2020 AFC Championship Bills Injury Preview- Chiefs

Will Butler and Davis suit up Sunday? What Chiefs will be effective?

We are on the precipice of a truly historical moment for the Buffalo Bills! One more win and the Buffalo Bills will be crowned AFC Champions and return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years! Not only has it been a long time since the Bills have been this far in the playoffs, but it has also felt like a long week as injury updates come out daily on not only the Bills but the status of Patrick Mahomes and whether he would be cleared from the concussion protocol in time. 

Thankfully, at the time of publication, it is one day away from the Bills and Chiefs squaring off for the right to represent the American Football Conference in the Super Bowl. Below are all the injury updates for both the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

QUESTIONABLE

WR Gabriel Davis (Right ankle)

It was obvious that Davis injured his ankle missing that touchdown pass early in the 2nd quarter that limited him the remainder of the game. Two DNP’s with a limited practice isn’t ideal either, but it is promising. It looks like a low inversion ankle sprain on video, but it could be more based on examination and video angles available. 

It may come down to how much he can run and jump around the field. While he is insanely talented, trying to toe-tap catches and run his routes crisply may make things difficult. Could Kenny Stills play in Davis’s place? Quite possible but he’s only been here a few weeks. Does he have a rapport with Josh Allen? It’s possible the Chiefs could have game-planned for the possibility of Stills knowing that Davis may not play. 

I want to lean towards Davis playing, but as an injured rookie, do they put him out there or let a veteran wide receiver that is healthy play? That’s the one thing we don’t know. 

DT Vernon Butler (Quadricep)

I had originally thought Butler was dealing with a foot injury in the game, but he appeared later on the injury report with a quadriceps injury. He left the game late in the 3rd quarter, right before Taron Johnson delivered the game-sealing pick-six. It’s not clear when he injured the quadriceps but having two DNP’s and a limited practice isn’t a ringing endorsement that he will play. 

A strain can be played through, but the concern is whether he re-injures the quadricep and they do not have a healthy body in his place. Most of the time, a quadricep would require a player to sit out at least one game, but there may not be any next week. 

ACTIVE 

WR Cole Beasley (Left knee)

Beasley re-appears on the injury report Thursday with a knee injury that is likely the same injury he’s been dealing with since Week 16. He was highly productive against the Colts in the Wild Card round but didn’t have much of an impact last week against the Ravens. Considering he was limited Thursday indicates that either he tweaked his knee Wednesday and had to take it easy Thursday, or he tweaked it or took time off at some point during Thursday’s practice. Taking all but one rep or only taking one rep is all the same under the limited designation.

Whatever Beasley is dealing with, he will get it addressed following the season. I had thought if he had sat out against the Colts, he could have been fresher in the next round, but hindsight is 20/20. Ideally, he gets more targets due to taking another week to get healthy.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (Hamstring)

Details are still scarce regarding Edmunds hamstring. He played in all the defensive snaps Saturday despite his hamstring designation last week. He practiced in full all week and while is likely not 100%, he’s good enough to continue to go out and perform for another week.

DT Quinton Jefferson (Ankle)

Like Edmunds, Jefferson’s ankle injury was not noticeable on film, playing in 46% of snaps which isn’t too far off his usual production from the season. He has no game designation and I would expect his production to not be affected greatly, though his snap could probably increase if Vernon Butler does not play.

DE Darryl Johnson (knee)

After missing last week with a knee injury, Johnson returns to practice with full participation this week. I still have not been unable to find the specifics of the knee injury from the Colts game and the week off appeared to help him greatly. His availability will make Trent Murphy expendable for this game and having Johnson back on special teams may be a difference-maker come Sunday. 

WR Stefon Diggs (Oblique)

The severity of the oblique injury is probably more severe than Diggs and the team has let on, but he continues to produce. I have not observed anything on film that suggests that the oblique is significantly affecting him. Listing the injury may be more of a formality at this point and hopefully the week off in between if the Bills win and make their way down to Tampa.

K Tyler Bass (Right hand)

Bass continues to practice in full dealing with a right-hand injury and wearing at least a brace on the hand. It’s not clear what he is dealing with, but this will not affect his kicking abilities for Sunday.

