Week 1 Bills Injury Review- Ravens

Breaking down the latest injuries following the loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Well, that didn’t go very well. The Bills laid an egg with a very lopsided 47-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Nothing seemed to click Sunday with mistake after mistake piled on until changes had to be made which stopped the bleeding but the damage was already done. This was one of the more painful losses the Bills have sustained during my time as a fan mostly because while I expect that the team may regress, it should not to be that effect. However, since this is a sports injury website, I will leave the game analysis to my good friends at Cover 1 and The Rockpile Report. Check them out if you haven’t already; absolutely fantastic content for the Buffalo Bills!

Today’s post will review the injuries sustained in Sunday’s blowout loss and what this means going forward. First up is CB Taron Johnson who suffered a right shoulder injury during a textbook tackle midway through the 2nd quarter. He was able to walk off and not require any additional assistance in supporting his arm but he was eventually ruled out. Looking at video, it appeared as though he suffered a stinger, basically a hard hit. This is supported by the fact that he did not have extra support walking off the field and he was rolling his shoulder out freely exiting the field. Considering the game was out of hand, he is a rookie, and there was no benefit to him playing, he was most likely ruled out. Had he suffered any real damage, it would have been revealed by now. I expect him to practice in full and play next week.

DE Shaq Lawson suffered a right hamstring injury attempting to chase down QB Joe Flacco on the first play of the 4th quarter. Reviewing video, it appeared as though when he attempted to tackle Flacco, he slipped and fell to the ground. Once he got up, it appeared as though he tried to resume running and possibly suffered his injury. As I reviewed in my hamstring article, there are varying grades of severity. I believe that Lawson suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain which could cause him to miss 1-2 weeks. It is possible that he could play next week but his availability during practice will dictate the severity and availability.

Other injuries that the Bills are still dealing with include LB Julian Stanford and WR Ray-Ray McCloud. Stanford appears to be still doing with a broken nose and may be available next week now that he has more time to heal. As for McCloud, he is still dealing with what appeared to be a left knee injury suffered in the 4th preseason game. I really don’t have any idea what he is still out with. I suspect a sprain based on the possible hit he suffered during the punt return. Until more information is released, I can only speculate.

Those that were able to play after coming off injury include DE Trent Murphy, who was on a snap count and DT Kyle Williams. Murphy appeared in 35% of defensive snaps and 21% of special teams with no apparent re-aggravation of his groin injury. While his stats were not eye-popping which included 0.5 sack and 1 assisted tackle, it demonstrated that he was finally healthy and McDermott noted that he would increase his workload for next week.

Williams looked very efficient and did not appear to be favoring his right leg. He was able to play in 56% of defensive snaps and 21% of special teams which was in line with the other DT’s on the line. He will continue to require rest days but should return to full healthy and continue his effective play through his final year.

There may be other names that pop up on the injury report but overall the Bills continue to stay healthy. I believe this was the difference between making the playoffs and missing last season. While playoffs may not be expected this season especially after Sunday’s performance, I still believe that they will stay competitive in future games.

Continue to check back for the latest updates and Bills injury news. Follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 1 Bills Injury Preview- Ravens

Assessing the injuries prior to the Bills season opener against the Baltimore Ravens.

The 2018 NFL season is finally upon us!! After months of waiting, we finally have real, meaningful football in Buffalo. The Bills are coming off their most successful season in nearly two decades and despite the “experts” that say the Bills will be terrible this year, I still expect them to post a competitive record and be in every game. This is a McDermott led team, they will not roll over and die. This is simply not in their DNA. After watching the Bills: Embedded, the culture that McDermott has fostered is palpable and can be understood why the team gelled so well last year. On a personal note, I wrestled in high school and my coach had a similar approach towards team building and creating a culture. We went from one of the worst teams in the district my freshman year to one of the top 6 by the time I graduated. They only continued to get better after my graduation and reached heights never thought of before. When I watch McDermott rally his team and how he does it, it’s like watching the same movie again. The ending may be different from my story, but I know what I see and I love it. Trust the Process is a real thing and while the ultimate goal is the Super Bowl, only time will tell if it’s achieved. If the ultimate goal is not met; continued, sustained success will be realized and a more successful product will be on the field week in and week out.

