2020 Bills Training Camp Injury Preview: Special Teams

How different will the unit look in 2020?

This is Part 12 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 12 consists of the special team’s room.

Not Returning

RB Senorise Perry

11 games Offense: 3 attempts, 3 yards, 1 target, 1 reception, 1 yard

Special teams: 6 combined tackles, 5 solo, 1 assist, 1 kick return for 2 yards

Perry didn’t do much in 2019, even on special teams. This was his primary role and he spent time on kickoffs & punts, accumulating little to no stats. Numbers don’t make the player, but to be a body on the field offering little competitive advantage along with little use in the offense. He didn’t suffer any known injuries, but it’s clear why the Bills moved on from him. For 2020, he will be calling Tennessee home. 

Returning Players

LS Reid Ferguson

143 snaps, 0 bad snaps, 1 solo tackle

Captain Ferguson continues to maintain a consistent approach to his job, avoiding bad snaps and effective leadership of the special team’s group. One of the longest-tenured players, having been with the team since 2016, he has helped morph the Bills into perennial playoff participants. He did not suffer any known injuries and considering his position, he should continue to avoid injury and provide consistency at a needed position. 

WR Andre Roberts 

13 games Offense: 2 starts, 1 rushing attempt, 7 yards, 7 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards, 1 fumble

Special teams: 28 punt returns, 223 yards, 25 kick returns, 664 yards, 1 fumble, 1 fumble recovery

Roberts continues to bet on himself, year after year on a series of one-year deals that have ended in Pro Bowl nods. He signed a two year deal with the Bills last season but still had the same results as expected.

He comes into 2020 recovering from several injuries that cost him some time, but his ability in the return game made a significant difference in field position & gave the unit an edge where it lacked the previous season. 

Below is Roberts known injuries:

    • Quadriceps

Little is known regarding the quadriceps injury that cost him the first two games of the season. He was able to play through the preseason without issue before showing up on the injury report for Week 1. 

It was not known which leg was affected or how he injured it. Based on the number of games he missed, it was more likely a strain than a contusion. It’s also like he suffered the injury while practicing following the cut-down day. 

He was able to make his Bills debut against the Bengals and didn’t have any noticeable restrictions in his abilities. 

    • Hamstring

Roberts received a punt against the Redskins early in the 4th quarter, kneeling it down to call a fair catch. He got up and began motioning to his hamstring area, indicating that may have tweaked the area. According to reports, it was not specific to which leg he injured and he did not miss the rest of the game. However, important to note as he has dealt with several soft tissue injuries. 

    • Foot

The last injury for 2019 cost Roberts the ability to play his former team in the Jets during the second matchup in the finale. He suffered a foot injury in the Patriots game that was either the result of getting kicked in the right ankle or he stepped funny following a routine play. There wasn’t much information that was known but he took the week off and was able to play in the playoff game.

Roberts will be a lock to make the roster in 2020, but there is always a concern regarding any strains he suffers due to the demands of special teams along with occasional participation in the offense. 

K Stephen Hauschka

16 games 5 for 5 20-29 yards, 7 for 8 30-39 yards, 9 for 10 40-49 yards, 1 for 5 50+ yards, 22/28 FG 78.6%, 30/32 Extra Points 

Hauschka managed to stay healthy this season but did not perform up to his previous seasons. There’s a possibility that age may be finally catching up with him, the back injury he suffered against the Jets courtesy of Henry Anderson, or diminishing skills could have led to his struggles in 2019.

With the addition of draftee Tyler Bass, Hauschka certainly feels his seat growing warmer, knowing that his job is on the line if he doesn’t produce. 

P Corey Bojorquez

16 games 79 punts, 3313 yards, long 67, 1 blocked, 41.9 yards

Bojorquez still continues to struggle with his punting despite his big leg, rocketing kicks down the field. Unfortunately, his consistency leaves a lot to be desired and could be a position that the Bills look to upgrade if he does not perform well in camp. He did not suffer any known injuries in 2019, but like Hauschka, the pressure is on to perform in the preseason with the signing of Vedvik looking to lock down a job for 2020. 

New to the roster

P Kaare Vedvik

Vedvik is known more to Bills fans as the Week 1 scapegoat for the Jets loss which ultimately cost him his job. He bounced around the league last year before finding a home with Cincinnati’s practice squad. 

He decided to switch back to punting in order to prolong his career in the NFL and attempt to take Bojorquez’s job. He comes in with little injury concern, but to read more about Vedvik, check out Banged Up Bills.

K Tyler Bass

The big legged kicker out of Georgia Southern is a rare draft pick by the Bills at a position that has some question marks heading into 2020. He is far cheaper, younger, and healthier than his competition in Hauschka. 

However, Bass doesn’t have the weather and big game experience that Hauschka has which may make this camp battle all the more exciting. To read more on Bass, click the Buffalo Rumblings link. 

RB Taiwan Jones

The Bills cannot get enough of former players. Jones returns to the Bills on a one year deal to spark some life into the special teams game following Senorise Perry’s lack of firepower. 

After spending the 2019 season with Houston where he battled several injuries, Jones returned to Buffalo in order to extend his career. If you go read the Buffalo Rumblings, you will see that Jones has suffered a multitude of injuries along with missing 53 games over his career. He may have come to Buffalo because the training staff can squeeze another year out of him or the front office wants to see what he has left. 

Either way, the Bills are not tied to him financially but if he stays healthy, he could add a new wrinkle to the special teams unit as it continues to rebuild under ST coach Heath Farwell. 

2020 Outlook

This is one unit that could experience significant turnover based on camp battles. The only position that is secured is the returner in Roberts & LS in Ferguson. 

The rest is up for debate based on my guesses being on Hauschka & Bojorquez making the roster, holding off their competition. Bass & Vedvik could end up on the practice squad but unlikely both due to the redundancy and other roster needs. Jones can make this roster if he stays healthy. 

The rest of the unit will be made up of roster depth which should increase efficiency due to the continuity of the overall roster. If the Bills can control the field position & get a vital special teams scores occasionally, this could help propel the Bills deep into the playoffs for 2020.

Author: Dr. Trimble

My name is Dr. Kyle Trimble and I am, first and foremost, a Buffalo Bills fan!! When I am not cheering on the Buffalo Bills, I am a Physical Therapist. To give a background on myself; I was born and raised in Erie, PA, moved to Buffalo in 2006 to begin my studies at D'Youville College towards becoming a Physical Therapist at which time I became a devoted Buffalo Bills fan.  I graduated in 2013 with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy and moved home for several years. Moving back to the Buffalo area in 2016, I have gained extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. Having obtained a significant wealth of knowledge that continues to grow, along with a undying fandom of the Bills, puts me in the unique position to educate my fellow fans about our great team. 
I am currently an injury spotter working with Dr. David Chao, Orthopedic Surgeon @ProFootballDoc based out of San Diego. In this role, I provide real time updates regarding injuries during the game. I hope you enjoy what I publish and I welcome any comments or questions you may have.
Disclaimer: My opinions are my own.  Any thoughts I have on the injuries is based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available.


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