The Bills prepare for an out-of-town flight for a ‘home’ game in Detroit

BUFFALO — Bills coach Sean McDermott did his best to keep things light amid heavy snow falling outside his window and disruption to Buffalo’s schedule – including forcing the team to play their game “at home” against Cleveland in Detroit on Sunday.

“Yeah, I want to go once we can get by,” McDermott said on a Zoom call from home on Friday, noting he may have a shovel task later in the day. “I think the family is upstairs on calls with my parents watching us, so yeah, that’s all part of the human part of it all.”

Aside from McDermott holding a virtual meeting with his players, though not all because some had lost power, football was mostly suspended. With more than a foot of snow already on the ground in some spots, making travel dangerous if not impossible, the Bills canceled what was essentially their last practice of the week.

On Saturday, they will have to dig themselves out to meet at the airport for a 45-minute flight to Detroit. And it’s possible some may have to do part of the trip by snowmobile, as happened in November 2014, when a similar storm led the NFL to move Buffalo’s home game against the Jets from New York at Ford Field in Detroit.

“It’s obviously TBD at this point. We want to go tomorrow as close to standard time as possible,” McDermott said. ensure all staff and players’ families are safe and dug in before trying to get out of here.”

The storm, which is expected to dump 2 to 4 feet of snow across the region, is expected to ease by Saturday in Buffalo’s Southtowns, where the Bills are based.

The Bills’ readiness — at 6-3 and after two straight losses — is another question.

In addition to snow hampering Buffalo’s training schedule, the team is also dealing with a wave of injuries and illnesses. On Wednesday, the Bills didn’t have enough healthy bodies to put on a full workout and held a presentation session instead.

McDermott on Friday ruled out starting linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (groin), starting defensive end Greg Rousseau (ankle) and cornerback Tre’Davious White, who is active but has yet to play since retiring. tore a ligament in his left knee almost a year ago.

On the bright side, McDermott said most of the six players who have contracted illnesses unrelated to COVID-19 are “tending in the right direction.”

Perhaps, the coach said, the challenges presented by injuries and snow could turn into a bonding experience.

“I think it has a chance to bring your team together,” he said. “I think there’s good when guys come together and pull together for a cause here.”

Several players took to social media to share their experiences.

Von Miller, veteran pass-rusher, posted a video of his vehicle almost completely covered in snow. Sophomore safety Damar Hamlin posted a video of him stepping out of his front door and plunging his feet into knee-deep snow.

The Bills even got in on the act by posting several photos from inside their stadium covered in white, with only the yellow goal posts exposed.

For some players who grew up in warmer climates and are new to Buffalo, the storm represents their first real experience with snow.

For others, it’s nothing new.

Veteran safety Jordan Poyer was among the few remaining Bills to play in near-cleanout conditions in December 2017, when a major storm hit Buffalo an hour before kickoff in their 13-7 overtime win. against Indianapolis.

The snow fell so hard at times that the Colts burned a timeout to dig a hole for the ball to be placed for Adam Vinatieri to hit an tying run after missing two field goal attempts. And the Bills celebrated running back LeSean McCoy’s game-winning 21-yard touchdown by making snow angels on the field.

“Yeah, I thought I was crazy coming to Buffalo, New York, to play in that stuff,” Poyer said. “But now that I think about it, it was probably one of the most fun games I’ve played.”

The Bills will make their first of two trips to Detroit in less than a week. They will be the home team on Sunday, then visitors for a game against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

For familiarity, the Bills opted to use the visitor’s locker room, sideline and practice booths on Sundays.

“Just the comfort level from week to week,” McDermott said. “But we’re just focused on this week right now.”

NOTES: Linebacker AJ Klein, who the Bills called on Wednesday, has a chance to be active despite the short time he has to practice, McDermott said. The 10-year veteran was cut by Chicago and is returning to Buffalo where he spent the previous two seasons. … Buffalo opened up a roster spot to sign Klein by placing WR Jake Kumerow (ankle) on injured reserve.

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