OCTOBER 5: After experiencing no speedbumps during the Bills’ wing of practices in Buffalo ahead of their London game, the future Hall of Famer is making the trip to England, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. The Bills have nearly three weeks to activate Miller from the PUP list, but making the trip ahead of the Jaguars matchup represents a good sign of a Week 5 return.
OCTOBER 1: Bills defensive end Von Miller opened the season on the PUP list as he continues to recover from the ACL tear that ended his 2022 campaign prematurely. That meant that Miller would miss at least the first four games of the season but would be eligible to return for Buffalo’s Week 5 contest against the Jaguars next Sunday.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bills are opening Miller’s practice window, and the future Hall of Famer will resume practicing this week. Once that happens, the club will have three weeks to add him to the 53-man roster, and if they do not do so, he will be ineligible to return this season.
Obviously, the Bills would not open the practice window if they did not believe Miller was close to game-ready (indeed, at the beginning of August, GM Brandon Beane expressed optimism that Miller would suit up for Week 1). However, that does not necessarily mean that Miller will be in the lineup in Week 5. As Schefter notes, Buffalo will continue to be cautious with Miller, and there is not yet a definitive return date.
Now 34, Miller signed a six-year, $120MM contract with the Bills in March 2022. In his first season in western New York, which lasted just 11 games, the eight-time Pro Bowler posted eight sacks and was viewed as one of the league’s best all-around defenders in the eyes of Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. This offseason, Buffalo signed Leonard Floyd as something of a contingency plan, and Floyd has acquitted himself nicely, posting 3.5 sacks through the first three games of 2023.
Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa have also had some success this season, but the return of Miller will nonetheless be a welcome development for a team that has designs on a deep postseason run. The team currently ranks second in the league in terms of total defense, points allowed, and sacks, and Miller’s presence will make an already-imposing unit even more formidable.
In other news, safety Damar Hamlin is making his 2023 debut against the Dolphins today. While Hamlin participated in all three of the Bills’ preseason games, this will mark the third-year pro’s first regular season action since he collaped on the field due to commotio cordis in a Bills-Bengals game in January. Hamlin’s inspiring recovery has now come full circle, and he has taken the place of the injured Jordan Poyer on the active roster.