Football is back in Orchard Park for another season which means today is the home opener with the Bills looking to regroup after a performance against Baltimore that led Bills fans questioning many things. Last week’s game left much to be desired in terms of quality and being at home where the Bills went 6-2 last year should change things. Today’s article will review the injuries going into the game and how this will impact personnel decisions.
Roster moves made since last article include the releasing of DT Adolphus Washington and WR Jeremy Kerley for DE Nate Orchard and DT Robert Thomas respectively. These moves are surprising as both players released are veterans and have demonstrated an ability to play their respective sides of the ball. Washington throughout his career has been fairly healthy and has been available. Kerley was by far the most experienced receiver on the field and demonstrated the ability to be consistent considering the question marks at QB. These moves were made to improve depth especially with the loss of DE Shaq Lawson and improve the rotational depth at DT. The Bills move forward with new depth in the front 4 established with hopes to better control the scoreboard.
Those already ruled out for the game include DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring) and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Both injuries occurred last week with Lawson in the 4th quarter and Johnson in the 2nd. Lawson has a garden variety right hamstring strain that is best to let rest as to further not injure it. Johnson appeared to have a right shoulder stinger and may not be ready for contact, similar to what QB AJ McCarron suffered during the preseason. There’s always the possibility there is something else going on such as an AC joint sprain, but he was moving it freely walking off the field and did not require any support to the shoulder indicating instability. Both could be available next week based on their recovery.
Those questionable are WR Ray-Ray McCloud (knee). The rookie wideout missed the season opener with a left knee injury suffered in the final preseason game against the Bears on a punt return. Video was limited and appeared that he suffered some type of minor sprain based on the hit to the outside of the knee. As it has been 2 weeks and change, he may be healthy enough to suit up today. With the loss of WR Jeremy Kerley, the tea leaves point to him playing, though he has the final say on if he feels he’s ready.
Other injuries to consider include DT Kyle Williams (knee) and DE Trent Murphy (groin). Both have avoided the injury report with exception of Williams who requires veteran rest days. Williams, the heart and soul of the front 4, appears to be nearly full health after the right knee sprain in the preseason and doesn’t appear to be worth mentioning moving forward. Murphy played last week on a snap count and was set to increase his reps as a result but will be forced into greater service with the absence of Lawson. He will still be limited only due to not being in game shape.
Overall, the Bills are still healthy, major injury to key players remain limited, and as a fan, I’m expecting a better Bills team to show up today. I’m looking forward to sitting back and watching a much more competitive game with what I hope will be a more favorable outcome today.
Continue to follow for the latest updates and injury news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow me on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!