Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- LB

Assessing the LB positional injury review from the 2017 season.

Continuing this off-season is the positional injury review’s of this past season for the Buffalo Bills. Today’s review focuses on the LB position. This was a position of weakness during the 2017 season which was horrendous against the run. Whether this is good or bad, most of the unit returns along with some new faces which allow for greater depth. There was a total of 6 players to suit up at the position with a wide variance of statistical success.

First man up is LB Lorenzo Alexander. The elder statesman of the corps managed to stay incredibly healthy during this past season. He was a frequent participant on the injury report requiring weekly rest days but never for a specific injury. The 34 year old, undrafted free agent out of California has spent 11 years in the league playing a variety of positions which may explain why he has such staying power. His ability to adapt to a variety of positions including offensive tackle, tight end, defensive tackle, linebacker, defensive end, and fullback along with special teams. This has forced him to pay close attention to his body and how it operates to adjust to the demands of the positions which I believe has allowed him to stay in the league as long as he has. Despite being one of the older players on the field, he is still able to produce with 3 sacks, 53 tackles with 12 assisted, and 3 forced fumbles. Unless there are a number of linebackers that impress the coaching staff, expect Alexander to remain on the roster in 2018 and continue to be productive.

Next up is LB Preston Brown. The 4th year LB had an incredibly productive season, leading the NFL in tackles with 144 total tackles, 84 solo and 60 assisted and adding in 3 forced fumbles. Brown also thankfully avoided the injury report which is why he was able to be so productive. Despite his availability and production, the Bills did not resign him in free agency, allowing him to sign with his hometown Cincinnati Bengals. While his production is lost, the Bills at least addressed the positional need through the draft with LB Tremaine Edmunds.

Adding the veteran presence of LB Ramon Humber brought mixed opinions from pundits as the veteran has been around the league for 10 years now playing for Indianapolis, New Orleans, and most recently Buffalo. As a 30 year old linebacker, he was able to produce 56 solo tackles, 27 assisted with 1 forced fumble while playing in 13 games and starting 9. Humber only suffered a broken thumb in the win over the Falcons in November, had surgery to stabilize the area, and then proceeded to miss 3 games. During that time, rookie LB Matt Milano stepped in and overtook his starting position, leading Humber to be a depth player, typically what he has been his entire career. The thumb won’t cause any issues coming into the 2018 season but due to his age and ability, he may find himself a camp cut unless he impresses the coaching staff.

Speaking of LB Matt Milano, the rookie 5th round pick out of Boston College impressed many this season with his ability to step up in place of the injured Humber. The rookie saw time in all 16 games and started 5. Milano was able to collect 29 tackles with 14 assists along with a forced fumble with return for a TD and added in 1 interception. While he is not the linebacker that McDermott envisions to run his defense, he has shown the ability to be aware on the field as evident by the statistics he collected this season. Injury wise, Milano stayed relatively healthy, only suffering hamstring injuries early in the season in September and then a more severe injury to the hamstring which kept him out of the playoff loss in Jacksonville. It is unknown whether this was the same side or two separate injuries. As hamstrings are soft tissue and can heal fully, he should not have any setbacks going into this season. He is still a young player and adjusting to the NFL which could put him at risk to develop further hamstring or chronic injuries, but as he sat out the last game and was able to rest, I do not believe this to be the case. Expect Milano to pick up where he left off and continue to produce in 2018.

Rounding out the linebacking corps is LB Deon Lacey and LB Tanner Vallejo. Lacy was largely ineffective, totaling only 1 tackle and spending most of his time on special teams. During his rookie season, he suffered hamstring early in the season and did not appear to re-injure it later. The coaching staff will most likely decide his fate as he was primarily special teams player. As for Vallejo, his rookie season got off to a slow start with a knee injury late in the preseason. After that, most of his playing time was in special teams with no stats recorded on defense. As he was a draft pick of this regime, I expect him to find a place on this roster for next season.