Along with having a competitive mindset as mentioned above, the Bills enter the 2018 season relatively healthy. While they did suffer injuries in camp, the most serious being P Cory Carter’s ACL tear, the team was able to avoid some of the other pitfalls that hold back other teams from maximizing their chances to make their mark on the season. Today’s post will review injuries going into the game and how it will affect the overall play.

Ruled out include WR Ray-Ray McCloud (knee). I had said in previous tweets he appeared to injure his left knee during a punt return late in the 4th preseason game. On video, it appeared to be pretty innocuous and nothing concerning. He was hit on the outside of his knee as he was going down which leads me to believe it is a minor knee sprain. He did require assistance to get up but no further video is available on how he was able to get off the field and training staff did not come out to assess. However, McCloud has been ruled out leading me to believe this is more serious than originally thought. It may be a minor sprain he just doesn’t feel up to pushing or something more that the team just has not revealed yet. I will continue to look for information to make a stronger assessment.

Next up is LB Julian Stanford (nose). As there’s few things that you can do to your nose, I’m pretty certain he broke his nose in the preseason loss to the Bengals. While the nasal bones do need to heal, with proper protection he can play. He has been limited the past few days according to the injury report. According to @profootballdoc, last season 67% of players listed as questionable for the Bills ended up playing. I like those odds to play but ultimately, it is up to whether Stanford feels he can perform Sunday.

Those not listed on the injury report but still dealing with injuries are DE Trent Murphy (groin) and DT Kyle Williams (knee). Murphy has not seen the field all preseason but recent video appears to show that he is ready to play at full speed. I see no hitches in his movement and it appears he is going at full speed. In addition, he has had over a month to fully heal from his groin injury which is more than enough time for a minor strain. I believe he will be able to play Sunday with no restrictions though may be limited on snap count to avoid further injury and keeping fresh players out there. Once he has demonstrated he can play on Sunday, he should be a very strong addition to the defense.

Williams was dealing with the more serious injury in which he sprained his right knee MCL during the Browns game. He was initially week-to-week and the prognosis did not appear favorable for a quick return. Surprisingly, Williams appears to be ready to suit up Sunday, just 3 weeks after his injury. I do not believe he is quite 100% based on the timeline for his type of injury. In the video above, he is wearing a knee brace on the right leg. It is hard to notice as it is white but towards the end of the video, you can see the brace and he has the slightest favoritism on that right leg. He may be still feeling the effects of the injury but it appears healed enough to play Sunday. Williams is a long time veteran who knows and understands what it takes to get through injuries such as this. This is also his last season and I don’t expect a man of his caliber to not play if he thinks he can suit up. If he does play, it will be similar to Murphy in that he may have a snap count or be a rotational player to keep guys healthy and rested.

Expect to see Murphy play with no restrictions, optimistic to see Williams play in a rotational role as last year and perform despite his recent injury. I also expect Stanford to play as the odds are in his favor and that his injury is relatively minor. Thankfully this was a short article, but expect greater in depth articles as more injuries occur this season.

Continue to check back for the latest news and updates to stay informed about the Buffalo Bills! Follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, on the web at http://www.bangedupbills, and on Facebook at Banged Up Bills. As always, thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!

The Drought Is Over

Discussing the moment the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs and my love for the Bills!

It’s been a week since the Buffalo Bills were eliminated from the 2017 NFL playoffs by the Jacksonville Jaguars. While that loss did sting as it was a very winnable game had the Bills offense not been so anemic, the pain of it has lessened as the Jaguars have advanced to the AFC title game against the New England Patriots. This is not stating that the Bills should be in the AFC Championship, but rather how unpredictable the NFL playoffs can be each and every year.

However, today’s post sets out to help me describe my thoughts following that improbable New Year’s Eve so many Bills fans will recall for years. My wonderful wife had bought me tickets to the IIHF World Junior Championships for Christmas with USA playing Finland in a thrilling 5-4 victory. However, due to the NFL having the ability to flex games, the Bills game was flexed to 4:25 pm in order to prevent teams from altering their game plans based on outcomes. Initially, this was not ideal as I wanted to watch the football game in its entirety.