CHIEFS INJURY REPORT:

OUT

LB Willie Gay (Ankle)

Gay is reportedly dealing with a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 17 and is already ruled out. High ankle sprains take some time to come back from and it’s clear that the Chiefs don’t believe he is ready which bodes well for the Bills Sunday. 

QUESTIONABLE

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (left high ankle/hip)

Edwards-Helaire is coming off a left high ankle sprain and hip strain sustained in Week 15. He has been out for an entire month, though only missing 2 games due to the bye week for the number one seed.

While he will not be 100%, having the month off should allow him to come back and be effective enough from the ankle standpoint. Considering that he suffered the hip strain, that should be fully healed by now, but it’s possible that he could be dealing with something greater currently unreported that he will play though. After having as much time off as he did, I fully expect him to play. 

WR Sammy Watkins (Calf)

Watkins has missed the last 2 games with a calf injury sustained in the win over Atlanta. At the time, the calf injury was not perceived as being serious and the thought was that he would be back in time for the divisional game. 

It stands to reason that he could return to play in this game as the stakes are higher. Calf injuries linger due to the demands of the muscle when pushing the foot down to sprint and jump. It could be quite possible that he re-injures the area during the game too, but I don’t foresee the team holding him out again. We all know when Sammy Watkins is healthy, he’s electric. But when he’s not, his production really suffers. I’d expect he plays as well.

CB Bashaud Breeland (Concussion/shoulder)

The concussion is the more worrisome injury than the shoulder as it has not been clarified that he has passed the protocol. He appeared trending in the right direction with limited practices all week but it may not be known that he passes the protocol until game time. He may be one that misses due to not being cleared.

Update: he has since cleared concussion protocol.

CB Rashad Fenton (Foot)

There aren’t any reports to clarify the status of the foot injury. He was also limited in practice this week and considering Breeland is a true question mark, I would suspect Fenton to play through whatever he is dealing with. 

RB Le’veon Bell (Knee)

Bell is reportedly dealing with swelling in his knee that limited him Thursday/Friday and it’s unknown whether he plays. Considering Edwards-Helaire is likely to play which could keep Bell on the inactive list especially the knee injury appeared to get aggravated later in the week. I anticipate he sits this one out considering the Chiefs have Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson for depth. 

QB Patrick Mahomes (Concussion/left toe)

I think every single person on social media has had an opinion on the status of Patrick Mahomes this week. It has been mind boggling. I laid out the facts of Mahomes time in the concussion protocol at The Game Day, the previous article at Banged Up Bills, and even detailed at Locked On Bills. I had said on Locked On Bills that it didn’t matter why Patrick Mahomes was in the concussion protocol, he was in there and as a result, he has to successfully navigate the protocol. 

He did and we can move past that. His left toe injury will be the biggest concern heading into Sunday’s contest. The injury is detailed above in all of the links. In addition, check out this thread from Erik Turner from Cover 1 using the video to detail how Mahomes was limited with the toe after the injury and how the Bills can game plan against him. Certainly worth the time to read and understand. 

Bills Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

WR Gabriel Davis*

LB Tyrel Dodson

DE Trent Murphy

OL Jordan Devey

TE Tyler Kroft

Practice Squad player

*Kenny Stills to be called up in place of Davis, other call up would be inactive as the team has done in recent weeks.

The Bills can win this one. They really can. I had predicted on Locked on Bills that the Bills would win 28-24. That would cover the spread and take the under according to Pointsbet. The Bills could win this simply because of all the talent missing from the last game. Dawson Knox, Matt Milano, and Harrison Phillips did not play last time. John Brown was injured early in the game and a non-factor. Tre’Davious White was coming off a back injury that forced him to miss the Titans game. Josh Allen was still working through his left shoulder injury sustained in Week 4 against the Raiders. 

The Bills are a hot team right now and fairly healthy as detailed above. The Buffalo Bills may very well be the 2020 AFC Champions and could play in Super Bowl 55. This could really happen. Now all we have to do is sit back, wait for kickoff at 6:40 pm on January 24th, 2021, and enjoy the game. Go Bills!

Top Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

2020 Divisional Round Bills Injury Preview- Ravens

Will Daryl Johnson suit up? Or will he sit this one out after not practicing?

