Week 10 Bills Injury Preview- Browns

The Bills are healthy?

So hey Bills Mafia, what do you want to talk about? Clearly not about this injury report, I mean, there are all of two names on there. By the way, it’s Week 10. Week 10 of an NFL season. An NFL season which consists of broken bones, torn tendons, ligaments, concussions, & an endless supply of heartbreak. Yet, here we are at Week 10 with a “healthy” roster. I say nearly healthy because there are still injuries that linger, injuries that are unknown, injuries that are still on the mend. 

The Bills are 6-2 with a “healthy” roster coming into Week 10 against the 2-6 Cleveland Browns. That’s an awesome sentence to think about, write, & read. While the Bills still have to go & play the game, 7-2 is looking quite good right now. Before I get ahead of myself, there are a few injuries below, take a few moments to check them out, it’ll be brief!

Injuries during the game included WR Andre Roberts (leg), DE Trent Murphy (neck), & S Micah Hyde (knee) were all minor enough that they did not show up on the injury report & shouldn’t be a concern moving forward. To note, all did return to play after getting quickly evaluated by the medical staff. 

LB Maurice Alexander (knee/calf) was placed on IR this past week clearing the way for the Bills to sign DT Corey Liuget to help shore up the run game. The exact specifics behind Alexander going to IR is right now a mystery & may not be revealed until much later. To get more information about Liuget, make sure to check the tweet below. 

S Kurt Coleman (left hamstring)

Coleman suffered a hamstring strain on a special teams play against the Dolphins back in Week 7. He has since missed 2 games & frankly, the team has soldiered on without him. He continues to fit what the Bills training staff has done in managing hamstring strains. He was limited Wednesday when it was cold & windy outside, but since able to practice in full on Thursday & Friday. I expect he’ll play Sunday as he’s fresher than some of the other players who may be able to play but could use a week off.

CB Kevin Johnson (left knee)

Johnson was a surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday with a knee injury. Looking at the video below, it appears that he gets tripped up before landing hard on his left knee as he continued downfield.

He may have slightly hyperextended his knee, he may have twisted or tweaked the knee where it was sore, it’s not quite known what he’s dealing with. However, while he didn’t practice Wednesday, he was a full participant on Thursday & Friday. Johnson has been incredibly durable this year, only suffering a stinger which limited in practice during the week prior to the Eagles game but otherwise appears to have avoided serious injury that derailed multiple seasons when he was in Houston.  Either way, he should be good to go for Sunday to continue to special teams & defensive depth.

Probable Inactive’s:

TE Tommy Sweeney

S Jaquan Johnson

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ryan Bates

WR Robert Foster

RB T.J. Yeldon

DT Vincent Taylor

The Bills are looking to move to 7-2 following a trip to Cleveland in a battle for Lake Erie supremacy. All the talk about soft schedules, DVOA, power rankings; what does it matter if a win is a win in the NFL? Previous iterations of the Bills have received winnable games on paper & blown them, leading to a loss. So if the Bills get a win on Sunday, then they’re 7-2 & that much closer to a playoff spot and that much closer to a Super Bowl, even though that seems so far off. For now, I hope the Bills keep stacking wins, soft schedules be damned! Let’s hope for minimal to no injuries Sunday as the Bills march towards the difficult portion of their schedule.

 

Week 9 Bills Injury Review- Redskins

Are Murphy, Roberts, & Hyde’s injuries going to keep them out for Sunday?

The Bills secured a virtually expected win with a score of 24-9 on a cold Sunday afternoon at New Era Field. The Washington Redskins hung around a little longer than most people would have liked with the score 17-9 until the very end but a win is a win. The Bills still moved the ball effectively with the run game & held rookie QB Dwayne Haskins in check in his first NFL start. In addition to the win, the Bills move to 6-2 for the first time since 1993 when they started 7-1. Along with the excellent record, little to no injuries occurred during the game which should prevent altering the game plan for Cleveland. 