This finishes out the players who suited up at linebacker for the Bills in 2017. The LB position demonstrate significant turnover with my picks of Alexander and Milano locks to return to the roster and Humber and Vallejo competing for backup jobs. Lacey will find himself out of a job unless he impresses in camp. Add in 1st round draft pick LB Tremaine Edmunds out of VA Tech along with UDFA LB Corey Thompson out of LSU and practice squad member LB Xavier Woodson-Luster will help reshape this position drastically.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest news updates and articles on the Buffalo Bills. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Kerley & Palepoi FA Signing’s

Read up on the injury histories of the latest Buffalo Bills free agents.

The Bills just do not stop! They continue to attempt to find players to add depth to their roster by signing WR Jeremy Kerley and DT Tenny Palepoi. Both will add desperately needed personnel to positions that are generating significant turnover in the off season. As always on Banged Up Bills, I will review their injury histories and make observations whether they are a good fit for the 2018 Buffalo Bills.

First up is WR Jeremy Kerley. The former Jets and 49ers wide receiver has seen considerable playing time in the league since entering in 2011 as a 5th round draft pick of the Jets. While he has never eclipsed more than 850 yards and 3 TD’s in a season, he has shown he is able to produce in an offense despite subpar QB play as evident with the teams he has played with. The 7th year pro has sustained his share of injuries beginning in 2011 with a knee injury which appeared to be a sprain that cost him 2 games late in the season. 2012 allowed him to be active for every game but deal with back, finger, hand, and hamstring injuries.

2013 saw Kerley deal with a head injury along with a dislocated elbow which cost him 4 games total and also dealt with finger, back, and hamstring injuries once again. 2014 was his first healthy year where he did not suffer any injuries and only dealt with illness which did not appear to affect his play. 2015 saw him continue to stay healthy despite a concussion in the preseason and a minor calf injury late into the year which he was ruled probable at that time. The veteran wideout left New York to play on the west coast for a year with San Francisco in which he continued to stay healthy, only suffering what appeared to be a mild ankle injury for which he avoided any missed games. Finally, 2017 was favorable to Kerley despite the Jets sustaining a myriad of injuries which forced many to injured reserve. Despite his healthy season, Kerley was suspended for 4 games for violating the PED policy which led to his release.

The 7th year pro has managed to avoid serious injury and shaken off some of the early career threatening injuries that derail most young players. He appears to understand how to take care of his body and avoid injuries that may cause long term issues. While not guaranteed to make the roster, he has developed the ability to make the most of his targets when given the chance.

Next up is DT Tenny Palepoi formerly of the Los Angeles Chargers. Palepoi entered the league in 2014 after going undrafted. During his time in the league, the big DT has been primarily in a backup role, never starting a game during his 4 years with the team. His career stat line is 1 sack and 35 tackles along with 18 assists. While he is only 27, he does have the ability to continue to grow as a player. Injury wise, Palepoi did not miss time in 2014 but suffered a fractured foot in 2015 that cost him his entire season. While there is not specifics as to what he suffered, a man of his size suffering a fractured foot that cost him the season leads me to believe that he suffered a Lisfranc fracture.

The 4th year pro was able to come back in 2016 fully healthy but suffered a shoulder injury which cost him one game and a hamstring injury which forced him out of 2 games later in the season. To add insult to injury, he was suspended 4 games for violating the PED policy causing him to miss 6 games in total during 2016. During the 2017 season, Palepoi saw his best season statistically with 1 sack and 20 solo tackles while avoiding further maladies.

Overall, these signings continue to demonstrate the Bills ability to find talent at a cheap price and build depth at key positions. One interesting note, both of these players have been suspended for PED violations which appear to deviate away from “The Process”. However, both players have demonstrated their ability to stay healthy, produce when asked, and it appears that these minor transgressions are able to be looked past in order to still bring them into Buffalo. These aren’t sexy signings, but they do allow the Bills to see what veteran presence they have at these positions rather than draft rookies and sign undrafted free agents which have proved nothing in the NFL.