Two playoff games in one season after having two playoff games over the last 20 years. That’s a great sentence to type out! This is certainly a nice change of pace following all those years of subpar football in the Western NY region. While we all want the Bills to roll over everyone to the Super Bowl, we know that is not that easy especially after last week’s nailbiter over the Indianapolis Colts

This week’s opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, come to Buffalo looking to show that last year’s early exit in the playoffs was a fluke and that they are one of the supreme teams in the AFC. On top of that, they have a relatively healthy roster to contend with. Below are both Buffalo and Baltimore’s respective injuries heading into Saturday night’s game.

QUESTIONABLE

DE Darryl Johnson (Knee)

Despite not practicing all week, Johnson has been declared questionable for Saturday’s game. He is dealing with a knee injury that isn’t apparent on film and his playing time has not been noticeably different. According to the injury report this year, no one that has been DNP all week has played in the game later that week. 

It is important to note that he also had a knee injury heading into Week 9 which he played through, but details were scarce on the specifics. There is not any more information to come out about his knee and it remains to be seen if he plays. The brief tweet thread was an excellent observation of the previous injury. I have no idea whether there is any correlation, but it is important to reflect back on when details are scarce.

While this is the playoffs, he potentially could suit up, but considering Trent Murphy has been inactive for a significant portion of the season, it would make sense to put Murphy in his place and fill the special team’s slot with someone else. This is the easiest one-for-one swap and if you recall, Murphy shined in last season’s playoff loss to the Texans. He does know how to perform when called upon; this may be his opportunity to shine and potentially find a new home next season. 

ACTIVE

WR Cole Beasley (Left knee)

Beasley has practiced all this week in a limited fashion and he has said that he is doing much better and should be able to play easier than the Wild Card game. Details regarding what he is dealing with still have not divulged but it’s evident that he will do whatever it takes to play and be available. Fortunately, he does not have a game day designation indicating that he is full go for Saturday.

Based on how he played last week, it wouldn’t surprise me if the 2nd half was more taxing on him like it was last week. Between the pain management strategies and adrenaline for the game, he will play and do what he can contribute to a win. 

LB Tremaine Edmunds (Hamstring)

I’m not sure what to make of the hamstring designation Edmunds is dealing with this week. He played in 100% of defensive snaps and 19% of special teams snaps which are usually on defensive field goal attempts or two-point conversions. 

Reviewing the film, he didn’t appear limited during the early portions game; this may have occurred on the final drive to end the game as he was sprinting downfield to defend the Hail Mary pass. There isn’t anything to suggest that he did injure the hamstring then, but nothing else on film earlier shows the injury. I have also found that sometimes there are injuries right at the end that don’t get acknowledged due to the timing of everything.

Considering he has been limited all week but full on Thursday, he may have tweaked things and the team is being cautious to allow healing. He does not have a game designation and should perform close to his full abilities. There is always concern for further aggravation of the injury, but it’s the playoffs and he won’t miss this if he can play. 

There were some people that did reach out and concerned that he didn’t look good in warm ups from this video from WGR’s Sal Capaccio. Looking at the brief clip, it looks as though he is working through warming his calf muscles through dynamic movement. There is purposeful movement with bouncing on the toes and similar movement from one leg to the next. On top of that, Siran Neal appears to be doing a similar activity, though he is lengthening his stride slightly more than Edmunds. Either way, if Edmunds was that limited that he couldn’t do simple warm up drills, he wouldn’t have been practicing.

DT Justin Zimmer (Groin) 

Zimmer appears on the injury report following a groin injury Saturday. His snap counts are in line with what he has done in past games and there was no clear injury available on film. 

Unless the groin injury is severe or noted when it occurred, these are hard to detect without some context. Considering he plays roughly 25-30% of defensive snaps, if he suffers a further injury, his snaps can be absorbed by the defensive line rotation with minimal issues. This could be as simple as, there is soreness, it hurts, but once he gets moving, he can play and perform. 

DT Ed Oliver (Ankle)

Oliver is another surprise addition to the injury report this week with an ankle injury from Saturday. He played in 100% of snaps and did not show anything on film regarding the injury. He did not have a game day designation and won’t miss the game while being limited in practice. 

