2021 Buffalo Bills Training Camp Injury Preview- Safety

This is the 2021 Training Camp Preview for the Buffalo Bills Safety room. This will outline every known injury from 2020 and outlook heading into 2021.


Josh Thomas

Appeared in 2 games.

Mainly a practice squad player, Thomas made several brief appearances during the season last year on special teams. He did not suffer any publicly reported injuries but it is important to note that he did was at minicamp but did not participate, wearing a red jersey. This will be something to monitor closer to training camp, but he will need to be fully healthy and have a strong camp to have a chance at the roster. 

Jordan Poyer

Appeared in 16 games, 3 postseason games.

I had to double check this one, but Poyer did not suffer any publicly reported injuries during the season. The closest he got was a concussion evaluation in Week 16 following a hit on Patriots QB Cam Newton. He was cleared and immediately returned. He’s as durable as they come, only having missed one game since arriving in Buffalo. 

There are always concerns about injury considering his position and what he means to the defense, but he has shown the ability to play at a high level and stay healthy. I have no reason to expect any change.

Jaquan Johnson

Appeared in 14 games, 3 postseason games.

Johnson, originally viewed as a safety replacement as Poyer and Hyde age out, appears more on special teams and has found a home there over the past two seasons. Injury wise, he suffered:

  • Right lower leg contusion, Week 4, missed 0 games.
  • Back injury, Week 7 practice, missed 0 games.
  • Right ankle injury, possible high ankle sprain, Week 13, missed 2 games. 

Besides the ankle injury that cost him two games, Johnson has been overall healthy this past season. Considering he only gets ~20 plays a game, I would expect his injury risk to be lower, but still possible due to the unpredictability of what special teams is. Considering Johnson will be returning to the same role this year, I don’t have many concerns from an injury standpoint.

Micah Hyde

Appeared in 15 games, 3 postseason games.

Similar to his counterpart Jordan Poyer, Hyde has also been incredibly durable since arriving in Buffalo, missing only two games. He continues to man one of the best safety tandems in the NFL and still performs despite injuries. Those include:

  • Left ankle sprain, Week 1, missed 0 games.
  • Left ankle sprain, Week 3, missed 0 games.
  • Concussion, Week 7, missed 1 game.
  • Ankle injury, side not specified, Week 10 practice, missed 0 games.

He dealt with that low ankle sprain early on that he re-injured several times, but either healed it enough play though or he re-injured it in Week 10. Either way, his play was minimally affected as his mere presence alone is game-changing. As for the concussion, this was the first publicly documented one that I have been able to find.

The only other game that Hyde has missed in his career with the Bills is a groin strain in Week 4 of the 2018 season. Any injury that results in missed time is concerning, but I have little concern for injuries this year as Hyde has shown again and again he will play through injury and still perform exceptionally well.

New to the roster:

Tariq Thompson

Thompson comes to the Bills from San Diego State having only missed 3 snaps against UNLV in 2019. The details of if there was an injury or other issues he was dealing with isn’t publicly known, but he also was shown to be durable and could find a home on the practice squad.

Damar Hamlin

Hamlin arrived in Buffalo as a late-round draft pick and has been rather healthy other than a complicated core muscle injury that wasn’t addressed properly by team physicians. This article by Tyler Dunne over at Go Long TD was really eye-opening as to why there were so many issues.

Core muscle repairs, when repaired properly, have an excellent return to play rate and typically don’t have complications later on. He has been durable since then and other than acclimation injuries in training camp, I have very little concern for Hamlin’s availability. I really like Hamlin’s chances to make this roster as a depth option or at the very worst, make the practice squad but be a frequent call up. 

Not returning:

Dean Marlowe

Appeared in 15 games, 3 postseason games.

A favorite of Sean McDermott’s since their days in Carolina, Marlowe suffered no publicly reported injuries and only missed one game due to going on the COVID list in Week 10. He understood his role and was called upon when asked to play, appearing in the most games of his career in 2020. He has since moved onto Detroit and I hope that he is able to parlay what he has learned in Buffalo to get more consistent playing time in the Lions secondary.

2021 Injury Expectations:

This is one of the healthiest groups on the roster and the injuries they do sustain are relatively minor. The loss of Hyde or Poyer would be extremely detrimental to the defense, but the Bills have been mindful to bring in talent to address the depth not only in case of injury but also as players get older or too expensive. This has been one group that excels on the field and stays healthy despite the demands of the position.