I believe these are the last signings until the draft on Thursday. There has been never ending talk about what the Bills will do with the draft pick bounty and how it will parlay into 2018. Personally, the Bills should draft Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield if they are available. If not, go get Lamar Jackson and build off the offense that Tyrod Taylor was based out of last year. Use whatever picks are left and fills holes with the best player available. These are just my opinions; I have no say just like everyone else. All I want is the Bills to take that next step towards the promised land, but I have faith that Beane and McDermott will pick the right players. Until then, continue to follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills for the latest Bills injury news. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Richie Incognito’s Retirement

Analyzing Incognito’s injury & social history contributing towards his retirement.

Big news coming out of One Bills Drive! G Richie Incognitio announced his retirement recently in stunning fashion by firing his agent and notifying Peter King of Sports Illustrated that he is no longer playing after 12 seasons. He described his reasons due to stress along with maintaining a strict diet and issues with his liver and kidneys. Overall, a multitude of reasons led to this abrupt retirement especially after signing a contract which reduced his overall salary to help against the cap. Today’s post will assess his injury history to determine if any injuries are suspect to blame along with his social history which may have led to this sudden announcement.

Incognito was drafted in the 3rd round in 2005 out of Nebraska by the St. Louis Rams. During his time in the league, he has had stops in St. Louis, Miami, and two stints in Buffalo. During his time in St. Louis from 2005-2009, Incognito provided overall effective play and was able to relatively remain healthy. 2007 saw the offensive guard deal with an unspecified knee injury that led to being placed on IR for the rest of the season. 2009 saw Incognito deal with a foot injury midway through the season that caused him to miss 4 games. This is the only significant missed time that he missed during his career. There is little information available for St. Louis injury report from 2005-2008 which would shed light on early career injuries.

Following signing with Miami, 2010 saw him avoid injury and 2011 he dealt with an ankle injury that forced him to miss one game. 2012 saw him healthy, but 2013 dealt with a neck injury prior to being suspended for the infamous bullying incident with Jonathan Martin which kept him out of football for the rest of the 2013 season and all of 2014. After some time away from the game, Incognito made the most of his 2nd chance by signing with Buffalo and a rebirth of his career. During his time in Buffalo, the veteran suffered a shoulder injury during the 2015 season, a neck injury in 2016, and ankle and shoulder injuries during 2017. I cannot elaborate on the specifics of these injuries as there is little detail available other than general injury reports and limited video detailing the specific injuries.

For someone at his position, he has missed little time and the injuries that he has sustained have not been severe. In fact, as the older he got, the better his health and play had improved. Unfortunately, Incognito is a complex man with issues greater than physical health. It has been reported that Incognito has had much experience with drugs and alcohol during his time in the league. In 2007 while in training camp during rehabilitation, he admitted that he was out partying all night and doing things professional athletes shouldn’t be doing. He also reports in the same article how he was self medicating with marijuana and dealing with depression for which he was prescribed medication for in 2009. He describes that he was dealing with so much mental and physical stress during that time and that he needed to find balance in his life.

Elaborating more in Tyler Dunne’s article on Bleacher Report, Incognito states that he has been self medicating with alcohol and marijuana going back to his college days. Add in anger issues and that is a lot to handle for anyone. He does have an admitted problem which he appeared to have under control during his second stint in Buffalo. To the dismay of the front office and fans, Incognito is walking away after taking a pay cut that resulted in firing his agent and retiring suddenly.

Looking at everything, the man is 34 years old playing a punishing position with a long list of substance abuse and mental health complaints. While no one is perfect and no one can play forever, it is still disappointing to see him walk away. Readdressing his original comments regarding his liver and kidneys along with the stress may shed more light on the situation. The liver helps filter toxins out of the body, regulates blood composition, processes nutrients, and metabolizes alcohol & drugs, among other functions. The kidneys help remove waste & drugs from the body via urination helps regulate body fluids, assist in regulating blood pressure, and control production of red blood cells which assist in carrying oxygen through the body via hemoglobin. These two organs have likely taken a beating with the substance abuse that he has admitted to over his career. Add in stress from playing at such a high level and function of those organs can be compromised. The body can only take so much and both his doctors and him think that this is the breaking point which is leading him to walk away.