WR Stefon Diggs (Oblique)

Diggs was questionable for the Wild Card game but had himself a day Saturday indicating that the oblique did not bother him as much as the team led on last week. This is always something to watch but it doesn’t appear that the last game or practice this week aggravated the injury.

K Tyler Bass (Hand)

Bass was a big surprise to the injury report with a hand injury after not having that designation on Tuesday. There was some thought that he injured the hand while performing a tackle late in the 1st quarter. It’s really hard to discern if he did injure the hand while falling to the ground; he led more with his shoulder in taking out the Colts returner. 

Even if he broke his hand or there was any significant injury to the area, he could still kick without issue and wear some type of protective bracing. However, he practiced in full the past two days and does not have a game day designation indicating that this is not an issue. It’s also important to note that he did not have a designation Tuesday but appeared Wednesday could indicate that he injured the hand Tuesday. He will still be able to kick and tackle without hesitation come Saturday.

Ravens Injury Report:

QUESTIONABLE

CB Marcus Peters (Back)

This may be the biggest injury for the Ravens coming into this game. He played in 100% of snaps last week and there are not any reports of the specifics of the injury. He has dealt with several other injuries including calf and thigh injuries ailments earlier. 

He is officially listed as questionable but coach John Harbaugh noted that he expected both him and Matt Judon to play Saturday. Without specifics or video of the back injury, it may be hard to identify where Peters may be limited with his activities. I do expect him to suit up like all the Ravens player’s did last week.

T DJ Fluker (Knee)

Fluker is interesting because he began dealing with this injury in practice prior to Week 17 but played in both the final regular-season game and Wild Card, splitting time with Tyre Phillips. Like the Peters injury, there is little in the way of specifics. He has since been ruled questionable, but considering he’s played the last two weeks and he splits time at the tackle position, I would anticipate that he plays.

ACTIVE

LB Matt Judon (Illness)

Outside of COVID, it would take a significant illness to hold any player out of playing due to illness. Considering how important he is to the defense, his loss could be Buffalo’s gain, but I’d expect Judon to still perform and not miss a step. He might require fluids before the game and even during halftime, but I’d expect he’s tougher than the flu. 

Bills Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

TE Tyler Kroft

DE Darryl Johnson

LB Tyrel Dodson

OL Jordan Devey

*There could be the possibility of 7 if practice squad players are called up but declared inactive.

This has the potential to be a low scoring game despite the explosive offenses of both teams. This may come down to who has the ball last and who makes fewer mistakes. The Bills are favored at -2.5 according to PointsBet at the moment. If the Bills come out and play how they did against the Colts, I’d expect a loss. However, we have seen this team rise up to the occasion and defeat more talented opponents this season. It’s clear that everyone wants a win from the Bills, but it will be a stressful game to watch until the very end. Enjoy the moment, the Bills are good and they appear to have the ability to sustain this success.

Top Photo Credit: BuffaLowDown

2020 Week 9 Bills Injury Preview- Seahawks

Proceed with caution, this is a long one.

The 2020 NFL season is truly something else. Lately, I cringe a little every time the injury report gets released. There’s a lot of names on that list. It’s at times dizzying to look and see that over 25% of the roster is injured to the point that they may not be available to play Sunday.

Over the past few years, there have been bouts where they have dealt with numerous injuries from week to week, but they have not had this level of injuries for this long of duration since HC Sean McDermott took over in 2017. As always here at Banged Up Bills, every injury is detailed out below to give an idea of the specifics and availability for Sunday’s game against Seattle. 

OUT 

RB Taiwan Jones (Hamstring)

Jones is dealing with a hamstring strain that appears to be on the right side. He suffered this during kickoff following the second touchdown that put the Bills up 14-6. He was sprinting full speed and the hamstring just appeared to be overworked and it went. 

With how the team handles hamstrings and his positional demands, I do not anticipate him playing Sunday. He would need at least a week off if not more before he could return. It wouldn’t surprise me if he missed the next two games and then used the bye to get some extra rest. His loss on special teams will certainly be missed, but this isn’t something that he can gut out like he has so many other injuries.

