ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills will be without a key member of their defensive backfield for the big Week 4 AFC East clash against the Miami Dolphins, ruling out safety Jordan Poyer as he continues to deal with a knee injury that has kept him out of practice all week.
Poyer suffered the injury during the 37-3 win over the Washington Commanders on Sunday. Backup safety Taylor Rapp, a free agent addition this offseason, is expected to start in his place alongside veteran safety Micah Hyde, who is also dealing with a hamstring injury but participated in Thursday's practice. Sean McDermott described Poyer's injury on Thursday as "day to day."
Rapp has played 23% of the team's defensive snaps, as a third safety or nickel, and also has participated on special teams.. Poyer, 32, has 14 tackles in 2023 and is in his seventh season with the Bills. He paired with Hyde at safety after re-signing with the team on a two-year deal this offseason. Poyer also missed last year's road game against the Dolphins, which Miami won 21-19, because of injury. He missed four games because of various injuries in 2022.
"[Hyde and Poyer have] been both great to me, trying to bring me along as much as possible dating back to OTAs and training camp throughout the season," said Rapp, who mentioned that learning from the veterans was a part of why he signed with the Bills in free agency. "So, I'm looking forward to going out there, obviously, and capitalizing on the opportunity."
The injury also means safety Damar Hamlin, who has been a healthy scratch through the first three regular-season games because of the number of defensive backs and special teams players on the roster, is expected to be active on Sunday with the extra safety spot available on the gameday roster.
The Dolphins' offense is coming off a 70-point performance and has scored 130 points this season, the second-most ever through the first three games.
While a number of other Bills players have been listed on the injury report this week, everyone else participated fully on Friday, outside of cornerback Tre'Davious White, who had a veteran rest day, and there are no other injury designations ahead of Sunday's home game.
The Dolphins will be without one of their key defensive starters, as well, as linebacker Jaelan Phillips will miss Sunday's game with an oblique injury, head coach Mike McDaniel said Friday.
Phillips left Sunday's win over the Broncos in the second half after suffering the injury, and although he returned to the sideline, he did not return to the game. It will mark the second game this season Phillips has missed, and just the second game he has missed in his NFL career.
Andrew Van Ginkel will likely take his place at outside linebacker. The five-year veteran was electric in his lone start in place of Phillips this season, recording six pressures and a sack against the New England Patriots.
While they'll get one receiver back this week as Jaylen Waddle returns from concussion protocol, the Dolphins will be without two others for at least the next four weeks.
The team placed River Cracraft on injured reserve with a shoulder injury he suffered in last week's win over the Broncos. It also placed 2022 4th-round pick Erik Ezukanma on the reserve/non-football injury list. Ezukanma had not practiced this week with what was described as a neck injury.
ESPN's Marcel-Louis Jacques contributed to this report.