Prior to the game, it was announced that both OT Cody Ford & CB Levi Wallace were both active as I had predicted. Wallace was able to play in 100% of defensive snaps but Ford did not appear in any offensive snaps. He did appear in 4 special teams plays consisting of extra points which show he was able to play, but with how well OT Ty Nsekhe played, the coaching staff may have made the determination that he plays in the event that Nsekhe was injured. To note, he was wearing padding with what appeared to be bracing on the left elbow, fitting the expected protection he required in order to play.

 

DE Trent Murphy (left shoulder/neck)

Murphy, who for the most part, has been incredibly healthy this year following an injury-plagued 2018 season suffered a minor injury early in the 2nd half. The play occurred with 10:54 in the 3rd quarter on a routine run play. Murphy got sucked into the middle and got hit/stepped on under a pile of bodies. 

Trainers quickly reached him on the field with Murphy repeatedly motioning to his left trapezius/shoulder area as he walked off. He went to the medical tent to get assessed and was briefly out, able to return later in the game. 

He may be day to day with a minor neck/left trapezius muscle strain but shouldn’t cause any long term issues. It’s incredibly promising that he was able to return but he may be sore this week. 

 

S Micah Hyde (right knee)

When Hyde had to be assessed by trainers early in the 4th quarter, it put a scare into all fans that thankfully didn’t appear to be serious. Video review showed that he got clipped by a cleat in the right knee as he went down. Football players are tough, but getting clipped is painful no matter which way you look at it. 

This isn’t an injury that would likely appear on the injury report unless he is dealing with some swelling. This may be more pain-related but like Murphy, he was able to return to continue playing. Barring any new updates, he should be fine for Sunday. 

 

WR Andre Roberts (left hamstring/quadricep/calf)

Shortly after Micah Hyde went out, Roberts suffered a minor injury of his own. At 10:18 in the 4th quarter, he ran up to catch the punt, kneeling down on his left leg to fair catch the football. He briefly walked around before trainers checked him out. Reports indicate that he was motioning towards his hamstring but broadcast video available doesn’t show this. It’s possible that he tweaked his hamstring running up to catch the ball, attempting to slow down, but there’s always a chance he suffered a minor quad or calf injury. 

As with the others above, he was later able to return indicating that this may also be minor. Unless there is a better view or media reports, then this is what we will be working with. While the team is conservative in managing hamstring injuries, I do not believe that this may be anything to be concerned with as Monday’s press conference did not highlight the injury. I am not convinced that he suffered a hamstring injury based on the video alone.

This Bills team isn’t built to blow out teams, this isn’t a team that imposes its will on any team it wishes, but it is a team that finds ways to win. Considering the coaching staff is solidified & most of the team positions aren’t experiencing high turnover, this allows the team to stack wins rather than trying to piece together a game plan to just survive. We’ll see how the week progresses but things are looking up injury-wise as they move onto Week 10 against Cleveland. 

 

Top Photo Credit:

Washington Post

Week 3 Bills Injury Preview- Bengals

Will the Bills be able to overcome this week’s injuries to defeat the Bengals?

The Bills are riding high at 2-0 but injuries are beginning to mount. Missing time due to injury is an unfortunate reality of the NFL and the Bills are no exception. They are set to host the Bengals in the home opener on Sunday down 3 key players in this young season. Today’s thoughts will outline why these individuals will miss the game, their expected return, & outlook in the coming weeks.

Ruled OUT:

CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring)

Johnson has been dealing with a hamstring strain since the season opener early in the 3rd quarter. To recall, he was attempting to cover Jets WR Jamison Crowder over the middle before pulling up lame with what appeared to be a Grade 1 hamstring strain. He missed last week’s game as expected but now he will miss his 2nd straight game. Due to the demands of the cornerback position having to run forward, backward, sideways, the demands of his hamstring is greater than other positions. Unfortunately, these strains are common in the warmer months & early in the season as players work into game shape.

However, while he did not practice this week, he did perform drills on the side indicating that he is healing as evident in the video below. Based on that video and that it’s been two weeks already, it’s likely that he is at worst questionable heading into Week 4 but could possibly play barring any setbacks. 

