The big concern going into this game against the Jets is how long starters will play & what players will be inactive. This is especially worrisome due to the recent comments by Jets S Jamal Adams in which he stated they would be hunting along with Jets DC Gregg Williams. Along with that comment, Bills fans have to worry about cheap shots from DE Henry Anderson. If you recall, he blindsided K Stephen Hauschka last season which threw his game off for the rest of the season seen below.
#Jets Jamal Adams told the media today "Yeah, we coming after them. We hunting, man. … It's a playoff game for us. We hear they're (#Bills) going to start their starters. That's good. We're looking forward to the matchup, I can tell you that."
— Nate Mendelson (@NateMendelson) December 24, 2019
3 Dirty hits by #Jets DL Henry Anderson in multiple games against #Bills players Josh Allen & Stephen Hauschka. Hit #3 was extremely late & dangerous targeting the back of Allen's knee. Horrible display from a division rival in the 2 close games. pic.twitter.com/V22sPPo4ay
— Bills Cold Front Report (@ColdFrontReport) September 10, 2019
Thankfully, the Bills continue to manage their injuries well & are not forced to play players who are injured. Below are the injuries prior to the game & inactives.
WR Andre Roberts (foot)
Roberts was a surprise addition to the injury report following Saturday’s game. Reviewing the film, it’s not clear when he suffered his foot injury. There aren’t many plays that show when he could have possibly injured his foot, but a possible culprit is when he was blocking for QB Josh Allen on a designed run play early in the 3rd quarter, it appears he got kicked on the right ankle.
There was also another point in the 3rd quarter with 3:35 left in where he appeared to be limping slightly after the play. There didn’t appear to be a mechanism of injury prior to this play either which makes this difficult to identify the exact problem. Considering he hasn’t practiced this week & has already been ruled out, we can only hope that he will be ready for the playoffs.
DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring)
Lawson has not been able to practice this week due to a hamstring strain suffered in Saturday’s loss to the Patriots. This occurred after a tackle for loss in the backfield during the 2nd half of the game. The actual tackle itself did not appear to be an issue, but rather the celebration afterward. He began to get up & celebrate, grabbing the hamstring in the process.
He was able to continue playing for the rest of the game but the injury appeared to catch up with him later. Even after a slight strain, the muscle is still painful & sore, requiring frequent stretching & controlled movement to allow healing but not overwork the area in order to prevent further injury. As he has already been ruled out, this is the smart move to do considering how valuable he will be in the playoffs. It will be interesting to note how the coaching staff rotates the defensive ends as there are only 4 on the roster.
Shaq Lawson and Andre Roberts ruled out for Bills Sunday. That means Roberts won't get a chance to play his former team this season. He misses the opener, as well. Hopefully both are fine for the playoff game next weekend. https://t.co/Tq09ReTt6j
— Sal Capaccio ???? (@SalSports) December 27, 2019
OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)
I feel like we have been having the same conversation for the past 6 weeks regarding his injury. But new information is available! He finally appears to have made the expected progress, participating in practice on Thursday & looking quite well on film. He is moving with the fluidity of someone who is close to returning & appears to be close to 100%.
Great close up view of the right ankle. Looks to be a standard ankle brace to provide proprioceptive support & compression. That’s a man moving like he’s approaching 100% health. #Bills https://t.co/30xNnpU35h
— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) December 26, 2019
Considering how he is moving, I’m making the assumption that he could have returned sooner, but how OT Cody Ford was playing, he wasn’t needed immediately. At this point, it is unnecessary for Nsekhe to play in Week 17, but he has missed the last 5 games which means he would benefit from some live reps in order to prepare for the playoffs.
Can’t tell if the ankle has a brace or tape on but this looks great. Still question if he plays Sunday, would only be for live reps to prepare for playoffs. Still fits timeline with the low ankle sprain. #Bills https://t.co/blVKRltjkw
— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) December 26, 2019
CLEARED TO PLAY
C Mitch Morse (right low ankle sprain)
Morse scared many Bills fans late in the 4th quarter in which he had his ankle rolled up on, reportedly feeling several pops & having difficulty walking on it initially. Fortunately, he was able to practice in full this week & not appear to have any limitations despite what appears to be a low ankle sprain.
Morse is yet another starter that may play several series but overall benefit from a well-deserved rest day or even being declared inactive in order to ensure his health.
DT Harrison Phillips (left ACL)
Phillips has been out since September, diligently working back from a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely in the win over Cincinnati. Occasionally, news is released of Phillps attending practice, performing his rehab, & still participating in team activities. While it wasn’t expected that Phillips would return until next season, it’s great to see the progress being done in rehab. In the first tweet, below is Phillips running on an underwater treadmill to reduce the stress that land-based running would cause. In the other tweet, you can see the progress that Phillips has made & is demonstrating the proper muscle control during his step-up routine with a weighted vest.
Awesome to see. Water creates buoyancy & takes pressure off joint & healing ligament to begin to normalize walking/running mechanics to avoid compensations. Looks to be on track, got to come back even stronger! https://t.co/GmAy4Q02KL
— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) December 14, 2019
He really is looking good. Doesn’t have to thrust himself up or lose control coming down. Slow controlled movement noted on the left. Right on target with protocol. I would expect some future videos showing agility drills & land running. #Bills https://t.co/YIA6kQDvni
— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) December 27, 2019
Even though he is unable to play this year, Phillips still understands his job & purpose on the team which further validates the culture that has been instilled at One Bills Drive. I expect to see more clips in the near future & see him inch closer & closer towards returning to football activities.
TE Lee Smith
RB Frank Gore
S Micah Hyde
S Jordan Poyer
DE Shaq Lawson
WR Andre Roberts
G Quinton Spain
This would be a game that the Bills would be foolish to not play all their reserve players for much needed live snaps. It is probably the best bet to allow some of the veteran players a true rest day, have all the starters play several series & then act as backups in order to get through the game. It would be great to get to 11 wins, but not at the cost of a key contributor going down.
The Jets are still a talented team, this is the NFL after all. But this is the best-case scenario in where the backups can get extensive playing time & get some film for next season when the roster churns over. Plus, I don’t think in any circumstance that Terry or Kim Pegula are forcing the coach to play certain players as in the still hotly debated topic of QB Doug Flutie or Rob Johnson. This will be a good game to allow the Bills to play & not worry about the outcome. There are bigger fish to fry next week with either traveling to Kansas City or Houston, both being true tests.
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