C Mitch Morse (Concussion)

Morse suffered a concussion on the 3rd play of the 1st quarter and had to exit the game, quickly receiving the diagnosis. His long history of concussions dating back to his rookie year is well known and this is now his 5th publicly reported documented concussion. 

He was seen on the sidelines working out with training staff indicating that he is at least in Stage 2 of the protocol Wednesday and Thursday. Friday he was seen in a red non-contact jersey indicating Stage 3, very possible Stage 4.

Considering concussions take on average 10 days to return from and add in the fact that Morse has taken longer to return from a concussion, he was not expected to play Sunday. I see a scenario where he misses the next two games and uses the bye to get fully right before fully returning. He could play against Arizona if he clears the protocol, but only the team and he will know which path he wishes to take.

Morse has said that he can only worry about what he can control. He’s going to do everything in his power to return quickly but safely in order to help the Bills during the second half of the season. 

LB Matt Milano (Pectoral)

Milano did not practice this week after playing the last two games. He hasn’t exactly been playing perfect, but he has had to wear a shoulder harness to prevent stressing the healing area. It’s not clear whether he aggravated the injury on Sunday or if they are just trying to manage the injury efficiently. Friday’s press conference appeared to imply that they are trying to rest him as much as possible while allowing him to play as needed. 

My thoughts originally were that they were trying to preserve him for the week to play on Sunday’s. That now does not appear to be the case. It has been a month since he suffered the injury and while the area is healing, playing in a football game the past two weeks hasn’t exactly accelerated the healing process.

I didn’t get the perception that he did suffer an aggravation on film, but we don’t know what the team knows. I can say with 100% certainty that he did not fully tear the area, otherwise, he would have been sent to have it repaired. You can live with a fully torn pectoral muscle in certain cases but not if you want to play NFL football.

It’s also important to note that the last two games have been against AFC East opponents which are more significant for the playoffs instead of the upcoming NFC games. Since the Bills won both games and the NFC games don’t hold as much weight for playoff seeding as a divisional game, it would make sense to rest Milano for this game. 

As he is not playing Sunday, this is the decision that was likely made with the team, training staff, and Milano together to ensure he’s healthy for later in the season. It will be interesting to see if newly signed LB Darron Lee makes an appearance due to the massive struggles of LB AJ Klein last week.

Update: Milano has been placed on IR.

CB Josh Norman (Hamstring)

Norman’s season continues to be a struggle for the veteran corner to stay healthy. He still continues to work through the same hamstring that he originally suffered in the preseason and then aggravated in practice two weeks ago. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to when he returns. My hope is that he takes the time he needs and is healthy for the final stretch. 

RB TJ Yeldon (Back)

I have absolutely no idea what Yeldon could be dealing with. He doesn’t have a publicly known history of back issues and he didn’t play in Sunday’s contest. This ailment either occurred during practice or this is an injury that the public isn’t aware of. As he is rarely active, this is a non-factor for Sunday. 

QUESTIONABLE

TE Dawson Knox (Calf)

Knox has had a rough season this year. He has been dealing with a concussion, a hamstring strain, a calf strain, and now COVID. It’s very possible that Knox’s calf is fully recovered from the original injury sustained against the Titans. On average, it takes about 17.4 days to return to play which is just under 3 weeks. Knox passed that window in terms of recovery time and is questionable to play.

The bigger concern will be how he responds following having COVID. Every day we are still learning the effects the virus has on the body and Knox is not immune to those effects. Right now, I hope that he can come back and just play before we get into considering how much of an offensive threat he can be. Due to the uncertainty of how COVID affected him, I want to say he won’t play, but with the number of injuries all over, he might be forced into being active on game day.

DE Darryl Johnson (Knee)

Johnson continues the trend of mystery injuries from Sunday’s game and it’s difficult to speculate the details. He did practice in full on Friday which was a great sign but was still ruled questionable. Considering DE AJ Epenesa was inactive last week, they could switch these two out. The only reason to play Johnson is his special teams contributions. He is a core special teamer whereas Epenesa has only played any special teams the past two weeks. It may just depend on how Johnson feels Sunday.

