The Buffalo Bills lost one of their star players during last week’s Thanksgiving Thursday win over the New Orleans Saints.
Cornerback and all-around NFL standout talent Tre’Davious White came down at an awkward angle while making a defensive play in coverage in front of his home-state crowd, and left the game for medical evaluation.
As results of those evaluations came in over the past week, so did the news that White had a torn ACL that would keep him out the rest of the season.
The Bills pass defense ranks No. 2 in the league as they enter into Week 13, they are also No. 2 in scoring and the top defense in yards allowed.
White has played a key role in making that possible.
“He’s a match-up guy. It’s hard to find those guys in our league,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said to the media this week. “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.”
White plays the short side of the field across from CB Levi Wallace who plays on the wide side. While the Bills play a lot of zone coverage, he will at times be tasked with key matchups and assigned to follow the opposing teams’ top receiver one-on-one.
When asked if there’s any way to quantify the loss of Tre White, the DC’s response was simply, “Yeah, I don’t know if there is.”
The ability the star CB has to contain those top receivers has been a big part of the Bills success on the defensive side of the ball.
In fact, when targeted he allows the fourth-lowest passer rating in the league among all CBs with 25 or more targets. He’s been a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro each of the last two seasons and has not allowed a single touchdown pass this year.
As great as he has been on the field, it’s who is off it that has amplified the impact losing him to injury has had.
“It was emotional for our players and coaches because Tre is just a great, great individual, not just a terrifically talent and football player, but he’s a tremendous person as well,” Frazier added. “It was definitely emotional, when I saw him, when other guys saw him as well. We wanted to encourage him and just lift him up and let him know that we’re going to be there to support him through this process.”
While the loss of White is a blow to the team, head coach Sean McDermott is confident in the young CB’s ability to fully recover.
“I’m confident that Tre will return to form,” McDermott said during his mid week press session. “And he’s going to get through this time and space in his life and his career, and look back on it one day and say what he learned from it.”