I will not elaborate as to what he is experiencing in his liver and kidneys specifically as I do not know and I believe there is better trained individuals to potentially identify those complaints. However, I am confident that injuries are not forcing him away from the game with stress being a cover. The abuse that football plays in forcing retirement does have an impact but is not the reason. Whether Incognito wants to return is totally on him and the Bills still retain his rights should he do so, but if he truly does walk away, it is for good. As he has not shown up for Phase I of OTA’s, it appears that he is sticking to his original decision.

The Bills offensive line has taken a beating this off season with the trade of T Cordy Glenn, the retirement of C Eric Wood, and now the retirement of G Richie Incognito. This may be the impetus for the front office to accelerate rebuilding their offensive line as it had begun to show its age this past season and as the team trends towards focusing on youth. Any which way you look at it, losing #64 hurts the team but does not kill them. The 12th year pro made the playoffs, several Pro Bowl’s, and walks away at the top of his game. Best of luck to Richie in retirement and I hope that he takes care of himself both mentally and physically.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest updates and articles regarding the Buffalo Bills. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills FA Signing’s Part II

Assessing the latest Bills free agent signings and injury histories.

The Buffalo Bills continue to make moves, some at times, questionable. The Bills recently re-signed WR Kaelin Clay and signed CB Phillip Gaines and DE Terrence Fede. As the front office continues to turn over every stone in order to find those players that can help build long term success; I suppose every stone does not reveal a prize. Today’s post will assess these recent signings and their injury histories.

First up is WR Kaelin Clay. As you may recall, Clay had a short stint in Buffalo at the beginning of the season before being released and went back to Carolina. During his time here, Clay suffered foot and back injuries which slowed his production. While he is not an elite WR talent, he still provides depth and impact in the return game. Looking at the rest of his career, he has also spent time in Baltimore and Carolina. The 3rd year pro has only appeared on the injury report in 2017 with a shoulder injury which he did not miss any time. I suspect that the front office may be reassessing players who they have a known history with to find where they fit best.

However, the signing of CB Phillip Gaines is questionable in my opinion. During his 2017 season, Gaines was rated as one of the worst corners in the NFL and has only started a season’s worth of games during his career. In addition to subpar play, he also has an extensive injury history. Starting in 2014, he suffered a concussion, injuries to his quadriceps and ankle before suffering another concussion which forced him to miss the last 3 games.

2015 was no better to the 4th year pro as he suffered a torn ACL during a Week 3 tilt against the Green Bay Packers. This forced him to miss the entire season and return to form for 2016. Unfortunately, 2016 saw Gaines miss several games due to possible re-aggravation of his surgically repaired knee forcing him to miss a total of 5 games spread out over the entire season. 2017 saw him have his best season injury wise until he missed the final game of the regular season and the playoff loss to the Chiefs with a dislocated elbow. Thankfully, dislocated elbows are not severe in regards to recovery and will not have any setbacks come this season.

Finally, the Bills signed DE Terrence Fede from the Miami Dolphins to a one year contract. Fede will be added to the suddenly deep DE rotation that the front office has been addressing all off season. As for injuries, the 4th year pro has been relatively healthy during his time in the league. Fede has missed the first 3 games of his rookie year with a knee injury sustained in the preseason in 2014. The 2015 season saw him avoid injury along with 2016 with the exception of a knee injury which forced him to miss the first game. 2017 saw no missed time but saw Fede sustain a shoulder injury along with another knee injury late in the season. As injury reports do not specify which knee was injured, I cannot speculate whether these were acute or chronic complaints or what specific injuries he had at the time.

Overall, Fede has been relatively healthy during his time in the league which will help for availability and help keep the starters fresh. The overall trend for Beane & McDermott is to sign a player that promotes availability over skill. While it is rather difficult if not impossible to obtain a starting caliber player to play in a reserve role, this past season demonstrated how effective depth is to a winning football team.

As a medical professional, I like the Fede signing, I am indifferent on Clay, and I do not like the Gaines acquisition. While none of these recent signings are guaranteed to make the starting roster, the past medical issues may impact their long term effectiveness, specifically Gaines. I have found that many players deal with injury early on in their careers which force them to either take care of their bodies or they end their careers prematurely.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest Buffalo Bills signings, news, updates, and analysis. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and at Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Bodine & Newhouse FA Signing’s

Analysis of the injury histories of recent Buffalo Bills signings of Bodine & Newhouse.