 

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

Singletary suffered his own hamstring strain late in the 4th quarter with a run to the left before hobbling out of bounds. Like Johnson, he came up lame and hobbled across the field to the bench. Singletary was not able to practice all week and according to reports, he was not seen on the sidelines doing any individual drills. 

Fortunately for Singletary, his hamstring injury by video appeared to milder compared to Johnson’s. This indicates that he may be able to practice next week to prepare for the Patriots. There is no guarantee that he will be ready but I believe that he will have shorter recovery time and only miss a week.

 

TE Tyler Kroft (left ankle)

Kroft was on track to start his first game in a Bills uniform this Sunday before “banging” his ankle in his 2nd practice back. According to reports, he suffered a low ankle sprain. Without any further information, it’s hard to say if he will be ready next week. It’s unlikely that this ankle injury is the result of the broken foot that he has been recovering from. I believe that Kroft is now deemed oft-injured considering the injuries over the past 2 years.  

The team has been incredibly diligent in managing Kroft’s injury but it’s very difficult to prevent the injuries that Kroft has sustained so far. The hope is that he recovers well from the sprain and can be ready for Week 4. However, it’s likely that he would want to be at 100% before even attempting to return to play. Either he comes back Week 4 or 5 at the latest.

Ruled QUESTIONABLE:

LB Corey Thompson (ankle)

Thompson suffered an ankle sprain possibly before Friday’s practice. Despite there isn’t video available of the ankle injury, it’s likely he’s also dealing with a low ankle sprain. If he had suffered this earlier in the week, he may have been limited but cleared to play. However, since this happened Friday, he may try to test it out on Sunday to see if he can go. He won’t be 100%, but taping up the ankle along with a good warmup may allow him to get through the game through his limited participation on special teams. It’s truly a 50/50 shot on whether he plays.

Others dealing with injury:

WR Andre Roberts (quadriceps)

Roberts suffered what appears to be a quadriceps strain right before Week 1, causing him to miss 2 games. He was finally able to practice in full Friday which is always a good indication of playing Sunday. This is an injury that can reoccur despite rest & rehab, but video below shows him moving well. The medical staff also continues to be conservative and not rushing players back unless they’re truly able to play.

CB Tre’Davious White (neck)

White was a surprise addition to the injury report with a red, non-contact jersey Wednesday & Thursday. It was later revealed that he is dealing with a neck injury. In my Twitter thread below, I outlined some possibilities when he suffered a neck injury in Sunday’s game. He did suffer several hits but nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary. This may be a general neck strain but hard to pinpoint without an exact mechanism of injury. Thankfully, he is cleared and will be one to watch for Sunday if he has to exit the game due to any further injury.

In the video below, White doesn’t appear to be limited at all covering WR Duke Williams on 1-on-1 drills.

Johnson, Singletary, and Kroft are already ruled out but fortunately, the Bills have solid depth at each position to get through the Bengals game with the hopes each can return for the Patriots game. It’s unfortunate that they are missing the home opener, but better to miss now with quality depth rather than playing with limited options late in the season with playoffs at stake.

Week 2 Bills Injury Preview- Giants

Assessing the latest injuries to Levi Wallace, Tyler Kroft, Andre Roberts, & Taron Johnson

The Bills head back to the Meadowlands for a Week 2 matchup against the New York Giants in hopes for a fast start to the season. Already, they are without several key players that are nursing injuries. However, these injuries are minor in comparison to teams around the league but still significant enough that this may give the Giants an advantage. 

OUT

WR Andre Roberts (quadriceps)

Regrettably, he has already been ruled out for Sunday’s contest. He is still dealing with a quadriceps injury which frankly, is a mystery. To date, there is no known video that shows what happened with Roberts or any details explaining what he did. He played in every preseason game with the exception of the 4th game with no known injuries during that time. He was able to participate in practice on Labor Day and this is likely when he suffered his injury. 

