Bills Season Injury Review- Offensive Tackle

Read the latest Bills injuries at the offensive tackle position from 2018 & how it affects 2019!

The 2018 Buffalo Bills offensive line took a significant step backwards after several successful seasons in which they led the NFL in rushing and appeared to continue this trend moving into 2018. Unfortunately, due to the forced retirement of C Eric Wood and the bizarre retirement/release of G Richie Incognitio, the loss of these two proved to be too great in order to protect rookie QB Josh Allen and as a result, was unable to open effective lanes up for RB LeSean McCoy, leading to his worst season of his career. Today’s post will identify injuries from the tackle position on the offensive line and how things will shape up in 2019.

First up is T Conor McDermott. The 2nd year player out of UCLA drafted by the Patriots before being picked up by the Bills saw him play sparingly, mostly during the last month of the season once they were out of the playoff race. Total, he played in 5 games with no penalties and did not suffer any injuries. From my vantage point, he is a player that is too good to keep on the practice squad, but not quite ready to play full time on the field. As he has been a part of this team the past 2 seasons, I expect that the coaching staff brings him back next season to continue his development.

T Marshall Newhouse is the next player to be assessed today. The veteran tackle had spent the early part of his career with the Packers before bouncing around to the Giants and Raiders. Newhouse was brought in to provide depth at a position that had some question marks going into 2018. Unfortunately, his time in Buffalo was short lived to just 3 games, eventually shipping out to the Panthers in exchange for a 2021 7th round pick. During his 3 game stretch, he did not suffer any injuries and had 1 holding penalty and 1 false start penalty. As he is an aging veteran who was moved for a low round draft pick 2 years from now, it is unlikely that Newhouse finds his way back to Buffalo.

T Jeremiah Sirles is another veteran tackle that has bounced around the league with stops at San Diego, Minnesota, Carolina, and Buffalo. During the 2018 season, Sirles saw action in 12 games, starting 5 with 1 false start penalty and 1 declined/offset penalty. In addition, Sirles managed to avoid the injury report and provided to be a solid depth option at the tackle position. While he is far from the long term answer at the position, his play this past season was rewarded with a one-year contact extension and I expect to see him on the field in 2019.

T Jordan Mills was an interesting player this year. The big man has been a part of the Bills since 2015; before that, he spent 2 seasons with the Bears. He appeared in and started all 16 games, recording 3 holding penalties and 2 false start penalties along with 2 penalties that were declined or offset. Mills was one of the few tackles this season to sustain injuries including a knee injury suffered in practice prior to the Colts game that did not force him to miss any games. He also suffered a left knee injury during the first Jets game that caused him to miss several plays but was able to return. He was one player this year that managed to sustain small injuries, require medical attention but never appeared to be anything serious. Most of his injuries may have been more contusions due to the brutal hits he has to endure but somehow he did not miss significant time. Mills is currently an unrestricted free agent and the team does not appear to be in any rush to re-sign him. I believe that his time in Buffalo has come to a close and it is possible that he could catch on with another team requiring veteran depth at the position.

Finally, T Dion Dawkins rounds out players at the tackle position. The 2nd year player managed to wow the coaching staff last year with his exceptional play as a rookie, but with losses to the offensive line due to Wood/Incognito, it appeared as though his flaws were exposed as a result. Dawkins managed to appear and start in all 16 games with 1 holding penalty, 3 false start penalties, 3 offset/declined penalties; a stark increase from 2017 in which he only sustained 3 total penalties. In addition to his tackle play, Dawkins got in on the passing game, hauling in 1 target for 1 reception for 7 yards and a TD during the win over the Jets. Injury wise, Dawkins only suffered what appeared to be a hip pointer injury during the preseason against the Bengals. Otherwise, Dawkins managed to avoid further injury and continued to provide stability at an ever changing offensive line. While I have heard some discussion that the coaching staff has fallen out of favor with him as he was not a guy they drafted, I would still keep him on the roster as he has shown he can play at a high level and his health issues are minimal. I expect to see him back in 2019 improving his play with new coaching along with experienced, more talented players added in allowing Dawkins to reduce the burden he was placed with this past season.

Overall, this is another position group that has to be addressed in both the draft and free agency. Outside of Dawkins, the rest of the players listed are merely depth players even with Mills starting the past few seasons. With the Bills picking at 9th overall, it appears as though they are going the best player available route which could dissuade them from going offensive tackle, but if that player happens to be a tackle, then they could certainly upgrade one side of the line and begin to re-solidify the offensive line.

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

 

Preseason Injury Review- Bears

Read up on the latest injuries coming out of the Bears game and how the Bills move forward into the regular season.

Well, thank god the preseason is over. It always seems as though we are so starved for football each and every year, we tend to overreact on how poorly the Bills have played. Last year, the Bills finished 1-3 in the preseason, it was nearly deja vu all over again in 2018. Somehow, they found a way to pull out a last second win over the Bears by a score of 28-27 with 25 unanswered points despite sloppy and ineffective play in the first half. However, a win is a win and the Bills finish the preseason with a record of 2-2.

By design and some luck, there were no major injuries to anyone starting the regular season as a majority sat out, but those depth players playing a majority of the game also were able to avoid injury, possibly allowing them to find another team in the event they get cut.

Thankfully, there were minimal injuries to report from today’s game. First up is OL Conor McDermott who exited the game late in the 3rd quarter with a left knee injury. I was unable to see the mechanism of injury but he may have twisted it or hit it hard. From what I was able to observe, all the special tests to assess for knee damage appeared to be negative with the knee demonstrating appropriate stability in all planes of motion. He was able to re-enter the game on the next offensive series and appeared to battle through his ailment, knowing that his job depends on it. He is able to move around defensive lineman quite effectively, not showing any limitations which makes me believe he got more shook up than injured.

Next up is DE Terence Fede. The veteran end is also fighting for a depth roster spot on the D-line and attempted to make himself known during the game. However, shortly after McDermott went down with his injury, Fede injured himself on a punt return. When he went down, he appears to be pointing to his left knee and on video replay, it did not appear to really show anything. He came down grabbing at his knee but there was nothing that appeared to show any mechanism of injury. He may have hit it coming down or off a player due to the camera angle, but nothing implied that he sustained any damage. Whether this was precautionary or not, I did not see him return to the game.

Rookie WR Ray-Ray McCloud suffered a knee injury late in the 4th quarter but this may have been a knee injury that was diagnosed once he came off the field after his punt return. I was unable to see the injury occur in real time. He did not appear to have training staff come out and assess which makes me think this is more precautionary as he continues to fight for a roster spot as a special teams kick and punt returner. He may have been the most significant injury as he is a rookie draft pick and has overall shown flashes of warranting a roster spot.

As seen above, there wasn’t much to review regarding the game all of these players may not even make the team. McDermott was on the active roster last year but only appeared in 3 games. Fede appeared in 16 games last year for Miami but depending on depth needs, may find himself looking on the outside in. McCloud may make the team as a practice squad player with hopes to moving up to the 53 man roster. Overall, the Bills escaped major injury again this year which I believe is he reason they were able to bounce back last season when injuries occurred. As the team doesn’t look fantastic right now, they have back-ups that at least know the system and have been trusted to make the roster over street free agents which have hurt the Bills in past seasons.

Continue to check back for the latest updates and news on Buffalo Bills injuries as we stare down the regular season opener. 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!!