Through his first seven games as a Bill, Lotulelei has posted seven tackles (five solo) and no sacks.
That's the type of production an interior lineman could get by just standing there and waving his arms over seven games, but the coaching staff is vehement that Lotulelei has played a major role in improving the run defense, which was awful last season. The team is ranked a middling 16th this season, but that's marred after getting surprisingly gashed by the Colts in Week 7 after being relatively stout all season. Last season, the Bills ranked 29th against the run even though they made the playoffs. Lotulelei will continue to do his job of clogging the middle and clearing lanes, letting his linebackers teammate make the plays.
Lotulelei is back at practice Monday after suffering a minor back injury in Thursday's preseason opener, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com reports.
The starting defensive tackle missed some practice time over the weekend, but even if he's limited Monday, it looks like he'll be fine. Lotulelei is set to start next to Kyle Williams -- with rookie Harrison Phillips spelling the two -- in what should be a decent defensive line for the team.
Lotulelei suffered a back injury in Thursday's preseason opener against the Panthers, Sal Capaccio of WGR Sports Radio 550 reports.
Fortunately for Buffalo, head coach Sean McDermott does not believe the injury Lotulelei suffered is a serious one. Lotulelei is expected to play a crucial role in the Bills' defensive front this season, so don't be surprised if the team exercises cautious with the defensive tackle, even if it is a minor injury.
Lotulelei is slated to ink a five-year deal with the BillsESPN.com reports.
Lotulelei, the No. 14 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, played under current Bills head coach Sean McDermott from 2013 through 2016, while McDermott was the Panthers' defensive coordinator. While Lotulelei isn't much of an IDP factor, having logged 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 16 starts for Carolina last season, the 6-foot-2, 315-pounder is a capable run-stuffer, who will provide the Bills defense with a needed upgrade in that area.
Lotulelei had 25 tackles (six solo) and 1.5 sacks in the 2017 season.
It was a slight regression from the 26-tackle, four-sack performance of 2016, but he played less snaps this campaign. In his fifth year, Lotulelei proved consistent enough to man the front of one of the league's strongest defensive units.
|Bye: Week 11|
|13||12/2/18||@ MIA||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ NE||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|