Football is back! The Buffalo Bills played the Minnesota Vikings last night in a 7 pm tilt at New Era Field to a 17-10 loss where we were able to finally see the McDermott era begin. While this is preseason and there isn’t much to take away from this first game, we do get to see who is ready for game time action and how some of the new acquired pieces are fitting together. While I did not watch the entire game, I was impressed with what the first team units were able to produce. Eddie Yarbrough was solid in his debut in a Bills uniform, constantly pressuring the QB and recording a solid sack filling in for the injured Shaq Lawson, out with a groin injury. Nathan Peterman moved the offense along and got the team back into contention with his first passing TD to Dez Lewis towards the end, though came up short. The running game continues to remain a strong focus of the offense, looking especially effective with Jonathan Williams and Mike Tolbert barreling through the line picking up solid yardage. Tyrod Taylor looked excellent getting the ball to Sammy Watkins, who showed no hitch in his step hauling in several catches before his day was done.
But Dr. Trimble, you stated this would be a blog about Buffalo Bills football injuries? Indeed it is reader! I would like to note that the Bills got through this game without any significant injuries. Prior to the game, it was reported that Shaq Lawson, Cordy Glenn, Kevon Seymour, Jeremy Butler, and Ryan Davis would be held out due to a variety of ailments, none that I expect are long term issues. Lawson, Glenn, and Seymour held out as a precaution; Butler and Davis still currently in the concussion protocol.
Thankfully, no serious injuries or concerns were noted for the Bills during the post game. Injuries to note were Tyrod Taylor exiting the game early to be evaluated by the training staff and quickly returning to the game. Also reported was Jonathan Williams exiting the game with a hamstring injury which was described as “very minor”. Expect Williams to either sit out a practice or two at most, but not to miss any extended time or even the next game based on current analysis.
The final player to leave the game for the Bills was LB Tanner Vallejo, the team’s 2017 6th round draft pick, with a shoulder injury. It is currently unknown which play injured Vallejo. As he was deemed questionable and then downgraded to out signifies that it is not a serious injury. Quite possibly, Vallejo landed hard on his shoulder during a play, leading to a slight AC sprain, which if not addressed right away, can worsen with continued play. With it being a preseason game, there wasn’t any incentive to put him back in and cause further injury. I expect Vallejo to possibly sit out several practices and restrict direct contact for the time being. At worst, he will miss a game as a precaution, but I do not expect this injury to keep him sidelined for long.
Unlike the Dolphins and Jets, who have sustained significant and long term injuries to key players, the Bills have not been bitten by the injury bug so far this training camp. As a Bills fan, I find that I am an eternal optimist with the team expectations at the beginning of each season. However, I do expect some guys to get banged up or miss some time. The NFL is a rough sport, players will get hurt. If this first game was any indication, things are looking good. Performances like this will allow the Bills to minimize injuries going into the season opener with the starters healthy and finally having the depth they’ve lacked on the roster for several years.