The Buffalo Bills have demonstrated time and time again that they are not satisfied until they turn over every stone and open every door looking for players that fit their vision. This continues to be evident with the signings of C Russell Bodine and OT Mitchell Newhouse. Both are players with extensive time in the league that should help bring a veteran presence to a rapidly changing offensive line with the departures of C Eric Wood, OT’s Seantrel Henderson and Cordy Glenn. Today’s post will assess the new signing’s injury histories and possible impact this season.

First up is C Russell Bodine. The recent Cincinnati Bengals lineman signed a 2 year, $5 million deal to come to Buffalo and compete for the starting job. The veteran lineman has shown the ability to play at a high level and be effective, starting every game of his 4 year career. He has also not had any major injury, only showing up once on the injury report during the 2015 season with a finger injury which did not cause him to miss time. While he has big shoes to fill with the departure of C Eric Wood, the 4th year pro will be able to battle for the starting position with C/G Ryan Groy and C Adam Redmon in training camp with a strong starter and effective depth established as a result.

Next up is OT Marshall Newhouse formerly of the Oakland Raiders. The 8th year pro has had stops in Green Bay, Cincinnati, New York Giants and now most recently Oakland. Newhouse recently signed a 1 year contract with the Bills to provide depth with a thinning tackle position. The journeyman tackle has dealt with many injuries over his time in the NFL which may explain why he has bounced around so often.

Newhouse was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2010 and missed the entire season as he was inactive and dealt with an on and off back injury which eventually placed him on injured reserve. 2011-2014 saw him much healthier dealing with minor knee, wrist, shoulder, and back injuries that did not cause him to miss any time. His time with the Giants in 2015-2016 saw him once again deal with a back issue followed by a season ending concussion that forced him to miss two total games. 2016 saw him have no issues injury wise but 2017 saw Newhouse miss two games with foot and hip injuries. The veteran guard will be able to provide depth at both RT and LT as he has played both positions throughout his career. He will provide depth at a position that with the exception of T Dion Dawkins is a question mark going into the season.

Overall, I like the Bodine signing as he is able to provide stability at the position with both health and effective play if he wins the starting position. The Newhouse signing is only beneficial for depth as I believe that he will not compete for a starting position and will be only relevant in certain packages or in case of injury. Either way, the front office has continued to show a willingness to find the pieces they need to build a team that is more cap efficient and built for the long term.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest articles on the Buffalo Bills. Follow me on Twitter @BangedUpBills for thoughts and discussions on the newest Bills signings. Follow Grandstand Sports Network @Grandstand_SN for the most comprehensive content for the NFL, NHL, and other information not found anywhere else. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Free Agent Haul

Analyzing the latest Bills free agent signings, their injury histories, and impact for next season.

The Bills continue to make moves which further indicate that the Bills are working towards bigger things for the draft. This new regime is serious and have a clear game plan on how to achieve their goals. Brandon Beane and company have been very busy, finding the right type of players that fit “The Process”. The pressure is on even more now that the NY Jets have traded with the Colts to move up to the 3rd overall pick in order to hopefully obtain their franchise QB. Today’s post will review the free agent signings of DT Star Lotulelei, DE Trent Murphy, S Rafael Bush, LB Julian Stanford, and QB A.J. McCarron.

First up is DT Star Lotulelei, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. The big defensive tackle has been a mainstay in Carolina for the past 5 seasons before signing with the Bills for 5 years, $50 million with $25 million guaranteed which makes him the highest paid Bills player on the roster. While these are rather eye-popping numbers, Lotulelei has shown he is able to earn his keep. The 5th year pro has missed minimal time over his short career, suffering only ankle and foot injuries in the first three years. His ankle injury did not force him to miss any time but a broken bone in his foot at the end of the 2014 season led to eventual surgery. He was able to return to in time for training camp in 2015 but suffered a “stress-reaction” after the 3rd practice. Simply put, he suffered a precursor to a stress fracture. He was able to rest the remaining portion of training camp and missed the first two regular season games but since then has not suffered any further set backs. He should remain healthy as the defense has switched to rotational play, thus ensuring always fresh players in the trenches.