DT Vernon Butler (Groin)

Butler is moving in the right direction with a full practice on Thursday and Friday following a limited practice on Wednesday. When he exactly injured the groin against the Jets is not known, but the fact that he is able to return after one game indicates it was not that serious. This may come down to how he feels on game day, but the weather is supposed to be warm and dry, potentially lessening the risk for poor footing, leading to aggravation due to slipping. 

The Seahawks rushing attack will be limited due to the possible absence of RB Chris Carson and RB Carlos Hyde. With the addition of Butler, this will help stymie the run game to limit the weapons available for QB Russell Wilson and give the Bills a chance at slowing the offense. 

G Cody Ford (Right knee)

There is hope that Ford can suit up against the Seahawks on Sunday after missing two games with a likely right MCL injury. He did practice in full on Friday which is typically a good sign to play on Sunday. The team continues to have depth at the offensive line to patch things together, but returning Ford would be huge to help maintain consistency for the run game and pass protection.

He has had his share of injuries this season and the time off may have allowed him to get right in order to return to the left guard position and provide stability on an ever-changing offensive line. 

ACTIVE 

WR John Brown (Knee)

Brown continues to deal with nagging injuries from the beginning of the season with the foot issues progressing into the calf strain, working up to a likely left knee sprain. Wednesday was most likely a veteran rest day but practiced in full on Thursday and Friday. Hopefully, he can get through the next two games before the bye and finally get off the injury report. 

RG Brian Winters (Knee)

Winters appears on the injury report again with a knee injury; the specifics are not known. He is known to wear a knee brace during games on the right side. He did have a left ACL tear several years ago that I had thought he could be dealing with some arthritic changes, but impossible to confirm at this time. This may be an injury that the team continues to manage conservatively throughout the season as he is an older player. 

DE Jerry Hughes (Foot)

Despite the injury designation, Hughes continues to make an impact at the defensive end position while not missing any time. The injury originally occurred in the Jets game and it did not appear to affect him. He played in 62% of the snaps against the Patriots, roughly his normal snap count and there simply isn’t a lot of information regarding the injury. 

The bottom line, it’s going to take more than a foot injury to force Hughes to miss a game. 

QB Josh Allen (Left shoulder)

Allen continues to appear weekly on the injury report with a left shoulder injury originally sustained in the win over the Raiders. He also continues to wear a shoulder brace to address likely instability from that injury. He continues to practice in full but there is continued concern that he will aggravate the injury with an ill-timed hit or fall. 

This is something that we will likely get much more information on after the season. This is an issue that will continue to be monitored as he appears on the injury report and continues to wear a brace. 

S Micah Hyde (Concussion)

Hyde worked through the concussion protocol this week following his massive hit on Jets WR Breshad Perriman. He was limited in practice Wednesday but fortunately, practiced in full on Thursday and Friday. Per reports, he has since cleared concussion protocol and will suit up for Sunday to give the secondary a huge boost in containing the Seahawks offensive weapons.

DT Quinton Jefferson (Knee)

This is Jefferson’s second week on the injury report with a knee ailment that originally occurred in the Jets game. There aren’t any specifics regarding what he’s dealing with, but he, like Winters, did have an ACL tear several years ago. It’s possible the grind of the NFL season is wearing on his joints and he is dealing with some generalized arthritic pain following the ACL tear. He played last week and I expect him to play again this week.

G Jon Feliciano (Pectoral tear)

Felicano played in every snap Sunday after missing the first 7 games of the season due to the pectoral tear suffered in training camp. I highly doubt this was the plan due to C Mitch Morse exiting the game with a concussion, but he was pressed into service. Feliciano did note that playing center allows him to stay more protected against future injury, but it doesn’t eliminate the possibility. 

I personally don’t like the idea of him playing 100% of snaps again, but he appears to be the best option at this time unless G Ryan Bates got up to speed to take snaps at center this week. He should be eased back in, but according to Feliciano, he is at 97% in regards to his recovery, so he may understand the risks involved and decide to play anyway. This will be something I watch for on Sunday with his playing time.

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

CB Josh Norman

LB Matt Milano* IR

RB Taiwan Jones

C Mitch Morse

RB TJ Yeldon

DE Daryl Johnson

TE Dawson Knox

The one upside to this game is that the Seahawks are even more injured than the Bills are. The team will be down both RB’s Chris Carson and RB Carlos Hyde. They will also be without their starting cornerback in Shaquill Griffin and starting guard Mike Iupati. They do note on their practice reports the term load management and resting vet, but most are still working through things. 