As thankful as I was, I still attended the game with a friend and we decided to stop down at a restaurant near the arena, 716, to watch the remaining of the Bills game. Entering the bar area, every TV was on the Bills game and several TV’s played the Cincinnati-Baltimore game. Every seat was packed and looking around, it energized me as a Bills fan due to the sheer fact that these kinds of moments do not happen often. When I became a Bills fan in 2007, I had some idea of what I was getting into, envisioning the moments that were before me at 716.

Once the Bills did their job and won their game 22-16, all attention turned towards the Cincinnati-Baltimore game. The moment was simple, yet hopeful; if the Bengals win, we’re in. As the clocked ticked down with the Bengals down, dread crept in. That moment as a Bills fan everyone knows all too well. This moment that this is all going to fall apart and we will be left wondering what if again as a January without Bills football.

Thankfully, as Andy Dalton marched down the field, mine and those around me all thought, all we need is a field goal and we still got this. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that Andy Dalton throwing a strike to Tyler Boyd to score the go ahead touchdown would be that culminating point in the Bills season. The emotion pouring out of me was effusive and unbridled! I began high-fiving, hugging, screaming, running, everything I could do to express my sheer love for the Bills! And in that moment, those emotions felt exactly as I could have ever thought possible, it was a split second in time that felt exactly right and did not disappoint!

The bar going crazy, that raw happiness exuding from every single person, that’s what I signed up for when I became a Bills fan. That moment that those last second losses, those disappointing seasons, the disrespect from other fan bases, all finally validated in one singular moment. Even though this was merely a playoff berth, it was OUR playoff berth; a well deserved one at that! The week following that miracle was incredible as nothing could get me down, nothing could lessen my enthusiasm, and never have I been more excited for a Bills game!

As I write this, if you are still reading, you may be wondering why I wrote this article. I wrote this with the idea that I have a platform, as small as it may be, a platform nevertheless which I can convey my thoughts. I am proud to be a Bills fan, I am proud of my team, and proud of what they have accomplished this season. I had always been a football fan but until I became a Bills fan, I did not know what fandom was. Buffalo has shown me fandom in spades and allowed me to truly enjoy what being a Buffalo sports fan really is all about!

Yet, I, as many others as well, realize that the team is still very flawed and needs constant refinement. I am okay with this realization, as winning is a constant improvement within one’s self and if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards. I cannot wait to see what this front office does with this team and what success awaits this team in the coming seasons!

As I finish up my thoughts on that incredible moment, I begin to further identify other topics to write about, I plan to write about Kelvin Benjamin’s meniscectomy, Zay Jones labrum repair, and any other procedures that are expected or reported. I will continue to do my best to identify topics of interest that are not not fully explained in the media that may shed light on the side of football many are not familiar with. Continue to check back regularly and GO BILLS!!

Bills Injury Breakdown- Dolphins II

Assessing the latest Bills injury report and impact on the Dolphins game and hopefully beyond.

Week 17 is here! The first meaningful Week 17 game in 13 years is upon the Bills with a chance to end the long suffering drought. As everyone knows by now, the Bills must win their game and benefit from a Ravens loss or Chargers and Titans losses. As in any sport, all you have to do is qualify for the post season and anything can happen. Win or lose, the fact that the Bills are in the conversation and contention until the end demonstrates that talent does exist on the roster, it just needs to be harnessed to its maximum potential.

However, maximizing potential also relies on maintaining player health. Browsing Twitter recently, I found this gem of a tweet from @Jason_OTC which really encapsulates how the Bills have been able to stay in contention. The link for the tweet is here, but what it states is the top 10 NFL teams that have had the most salary cap money affected by injury. Out of the top 10, only the Patriots and Seahawks are playoff eligible teams. These are teams that have established coaches and players in their system that can absorb injuries and continue to move forward.