There isn’t a ton of injuries that a player can sustain to his quadriceps. There can be strains & contusions and to a lesser extent, tendinitis. Considering the practice consisted of stretches and individual drills, he either suffered a strain trying to slow down or sprinting. He may have also suffered a contusion which wasn’t reported at the time. Either injury that occurs, it’s possible he could be out for 2 weeks and it wouldn’t be unreasonable. 

What’s interesting is that he isn’t even out in pads or a red practice jersey; he was observed in sweats during Friday’s practice. That doesn’t bode well for someone trying to return quickly. Something more may be going on than we know right now. 

CB Taron Johnson (hamstring)

The undersized cornerback suffered a possible right hamstring strain attempting to keep up with Jets WR Jamison Crowder early in the 3rd quarter during Week 1. He was unable to return and later had an MRI the next day. He has since been ruled out for Sunday which was expected as he hasn’t practiced all week. He was seen with a red practice jersey on Friday which indicated that he is improving but far from ready. Don’t be surprised if he misses 2 games before returning. 

QUESTIONABLE

TE Tyler Kroft (foot)

Kroft was limited all week and is questionable to play this weekend. He continues to increase his workload as he works to return to fully playing. Don’t expect him to suit up this Sunday as he hasn’t had 3 full days of practice and his conditioning may not be up to par either. Once he gets through a full week of practice, then he will be likely to play. Expect him in Week 3.

CB Levi Wallace (right ankle)

Wallace threw a scare into the Twitterverse when he went down on a 1-on-1 drill late in practice Thursday. Close up video review showed that he tried to keep close with WR Zay Jones before turning his hips, attempting to pivot on his right foot and fell down. At most, it appeared to be a minor low ankle sprain that didn’t limit him in Friday’s practice. He did have it wrapped up to assist with swelling and pain but appears to be full go. Considering the Giants receiving corps is depleted, Wallace may be able to keep up with them. If he suffers a setback or needs a break, CB Kevin Johnson can step in. 

 

Overall, it’s already known that Johnson & Roberts are out with Kroft also likely not to play this weekend. Despite losing Taron Johnson as a starter, the biggest loss continues to be Roberts in the return game. Considering S Micah Hyde is still returning punts indicates that Roberts is sorely needed. Ideally, injuries continue to be minimal and the Bills escape Week 2 with a win to move to 2-0.

Week 1 Bills Injury Review – Jets

How serious is Johnson’s latest injury?

The Bills make me wanna shout! Yes sir, indeed they did with a thrilling 17 point comeback to seal a 17-16 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. Despite 3 rather subpar quarters of football, QB Josh Allen rallied in the 4th quarter & went 8/10 with 102 yards and a TD to seal the deal. Wins like this indicate that this may be a team that doesn’t roll over when down in years past. The Bills won’t win every game in this fashion, but defeating a division rival to start the season is key in the march to the playoffs.

The only notable injury sustained in Sunday’s win was CB Taron Johnson (hamstring). The 2nd year cornerback suffered a hamstring strain early in the 3rd quarter with 12:58 left on a 2 & 10 play in which Jets C Ryan Kalil was called for hands to the face. Replay doesn’t show Johnson in the TV view & an alternate angle only shows him briefly running over the middle going left before coming up with what looked to be a painful hop.

Reviewing All-22 footage, the sideline view is the only instance where the injury can be observed. Johnson was tasked with covering WR Jamison Crowder in the slot. Crowder runs forward & then to his left up the middle with Johnson keeping pace with him. This occurs for about 25 yards & the injury occurs about when the play shows to be whistled dead.

It appears that Johnson is beginning to decelerate or slow down causing the hamstring to eccentrically contract. An eccentric contraction is when the muscle lengthens under load. In this case, running forces the hamstring to contract but lengthen while stepping forward and trying to slow down. Considering he was going full speed, this is most likely the cause. The video angle is tough to determine but it looks like his right hamstring is the side affected when he came up hopping.

Johnson was later interviewed by ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques in which Johnson reports he felt a pop as he was running. He was scheduled to have an MRI Monday to determine the severity.