Looking at this game, I’m biased, I want the Bills to win, but this is a tough offense. Ideally, the defense steps up as it did against Kansas City despite the loss and slows down the Seahawks just enough that the Bills offense can stay ahead. The team also desperately needs this bye week in Week 11 to get right for the final stretch. 

While COVID did mess with our schedule, it did not result in a bye like the Titans and Steelers received in Week 4. That early bye week may come back to haunt those two likely playoff teams come January. The late bye may make the difference for the Bills. I can stomach a loss, but I would rather take a loss and avoid further injuries than win and lose more key pieces. Survive to fight another day and get to the bye week. This should be an entertaining game with the hopes that the Bills move to 7-2.

Top Photo Credit: BillsWire-USA Today

2020 Week 4 Bills Injury Preview- Raiders

What is going on with Ed Oliver’s knee? Will Zack Moss play Sunday?

The Bills are getting healthy. Despite the injury list being longer than we would all like, several players are set to return & several more are expected to play despite dealing with injury. While the Bills are not fully healthy, they are in a far better position than the Raiders as seen below who are missing many key contributors which may make the Bills job on Sunday far easier. Below are the Bills injuries heading into Sunday’s matchup.

OUT

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (left quadriceps)

Phillips will miss his 3rd straight game following a quadricep strain in the season opener. Originally, I could not find when this occurred but after further review, I found on the All-22 film that he suffered a quadricep strain with 6:48 left in the 2nd quarter on the kickoff following the Bills 3rd score. He ran down the field and appeared to strain his left quadricep, having difficulty slowing down, occasionally hopping it off.

Since then, he has not practiced with the exception of Thursday & Friday in which he was limited. He likely suffered a Grade 2 quadriceps strain which can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to recover based on the already established timeline. His status poses the question, why didn’t the Bills place him on IR since it is only 3 weeks now? That’s a good question. It’s possible that he was trending towards coming back sooner and had a setback or simply did not respond to rehab as expected.

While he only has 7 special teams snaps as a Bills to his name, the team clearly likes him and is keeping him around despite the ability to stash him on IR. I would need to see a string of full practices out of him before I could even consider him to play in a game.

QUESTIONABLE

DE Mario Addison (knee)

Nothing is known about Addison & his knee that popped up on Friday with a DNP. His status is officially questionable. There wasn’t anything in particular on film Sunday that suggested a knee injury. He did exit the game for cramping in what appeared to be his right leg, but this should not cause knee problems several days later.

He did have a knee injury back in 2017 that he didn’t miss any time with, but I do not believe this is connected nor do we know which side. It’s possible that he hurt his knee Thursday after practice, but any specifics are non-existent. I have to assume he doesn’t play based on the questionable diagnosis, but that guess is as good as flipping a coin and calling heads.

RB Zack Moss (toe)

Moss appears to be trending up from a toe injury sustained in the win over the Dolphins in Week 2. He likely suffered a turf toe injury which can be played through but does benefit from some time off. Fortunately, he’s not a bell cow back for the Bills and he can split carries with RB Devin Singletary and if needed, use RB TJ Yeldon like they did last week.

Moss will probably have a stiff sole and possibly tape to prevent excess movement at the big toe so that he can have that explosive first step. If he doesn’t play, then I expect him to be full-go for Week 5. Without more knowledge to sway either way, I’m leaning towards him playing.

ACTIVE

WR John Brown (calf/foot)

Brown continues to be limited with foot issues since the beginning of the season, adding in a calf strain from the Rams game that caused him to miss the 2nd half.

The foot is more of a pain issue and a nuisance more than anything. The calf strain can linger but if he took himself out Sunday in the second half as a precaution and was DNP Wednesday, limited Thursday, and full Friday, it’s likely that he is healed enough.

The team may also be conservative in his approach during practice due to the heat expected in Las Vegas. This could exacerbate a strain if he gets dehydrated, however, they are in a climate-controlled stadium which may neutralize that factor.