The one team that isn’t on there that I’m sure has been on in past seasons? The one and only Buffalo Bills! Keeping a healthy roster has been key to the team’s success this year and is clearly evident by the previous list; you can’t win in the NFL if you don’t have a healthy roster or exceptional depth. Making this point does allow an easy transition towards today’s article breaking down the injury report and impact for the Week 17 match up against the Miami Dolphins.

First up is players ruled out for Sunday which only consists of CB Shareece Wright out with a concussion. It is unknown when Wright sustained his concussion and when symptoms began to develop. Thankfully, he is a depth player and while depth is important, this is not a significant blow to the roster.

Those questionable for Sunday include C Ryan Groy (illness) and WR Deonte Thompson (shoulder/back). Flu season is in full effect and that’s most likely what Groy is dealing with, no secret there. As for Thompson, he sustained a back injury during Sunday’s game early in the 2nd quarter. It appeared he took a hard shot to the back but was able to return. To add to it, he suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Thursday, unfortunately, not much is known about how he injured it. Depending on severity of the shoulder injury, which appears to be worse than the back injury will dictate whether he suits up Sunday.

Those dealing with injury but expected to play include WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Kyle Williams (groin), and CB E.J. Gaines (knee). Benjamin and Clay continue to deal with their respective knee injuries which hasn’t greatly reduced their ability to produce, but does limit them somewhat. It would take a broken bone or significant ligament damage to prevent Kyle Williams from suiting up for this game. Even with a major diagnosis such as that, he would still possibly try to play; that man has and will continue to give 100%.

Finally, Gaines missed last week with what I believed to be a Grade 1 MCL sprain to his left knee during the previous Dolphins game. As mentioned on The Rockpile Report this week, it was theorized that Gaines was held out from the Patriots game as their was little chance to win the game and he would benefit from an additional week of rehab to be ready for this game. I support this theory as fact as medically, it makes sense. I would not expect Gaines to be limited in any fashion during his play Sunday, the only limiting factor is his hard hitting style of play. As Shareece Wright is out, it is vitally important that Gaines remains healthy. There is a rather large difference in the defensive performance when Gaines is healthy and when he is not; the Bills need every starter available.

For the past 10 years as a Bills fan, I have waited for this moment, this moment to be able to watch the Bills in the post season. This is far from guaranteed as I type this while drinking my coffee, but the possibility is exciting. I remain cautiously optimistic, but still hopeful that this year the drought may end, it has to end at some point, why not now? After tomorrows game, the narrative of this Bills season will be fully shaped and be remembered for finally entering the playoffs in the 21st century or another missed opportunity. Only time will tell.

Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates following the games. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for the latest game time updates and injury assessments. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!!

Bills Concussion Woes

Reviewing the NFL concussion protocol including return to play criteria and how this affects the Bills QB situation.

It’s been well known that being a Bills fan is hard. Losing Super Bowls, long extended playoff droughts, ill-timed injuries, the list goes on and on. Right now, that trend appears to be continuing with the 2017 preseason. After the loss to the Ravens by a score of 13-9, the Bills are now 0-3, heading into a show down at New Era Field tonight against the Lions. As mentioned last post, the Bills continue to demonstrate some luck by missing all the ACL tears, sprains, and injuries that can derail a season even before it starts. Unfortunately, the Bills don’t escape totally free. Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates both went down with concussions, leading Nathan Peterman to play most of the game. After Taylor and Yates entered the concussion protocol, the Bills signed Keith Wenning to fill in until both QB’s are medically cleared.

After a player sustains a concussion, the player enters the NFL concussion protocol. Most of the time, that’s all we hear until the player is cleared to return to play and contribute. But what does the NFL concussion protocol consist of? What is classified as a concussion? I will break down what classifies a concussion, what the protocol looks like, and the general timeline to return. Hopefully, this will give a clearer indication of what to expect.

A concussion is defined as a violent blow to the head which can disrupt brain function temporarily. Some concussions cause loss of consciousness, but not always necessary for a official concussion diagnosis. The brain is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid which helps bring nutrients to the brain along with providing some protection during light trauma. However, the brain does not have air bags to protect from larger impacts. In the case of a more significant blow, the brain will strike against the inside of the skull, and then possibly strike the other side of the skull. This is known as a coup-contrecoup injury. This does not always happen in every concussion, but may intensify the symptoms if more areas of the brain are affected.