Considering Johnson felt a pop, this was the muscle tissue tearing as it does when a strain occurs. How much tearing indicates the graded severity. Reports indicated he was able to walk under his own power to the locker room.

On the knowledge that he felt a pop, he was able to walk off, & he was dealing with a groin injury during the preseason, my initial assumption is that he suffered a Grade 1 or mild Grade 2 strain. This may have been a compensation injury due to the groin not fully assisting in slowing the speed down. Based on this information, I suspect that he misses at least 1-3 games, possibly more if the injury is more severe than I theorize.

If Johnson is unable to go as expected, CB Captain Munnerlyn or CB Lafayette Pitts may be an option to bring in for a short stint. He is a veteran with minimal injury history & understands the defense. He may be best suited for this over S Siran Neal who appeared to be at times a liability when having to fill in for Johnson.

Besides Johnson’s injury, WR/KR Andre Roberts missed the opener with what sounds like a quadriceps strain. He was able to practice last Monday which consisted of stretches and individual drills. He then missed Wednesday & Friday’s practices, ruling him out. Quad strains typically require stretching, rest, and light strengthening along with ramping up activity as tolerated. The team may have been cautious in holding him out to avoid further problems.

TE Tyler Kroft continues to work back from the broken foot sustained in OTA’s without any apparent setbacks. There are several clips of him over the past 2 weeks working through drills without any compensation. I believe that he has to get up to game speed & conditioning which may take another 2 weeks which could put him at the home opener barring any setbacks.

Outside of those injuries, the only other issues I saw were QB John Allen having to scramble and take several hard hits with one appearing to faze him for a moment early on. While his legs are a weapon, the Jets knew this & keyed in to reduce his chances. While scrambling is great to have, opening himself to injury is not ideal.

Overall, it was a great win & minimal injuries. The next two weeks of Giants & Bengals may provide some early key wins for momentum going into the Patriots Week 4 showdown. Considering the Patriots added in WR Antonio Brown to their stables of WR Josh Gordon, WR Julian Edelman, & WR Phillip Dorsett, the Bills will have to be at their healthiest to keep the playing field level.

If an injury does occur, the Bills finally have depth at each position that will allow them to still play effective football until starters return. This team is finally built for depth, hopefully, the depth keeps the ship afloat. 

Preseason Review & Week 1 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

Reviewing the starters preseason injuries & Week 1 injury preview.

Week 1 is days away & the Bills appear to be healthy after a successful preseason. Despite the team reporting that the roster is mostly healthy, several players are still dealing with the effects of the preseason. Below is a list of players who have suffered injuries through the preseason. This is broken into 3 tiers to identify severity level and what to watch out for in the coming weeks.

Minor but noteworthy:

LB Corey Thompson- Groin

Thompson missed the Panthers as the result of a groin strain suffered during the Colts game. Groin injuries can linger if not addressed with rest & rehab. Considering Thompson is a backup & special teams contributor, the likelihood of re-injury is low.

WR Zay jones- Back soreness/hamstring

According to video, Jones appeared to be working through general back soreness early in camp. This was concerning as he had missed minicamp with undisclosed reasons. It was later revealed that he had been dealing with a hamstring issue that did not get re-aggravated during the preseason.

Jones was able to play a various positions during the preseason & played late into games. As a result, there is always concern that he could suffer an overuse injury. Hydration along with proper warm up will can reduce the chances the hamstring flares up.

S Micah Hyde- Neck

Hyde battled a neck injury early in camp, causing him to miss the Colts game. Looking back now, it appears that he suffered a mild strain. This isn’t likely to be a chronic or recurring issue, but still worth taking note. As he’s such a vital part of the secondary, any injury to Hyde is worth watching.

OG Quinton Spain- Thumb surgery/ankle contusion/foot soreness

Spain has battled several injuries since signing with the team in free agency. He first suffered a thumb injury which required surgery. Once training camp began, he dealt with foot soreness early in camp which forced him to miss some time. He appeared to be on the mend & play well until he got stepped on by RB Frank Gore during the Lions game.

