FOXBORO — The Patriots’ roster is thick with former Buffalo Bills, it seems.
The current roster includes Stephon Gilmore, Mike Gillislee, Chris Hogan and Alan Branch — and the latest addition, Eric Lee, may have already made a positive impression in his first week with the team.
In his first action for the Patriots since being signed as a free agent, Lee recorded four tackles, a sack and one other quarterback hit against Miami on Sunday from his hybrid outside linebacker-defensive end position. But this Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y. (1 p.m., CBS), he’ll be playing against the players he used to see every day in practice.
“Yeah,” Lee said, “everything has been moving pretty fast. Playing the Bills this week is going to be strange for sure, but it’s just another team. I respect a lot of guys on that team, so it’s going to be strange for sure.”
Lee, 23, was originally signed by the Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent out of South Florida last season. He came over to the Bills after a year on Houston’s practice squad.
Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick seemed to be pleased with Lee’s debut, as stated during Monday’s conference call with reporters.
“I think Eric worked hard this week to try and catch up in a lot of areas,” he said. “He really had a lot to do with the sack (or Matt Moore) that Trey Flowers got down in the red area where Flowers was actually unblocked, but Lee powered (Sam) Young on the other side and kind of collapsed the pocket. And he was in on a couple of running plays.
“We’ll see how it goes, but I think given the circumstances that he played in, he did a really good job for us,” Belichick added. “We’ll see if he can build on that this week and see where that takes us. I’m not sure, but it was good to have him and I thought he gave us some contributions that we needed.”
Lee said Sunday’s game might feel a little quirky to him because of his quick transition, but at the same time, his familiarity with the 6-5 Bills and how they do things could be helpful.
“Yes, from a personnel standpoint in terms of knowing who you’re going against and things like that,” he said. “Getting a feel for who they trust and who they rely on, what kind of player is he. Things like that for sure.
“But as far as game-plan stuff, I haven’t watched the Kansas City game yet,” he said. “So when it comes to scheming and game-plan stuff, it’s in the air for the most part. It’s all about focusing on us as the Patriots. Our preparation is going to dictate what they do.”
His former coach, Sean McDermott, offered a few positive thoughts about Lee in Wednesday morning’s conference call with the New England media.
“Eric’s a good young man,” the Bills’ coach said. “I heard he had a sack last week, for which I’m happy for him. Obviously, he was on our practice squad. He was up for a week. (He’s) just a good young man and I’m happy for him that he got a shot and I’m sure he’s going to play for a long time in this league.”
The big news of the injury report was Tom Brady’s absence because of his Achilles’ tendon soreness, along with Marcus Cannon (ankle), Chris Hogan (shoulder), Trevor Reilly (concussion) and LaAdrian Waddle (ankle). Hogan and Reilly were spotted by reporters heading to a side field after the media corps was shooed out of the main practice field.
Limited on Wednesday were Danny Amendola (knee), David Andrews (illness), Marquis Flowers (knee), Trey Flowers (rib), Eric Rowe (groin), Matthew Slater (hamstring) and Kyle Van Noy (calf).