Upon striking the brain, immediate changes occur with physical symptoms including headaches, confusion, amnesia, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and delayed response time. Further symptoms include sleep disturbances, light and noise sensitivities, irritability, and difficulty with concentration, among other symptoms.

The NFL Head, Neck, and Spine Committee came up with a comprehensive protocol to identify and effectively treat a concussion. To keep it brief, the criteria are: a direct blow to the head or a force that translates towards impact to the head; rapid onset of transient impairment of neurological function, changes in neuropathological changes, and clinical symptoms that may or may not involve a loss of consciousness.

Down on the field, the NFL uses the SCAT2 which is the Standardized Concussion Assessment Tool to assess the player. This protocol has been modified for the NFL and is consistent with the SCAT3 released in 2013. The advantage is that this test can be administered multiple times with valid results to determine a concussion immediately or if symptoms are delayed. This is a test to assess for a concussion but a more formal screening process is done during the preseason and after suspected concussion to fully diagnose.

Each NFL team has a plan in place consisting of an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and ATC spotter to indicate whether the player may have a concussion. The player must have been removed from the field, video replay must have occurred of the injury, and an assessment must be performed. If there is any doubt of whether a concussion has been sustained, then the full evaluation must be performed. No more will there be a player being waved back into games or being rushed back in. Numerous players have stated they went back into games and they don’t remember being a part of those games when asked later.

Players will continue to be checked periodically to ensure they do not develop symptoms later and incur further damage. These results will be checked against their baseline assessment to determine the severity. Players could exceed the baseline score but still have a diagnosis of a concussion. This prevents a physician from looking at the diagnosis of a yes/no and look at the entire situation rather than a score.

If the player has sustained a concussion, there are 5 levels of recovery that must be performed in order to return to the game. These must be achieved in order to be medically cleared to return to playing. They are as follows:

  1. Rest and recovery: Players should avoid or limit meetings, social media, electronics to allow the brain to rest and minimize symptoms until player returns to baseline function. The player may engage in stretching and balance activities that allow them to lightly stress the body and being the process to improve. During this time, neurocognitive testing will be performed to assess for clearance towards normal activities.
  2. Light Aerobic Activity: A graduated exercise program consisting of cardiovascular exercise which may include a stationary bicycle or treadmill along with stretching and balance activities. This will be gradually increased as the player remains symptom free and begin to return to team meetings, film study, etc.
  3. Continued Aerobic Exercise and Introducing Strength Training: Cardiovascular exercise will continued to increase intensity and simulate the sport specific activities, progressing to supervised strength training. Once again, if the player is symptom free, they can proceed.
  4. Football specific activity: All activities continue to increase in intensity and duration and resume football activities. These activities must remain non-contact to ensure no recurrence of symptoms.
  5. Full football activity/clearance: Once the player has achieved the first 4 steps, contact may be re-initiated and determine that they have no recurrence of symptoms. The player will be reevaluated by a team physician and if cleared, resume normal activity. If at anytime the player experiences symptoms, they are placed back in the concussion protocol and restart the process until they are symptom free.

If you would like to review the actual documents in greater detail, please click here & here.

While this is a fairly comprehensive protocol, this should continue to improve as we learn more about concussions. Unfortunately, this protocol does not give a specific timeline for return as each concussion is different. Observing the hit on Taylor showed him getting his bell rung may keep him out for an extended period of time. Yates concussion was not as clear as when it occurred which may indicate a better prognosis. While it is not guaranteed that Taylor will be ready to start, CBS Sports reports that Taylor should be ready by Week 1 and has not had any setbacks. Recent reports on Twitter that he is out signing autographs before tonight’s game, tolerating lights and music which could signify he is already on Level 2-3. I believe Taylor will be cleared to start Week 1 and lead the offense to several touchdowns. Continue to follow for updates following cut down day, full recap of preseason injuries, and analysis of the Bills going into Week 1.