This appears to be a bruise to the area that control the foot arch and help to push off during running. These muscles will also be effective in pushing forward to hold during blocking. For Spain, this shouldn’t be a long term issue. The only limitation will be if pain is still affecting him at that time. This shouldn’t be a problem for Week 1, but we don’t know every single bit of info that goes into the decision.

WR Andre Roberts- Quadriceps

Roberts suffered a quadriceps injury sometime during Monday’s practice. McDermott reports that he day-to-day which bodes well for his availability for Sunday. Considering that practice was stretching and individual drills, I suspect that he suffered more of a quadriceps strain. This could have been during a routine drill, stopping suddenly, or jumping for a ball. Without video or specific injury information, my assumption is that he will play Sunday and is out of precaution to ensure that he is healthy.

Worried but should be alright:

CB Tre’Davious White- Quadriceps contusion

White suffered a quadriceps contusion in the Lions game that initially appeared to be worse at first glance. After the injury, he was observed moving around on the sidelines without much difficulty and has since been able to practice without restriction. The quad contusion actually protects him from further injury at the moment as he may not have 100% function, but he won’t be able to push past it and overwork it. This isn’t something that typically lingers either, needs rest and proper healing.

TE Dawson Knox- Hamstring

Knox missed most of the preseason with a hamstring strain suffered early in camp. Hamstrings are tricky as even though they heal, they can be re-injured if the muscle group maxes out & fails. This is the problem as the player may feel good and then suffer a setback. I hope that Knox doesn’t have any further issues, but it’s far from a guarantee.

CB Taron Johnson- Groin

Johnson’s groin in itself isn’t the biggest concern, but rather his past injury history & his style of play. He missed the 2nd preseason game with the groin injury, but was able to play without apparent issues in the 3rd game. Groin issues can reoccur, especially with the positional demands of the cornerback position. However, with his torpedo type tackles and smaller frame, he may suffer further injuries this season unless he puts some finesse on his game to allow him to stay healthy.

G Spencer Long- MCL sprain

Long missed early parts of the preseason with what was described as “knee soreness”. However, he was seen with a compression sleeve followed by a hinge knee brace that provides lateral support to the knee which indicates he may have suffered a mild MCL sprain. These heal up quite well and as Long is a lineman who works in small spaces, he doesn’t rely on the MCL for cutting as much as a RB or CB would need. He shouldn’t have issues from this injury.

OT Ty Nsekhe- Knee sprain

Nsekhe is another player who suffered a “tweak” in his knee that caused him to miss parts of the preseason. On what the tweak is, hard to say without a mechanism of injury or further details. Considering his age and experience in the league, this may have been more precautionary. He, like Long, works in small spaces and should be able to perform his job without difficulty.

Can play, concerned for further issues:

WR Robert Foster- Turf toe/shoulder

Foster had an emergence last season after getting cut early on before changing his attitude and becoming a favorite target of QB Josh Allen’s. Foster was dealing with a shoulder injury early in camp that didn’t limit him but the turf toe that he has battled in the spring returned. Turf toe is a sprain of the great toe joint which is essential for push off during walking & balance. This is essential for sprinting as most of Foster’s activity is short bursts and pivots. He will most likely need a stiff sole or orthosis to restrict movement in the toe and frequent rehab to heal the injury & to prevent it from getting worse. He should be able to play Week 1, but he is coming in not quite 100%.

DE Jerry Hughes- Ankle/R hand/wrist

Hughes dealt with an ankle injury that limited him early in training camp but didn’t appear to be a factor during preseason games. It may have been general ankle soreness but more of a veteran rest injury. As for his wrist, he has worn a brace on the right side but hasn’t missed practice. It appears he injured it sometime during the win over the Panthers. Reviewing game film didn’t reveal any specific instance of injury. Having the wrist in a brace will limit his ability to hand-fight to get inside but shouldn’t affect the ability provide pressure. Wrist sprains in itself aren’t too concerning & should remedy within the next week barring any new information.