Next up is S Rafael Bush, formerly of the New Orleans Saints. The 7th year pro recently signed a 2-year deal with Buffalo has been all over the league, seeing time with New Orleans over two stints along with stops in Denver and Detroit. During his time in the league, he has suffered several injuries that have caused him to miss significant time. 2013 saw him miss 3 games towards the end of the season due to an ankle injury. In 2014, Bush suffered a broken fibula which prematurely ended his season that year. Finally in 2015, he suffered a torn pectoral in the season opener which sidelined him the entire season as it typically takes 6 months to recover. Since then, Bush has been healthy over the past 2 seasons, not missing any games due to injury. While he is getting older, he still has shown the ability to play at a high level and provides depth at a position the Bills found themselves to be very effective at last season.

The Bills continue to address needs on the defense with their 3rd signing in DE Trent Murphy. The 4th year pro has dealt with many injuries during his time in the league but has shown to be effective when healthy. Looking back at his NFL injury history, his rookie year saw him miss one game with a broken bone in his hand which ended his season one game early. He also dealt with a knee injury that year which did not affect his playing time. 2015 saw a minor hip injury and 2016 saw him deal with elbow/shoulder, foot, and ankle injuries that he was able to play through.

Unfortunately in 2017, Murphy suffered a torn ACL in the preseason which forced him to miss the entire season going into the final year of his contract. It was reported that rehab went very well for the defensive end in that he was squatting 475 lbs 6 months after his surgery. While it is typical to see these kind of exercises being performed, to be squatting that much is an excellent sign. Murphy does have a higher risk to retear his ACL which is at about 20% higher compared to a healthy population, but playing in the NFL is always a risk for injury. Between the torn ACL and a 4 game suspension for PED use which he ultimately served during his time on IR allowed the Bills to sign him and they hope to rekindle the kind of production he had in 2016 before his injury. He should fit in nice with the rotation of Jerry Hughes, Eddie Yarbrough, and Shaq Lawson, among others.

The final piece of the defensive free agents is LB Julian Stanford. The 5th year veteran has made stops in Jacksonville, Detroit, New York Jets, and his latest stop in Buffalo where he signed a 2-year contract. Most of his playing time has been seen on special teams with some occasional play in defensive packages. As a result, his injuries have been minimal, suffering a hip injury in 2012 which he did not miss any games and 2016 saw him miss 4 games which landed him on the IR to end the season. Otherwise, from what I have read, he is an effective and durable player who provides depth at the LB position and makes his mark on special teams.

Finally, the Buffalo Bills let the dust settle and finally signed a veteran QB in AJ McCarron. The former Alabama star has primarily rode the bench behind Buffalo playoff hero Andy Dalton for 4 seasons. McCarron recently won his arbitration case which allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent due to an injury his rookie year to his right shoulder. This injury originally occurred during his senior season at Alabama and had been described as tightness. This caused him to start the season on the PUP list which forced him to miss 14 games. I am not quite certain what he exactly did to his shoulder as he reportedly jammed it and always felt fatigue afterward. My initial thought may be that he was dealing with shoulder impingement in where the rotator cuff is pinched during abnormal shoulder biomechanics. There is a possibility that he also suffered some type of nerve injury which could also contribute towards a fatigue like feeling. As this is not his throwing shoulder and he has not had any recurrence since 2014 leads me to believe that this is no longer an issue.

McCarron will be afforded the ability to compete for the starting job along with QB Nathan Peterman and the expected 1st round draft pick the Bills will bring in this year. The 4th year signal caller has seen minimal time with the exception of a 3 game stretch in 2015 in where he went 2-1 with 6 TD’s against 2 INT’s. He was able to show that he could play in college under Nick Saban, but time will tell whether he can be a serviceable QB when given a starting role.

