So hopefully the stars align.”
Kirksey arrived in Buffalo two days after being cut by the Houston Texans, for whom he missed most of training camp due to a hamstring injury. Kirksey fills a void at middle linebacker created when Buffalo cut A.J. Klein a day earlier.
Buffalo’s middle linebacker position remains unsettled after the team couldn’t afford re-signing five-year starter Tremaine Edmunds, who signed with Chicago in March. Tyrel Dodson, a fifth-year player with three career starts, is the projected starter ahead of second-year player Terrel Bernard, who resumed practicing this week after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury.
Beane said the Bills previously had interest in signing Kirksey, while noting he is familiar with Buffalo’s system. The 30-year-old spent his first six NFL seasons in Cleveland and has 94 starts in 114 games, including a one-year stint with Green Bay.
At quarterback, the Bills have a practice squad spot open after Matt Barkley hurt his throwing elbow and was placed on injured reserve.
Beane defended Kyle Allen’s inconsistent preseason performance by noting the Bills' offense is difficult to grasp in a player’s first year. But he also expressed concern over Allen turning the ball over three times (two interceptions and a lost fumble) in three preseason games.
Allen has a 7-12 record as a starter split between three teams over five seasons.
“We believe in Kyle. If we didn’t believe in Kyle, that Kyle could do it, we wouldn’t have kept him,” Beane said. “But yeah, we’re bringing in competition as well and we expect Kyle to continue to ascend.”
The Bills added depth at offensive tackle by signing Germain Ifedi, an eighth-year player who appeared in 17 games with Atlanta last season. As expected, the Bills re-signed long snapper Reid Ferguson a day after he was released.
The team freed up spots to sign Ifedi and Ferguson by placing receiver Justin Shorter and linebacker Baylon Spector on injured reserve. Both are eligible to return this season.
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John Wawrow, The Associated Press