OT Conor McDermott- Concussion

While McDermott has been cleared from the concussion protocol, there is always a greater chance that he could suffer a future one later this season. From what I have found, this is his only documented NFL concussion, but his college career regarding injury is unknown. As he is a reserve player, the chances for concussion are less but still present.

C Mitch Morse- Concussion

Much has been said about Morse’s concussion including the moment when he sustained the injury back in late July. He has since cleared the protocol and returned to practice, but this is now his 4th documented concussion. It’s unknown if he will have further issues this season or if he has another concussion, only time will tell.

TE Tyler Kroft- R foot fx

Kroft has been working back from a fracture in his foot suffered during the first day of OTA’s back in the spring. Despite staying on the PUP all preseason, he made the 53 man roster and has been limited in practice though appearing to take part in individual drills. Video has shown the ability to push off the foot with conviction and pivot to turn up the field in the videos shown below. It appears that he will be ready soon, it may be a conditioning limitation at this point until he is fully ready to go. We may see him as soon as Week 3 for the home opener.

Despite the above mentioned players, outside of Roberts & Kroft, the team is actually very healthy. Understand that it will not stay this way, but there are several teams such as the Bengals who have been decimated by injury before Week 1. This can be a special year, the health of key players mentioned above will determine the course of the season.

Buffalo Bills Bounty of Free Agents!

Analyzing the most recent Bills acquisitions & injury concerns moving forward into next season.

Whooo wee! What a week for the Buffalo Bills! 8 free agents total after the national media stated that Buffalo was not a place that free agents wanted to go? Where else would you rather be than Buffalo, NY?! The front office is building something special here, or they’re at least trying to. This has a totally different feel from past years where a free agent or two would show up and they were a piece that maybe fit part of the puzzle, but didn’t complete it. These most recent acquisitions are far from completing the puzzle, but the total picture is certainly coming together better than in past seasons. Today’s article will review the acquisitions and my thoughts on their injuries going into 2019.

First up is CB Kevin Johnson. The former 1st round pick recently released by Houston has had a litany of injuries during his short career in the NFL. To review, he has had Lisfranc and Jones fractures, wrist fracture, sprained MCL, and multiple concussions. In my article I wrote for Buffalo Rumblings, I dove into his injury history and my thoughts on the signing.  Make sure to check out the above linked article. He is overall a low risk, high reward signing due to his contract and has clearly demonstrated the ability to play when healthy. If he is able to avoid some of the seriousness of the injuries in the past, he could help resurrect his career and have a new start in Buffalo.

Next up is C Mitch Morse. The former starting center from Kansas City quickly found his way to Buffalo to become the NFL’s highest paid center. However, his arrival does not come without concern. During his also short career in the league, Morse has suffered 2 concussions which caused him to miss 3 games his rookie year, a foot injury costing him 10 total games with a trip to IR in 2017, and a concussion that caused him to miss 5 games in 2018. As with Kevin Johnson, I detailed my thoughts on Morse with Buffalo Rumblings.  While he is still young and highly talented, there is concern if he were to suffer another concussion at such a collision heavy position in the trenches with sub concussive hits nearly every play. The talent is there which makes the money worth it, but the Bills must have a contingency plan in place if injury occurs in order to ensure that the signing of Morse works in their favor.

Continuing to go down the list is WR’s Cole Beasley & WR John Brown. Both veteran receivers come via Dallas & Baltimore, respectively. Both have demonstrated effective play making abilities which appealed to both the front office and QB Josh Allen. After last year’s pitiful wide receiver production, significant upgrades at the position were a must. Injury wise, both look overall good. Beasley has only missed 1 game in his career due to illness and for the most part, manages to stay off the injury report only dealing with a knee & ankle injuries along with a concussion. As for Brown, most of his injury concerns involve hamstring strains along with a quad and toe injury that cost him 4 games in 2017. These are excellent signings by the Bills and really demonstrate the urgency to get the offense moving.