Overall, all these recent signings are favorable to the team and allow them to chase the high end talent in the draft to build for years down the road. All of these players I don’t expect to have any injury issues with the exception of Murphy. He has battled smaller injuries over his career and suffered the above mentioned ACL tear which puts him at a higher risk to reinjure. He will also most likely not be ready until OTA’s in June to fully participate. I believe all these players will provide the needed depth and skill required at their respective positions should the starter go down.

Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates at Banged Up Bills. Follow me on Twitter @BangedUpBills and follow my colleagues at Grandstand Sports Network for the latest NFL draft talk. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- C/G

Analyzing the injuries at the C/G position and implications for next season.

Today’s post on Banged Up Bills breaks down the guard and center positional injuries and implications for next season. A total of 5 players suited up at the C/G position that powered the Bills to the playoffs and was able to maintain a top 10 rushing attack. Unfortunately, the offensive line is aging and unexpected injuries have derailed the possibility for a repeat performance next season.

Starting off with the center position is C Eric Wood. The 9th year pro had a relatively successful season anchoring the offensive line. Injury wise, Wood suffered an ankle injury during the win over the Oakland Raiders which did not force him to miss any time and was not a factor for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, it was later revealed he did suffer two neck stingers in Week’s 5-6 which after an end of season physical resulted in his inability to continue to playing due to possible long term risks. A more detailed analysis of his injury can be found here. He is not expected to return under any circumstances and is not officially retired due to salary cap complications.

Next up is versatile C/G Ryan Groy. The 4th year pro served in mostly a backup role this season but has shown the ability to start when C Eric Wood went down in 2016 with a broken leg. Groy saw no time on the injury report with the exception of illness in Week 16. The young lineman appears to be a natural fit to replace Wood at the position as a low cost option and will either grow into the position or be a bridge piece for someone else to come in. Expect him to assume a larger role next season.

Transitioning to the guard position, there were 3 primary players that took on the job at guard. First up is G Richie Incognitio. The controversial player found a second life in Buffalo and has continued to demonstrate a Pro Bowl caliber play despite being one of the older players on the line. Injury wise, Incognitio saw minimal time on the injury report, suffering an ankle injury during the Tampa Bay game and shoulder injury during the playoff loss to the Jaguars. The 12th year pro did require weekly rest days which may have contributed to his ability to stay healthier compared to others. Incognitio is still very effective despite his age and is a great transitional piece as the front office slowly begins to rebuild the offensive line. Recently, he restructured his contract to allow him to stay on a more team friendly deal to allow the team to focus on other assets this off season.

Next man up is G Vladmir Ducasse who after not initially starting the season, came in and performed effectively, playing in 12 regular season games and 1 post season game. Ducasse was thought to be a depth player going into the season but questionable play by G John Miller led to Ducasse’s starting opportunity after 4 games. In addition to winning the starting job from Miller, the 7th year pro stayed injury free and proved how effective he can be in a run heavy offense. As for next season, the Bills would be making a poor decision if he were to leave. Like Incognitio, his contract and availability is favorable and he also provides a nice transition as the line gets older. Expect to see Ducasse on the line again in 2018.

Finally, G John Miller rounds out the guard review for the 2018 season. Miller had a pretty rough season, winning the job out of training camp before relinquishing his job after 4 games to Ducasse. To add insult to injury, Miller began to be ruled inactive thereafter and suffered what I suspected to be a high ankle sprain in practice right before Thanksgiving which forced him to miss 6 games. Despite Miller’s horrendous season, it is possible that he returns for next season. He is only 24, has demonstrated the ability to play well in past seasons and is going into the final season of his rookie contract. He does provide another veteran body in an aging line but is still young enough that could be moved in a trade for other pieces if needed.

In addition to all these players likely to come back next season, C Adam Redmon is on a futures contract which may allow the Bills to not have to search far for their next center if Groy does not work out or is injured. Continue to check back with Banged Up Bills for the latest injury updates. Check out Grandstand Sports Network for other injury related articles that I post and please check out the latest content by my fellow colleagues. GSN is truly an unique site comprised of passionate individuals providing the latest stories and shows not found anywhere else. GSN is the #1 place to go for the 2018 NFL draft! As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!