After the Bills confirmed emerging rookie running back Zack Moss is out for the year, second-year player Devin Singletary will be thrust back into the spotlight in Saturday night's playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.
That may be an odd thing to say about a team's leading rusher, which Singletary is, but that's the reality after Singletary barely saw the football over the Bills' last nine games.
Singletary (156 carries, 687 yards) finished the regular season ahead of Moss (112 carries, 481 yards). But Moss by the second week of November had taken over the bulk of the rushing load.
Now the Bills will turn back to Singletary, with T.J. Yeldon backing him up and either Antonio Williams or Devonta Freeman, signed this week to the practice squad, also up to help out.
“I’m built for it," Singletary said. "I’m ready for it, I know the team has confidence in me, I have confidence in me. Whatever way I can, helping the team win, that’s what I’ll do."
Coach Sean McDermott confirmed on Thursday that Yeldon would be the No. 2 back. No decision has been made beyond those two.
Interestingly, McDermott also didn't even blink when addressing that possibly awkward dynamic before practice on Thursday.
"[Singletary's] role has been, to me, pretty consistent," he said. "Sometimes, you know, the ebbs and flows of the game cause the load of who gets the carries to fluctuate a little bit from game to game or week to week. So his role has always been the same for us and our confidence ... has always been very high."
Singletary had less than 10 carries in seven of Buffalo's final 11 regular-season games and had just three carries in last week's wild-card playoff win over Indianapolis.
McDermott believes his players have the makeup to handle those ebbs and flows without complications.
"Well, the great part about our guys is that they're all professionals," McDermott said, "and as hard as those conversations are, if you're wired the right way, it drives you harder. It pushes you to improve your game to the point where you get noticed again, or when called upon you take advantage of that opportunity."
Specifically as it applies to Singletary, McDermott is not concerned about a drop in confidence or any uncertainty that may have crept into the young player's head.
"He knows what he's meant to this team," McDermott said.
Saturday night, he could mean everything. The Bills were thin at that position even before Moss went out on a cart during last Saturday's game. Yeldon and Williams have combined for just 22 carries this season. Freeman is coming off an injury and hasn't played a game with the Bills yet.
On Monday, McDermott said he spoke to Singletary about getting ready for a big opportunity.
"I just told him it’s his time to step up and this is what he’s worked all his life for,” McDermott said. And, you know, Devin’s a guy that has worked extremely hard over the course of his career even before he got to the NFL. He’s no stranger to hard work and he’s no stranger to having to carry the load, and I know this team is 100% confident in Devin Singletary."
Not that the Bills have many other choices against the team that comes in with the top-ranked running game in the NFL.