WR Andre Roberts comes to Buffalo after a season with the Jets in which he earned an All-Pro nod on special teams. Like Beasley & Brown, Roberts comes with several injuries, but minimal concerns. Roberts has saw time with Arizona, Washington, and the New York Jets suffering shoulder, ankle, and quad injuries missing only 3 games total as a result. He did suffer a knee injury that sent him to IR and prematurely ended his 2015 season with Washington. Other than a back injury in 2018 that he did not miss time with, Roberts will significantly upgrade the special teams group and provide a dynamic returner not seen since CB Terrance McGee.

Moving onto the offensive line depth, the Bills signed both OT Ty Nsekhe & OG Jon Feliciano from Washington & Oakland respectively. Nsekhe has had quite the journey to the NFL, starting his career in 2009 playing in Arena Football for several years before getting a crack at the NFL with the Colts. He then proceeded to bounce around in the CFL, more Arena Football, and cups of coffee with St. Louis and New Orleans before solidifying a job with Washington. I am unaware of his injury history during his time in other organized leagues, but his NFL injury list is short with foot/ankle injuries in 2016 along with a core muscle injury in 2017 that caused him to miss 5 games. Last season, he suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss 2 games but considering his age of 33, most guys are exiting the league, Nsekhe appears to continue improving. He has demonstrated the ability to play well when called up to start along with demonstrating the ability to play multiple positions, but understands how to be an effective backup.

Feliciano is cut from the same cloth as Nsekhe, however, not bouncing around from various professional leagues. The veteran guard has spent his entire career with Oakland before signing with Buffalo a few days ago. Along with moving across the country, Feliciano comes with several calf injuries and a concussion over his career. However, while he can start in spot situations, his ability to understand O-Line coach Bobby Johnson’s game plan allows him to fit in nicely and allow to be an effective piece moving forward in 2019.

TE Tyler Kroft comes from Cincinnatti after playing 4 years for the Bengals. Kroft began coming on as a tight end as TE Tyler Eifert began suffering injuries which limited his ability on the field. Unfortunately, Kroft had difficulty staying healthy at times, suffering a knee/ankle injury at the end of 2016 followed by a foot injury that caused him to miss 11 games with a trip to IR, ending his season prematurely. While he is a young player to help open up the offense, he is far from the answer moving forward and will complement any draft pick or future tight ends signed to the roster.

Finally, old man RB Frank Gore. This man has been playing so long, he predates the injury reporting on pro-football-reference.com. While his injury history may have a few blank spots, his career has been defined by his durability. After suffering two ACL tears in college, Gore was able to find a home in San Francisco for many productive years until 2014. He has had a smattering of injuries over the course of his productive career with most notably shoulder injuries during his rookie year, a broken bone in his hand a few ears after that, and a hip injury that sent him to IR and ended his 2010 season early. Other than the hip, he suffered a foot injury which ended his season in Miami 2 games early. Many consider Gore to be a future Hall of Famer with his dominance at the position and his overall stats. Despite going into his age-36 season, Gore has managed to keep injuries to a minimum and avoid some of the larger injuries that spell out shorter careers in an already high turnover position that is running back. While he will not be as productive in past seasons, he should be able to be an effective back up behind RB LeSean McCoy and provide leadership to a young team. I believe that he will show some of the younger players how to prepare mentally to maximize their skills on the field while also minimizing injuries in order to stay healthy.

Overall, I like most of these signings. I do not expect every once of these to be a slam dunk upgrade, some will simply not work out. Gore was an odd one considering the age, but if there is still something left in the tank, the Bills want to ride him until there’s fumes. I have concerns about the Johnson & Morse signings, but if both stay healthy, they could turn out to be lucrative in the long run. I like the offensive line depth that the front office focused on because no NFL team is immune from injury, it is imperative that the backups are able to play effectively until the starter returns. Nothing will torpedo the Bills 2019 season more than poor depth. Finally, the WR & TE signings signal that they are serious about taking QB Josh Allen to the next level and show everyone how he can throw it over them there mountains. I don’t believe the Bills are done in the free agency market; they are showing that they are willing to bring in anyone they feel that can upgrade the quality of play on the field. Just think, we still have 6 weeks before the NFL draft and me personally, I’m pumped!

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