The Buffalo Bills officially placed Tre'Davious White on injured reserve after the star corner tore his ACL on Thanksgiving. Now the only thing for Buffalo is to prepare for life without their sticky cover man.
"It is next-man-up, regardless," coach Sean McDermott said Tuesday, via the team's official website. "But I think collectively as a team, we've got to take our game another level."
White's injury is a massive blow to a Bills pass defense that ranks No. 2 in the NFL entering Week 13. The question is whether they'll be able to stay at such lofty heights without their stud corner.
White allowed a 61.4 passer rating when targeted this season, per Pro Football Focus, the fourth-lowest among all CBs with at least 25 targets. His ability to take an opponent's top receiver one-on-one opened up so many options for Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
"He's a match-up guy. It's hard to find those guys in our league," Frazier said. "But he's allowed us to do some things on defense because of his ability to eliminate other people's number one receiver. So there's some big shoes to fill."
The first man up is second-year corner Dane Jackson, who has made just two starts in his career. The former seventh-round pick out of Pitt has played just two games this season with more than 15 snaps -- Week 2 and Week 12 after White went down with injury.
"I think Dane Jackson is one of those guys who will step up," Frazier said. "He's the next man up and he'll do a good job for us. But to say that he will play at the level of Tre'Davious, that would be, misleading for sure."
There is no replacing a Tre'Davious White. There is only managing without.
The star cornerback was vital to everything the Bills defense did en route to being the No. 1 unit in yards allowed and No. 2 in scoring while allowing the fewest big plays and fewest yards per play.
Beginning Monday against New England, we'll see just how successful Buffalo's defense can be without a critical cog in the secondary.