Brown also has sickle cell trait which could place his body under extra stress and pain if he overworks his body or becomes dehydrated. This is merely a factor the team has to account for but does not limit his abilities. Sean McDermott appeared fairly confident that Brown would be available Sunday which is a ringing endorsement from a coach who says very little.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds finally was able to practice in full following a shoulder injury in Week 1 that caused him to miss Week 2. He did return in Week 3 and was less than effective with a shoulder harness.

Another week of rest & rehab should do him well & he should improve his play. The hope is that he eventually ditches the shoulder harness which would support the AC joint sprain which makes more sense & is less severe than a labral tear. He’s not 100% yet, but I expect him to slowly continue to improve towards a Pro Bowl level. I will also be watching closely how he engages his tackles and if he accepts more hits to the right side.

TE Dawson Knox (concussion)

Knox is slated to play Sunday following a concussion in Week 2 that forced him to miss the Rams game. He has since practiced in full and only has to pass his independent neurological consult if he hasn’t already. He is at a higher risk to suffer another concussion since he has already had one but playing football, he’s at risk regardless.

T Dion Dawkins (right shoulder)

Dawkins took a hard spill on Sunday as the result of trying to avoid Rams CB Troy Hill, somersaulting over him and landing on his right shoulder. The hope is that this is a contusion and is more pain limiting. There is a possibility that he suffered a minor AC joint sprain, but Dawkins was fairly jovial and hanging around following the win Sunday while not appearing to favor the arm.

One benefit of this being his right shoulder is that he plays left tackle. He will have to engage his left arm more, blocking the defensive end around the edge, allowing Dawkins to keep the end in front of him. He will use his right arm, but he can get through the game a lot easier because of this. I really don’t expect much drop off in the quality of play Sunday.

S Micah Hyde (left ankle)

Hyde sprained his ankle going in for a blitz Sunday and rolled it engaging the Rams tackle. Low ankle sprains are painful but easily played through with bracing or tape. My only concern is if he continues to re-injure the area that he misses time. I’m not all that concerned about damage in the short term, it’s easy to manage, but he is an older player and continues to require occasional days off to recover.

DT Quinton Jefferson (foot)

Little is known about Jefferson other than that he’s an older player with a previous Jones fracture from last season. He did have foot soreness in the preseason and is dealing with this again. There are other possibilities such as the plantar fasciitis that John Brown could be dealing with or that Jefferson had his foot stepped on.

This is something that I’m aware of but not concerned about right now, but something to monitor as the season progresses. I will be looking for patterns on the injury report and if he begins to miss snaps/games. For Sunday, he will be good to go.

DT Ed Oliver (right knee)

Oliver’s knee injury appeared pretty innocuous during Week 2 when he attempted to trip the offensive player, getting hit directly at the knee and then hit on the shin.

He was limited Wednesday due to the knee continuing to bother him followed by a DNP Thursday. This sent out a lot of concern to the masses thinking he wouldn’t play, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network indicated that it was a bruise and that the knee was structurally sound. But considering the DNP’s on Wednesday, this was probably done to stagger all the various players out. He likely hyperextended the knee during the original hit which led to the brace, but overall it does mean that the knee is sound as the knee does have some leeway with extension.

However, this picture above began making the rounds late Friday evening which makes me believe something more is going on. Clicking on the picture below, you can see that there is a bandage of Oliver’s medial right knee. Considering this is the location that he was hit, I got to wonder if he got his knee drained due to excess swelling.

This is a common procedure and the knee would be drained in that area. This picture highlights how severe the bruising may actually be. If you compare the right versus left calf, you can also see less definition on the right calf as compared to the left which would further show overall swelling in the knee and lower leg. I reached out to several Bills fans who have greater expertise in those areas and supported my thoughts. Really appreciate their input!

I wouldn’t be surprised to see both a compression sleeve on the knee and hinge brace for support Sunday. This will be something to monitor in the coming weeks.

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

Norman is slated to return to the active roster following a 3-week stay due to a likely Grade 2 left hamstring strain suffered during the first week of real training camp. He appeared on the mend but had a setback at the end of August, forcing him out of practices prior to Week 1.

He has since returned to practice Wednesday and has not been on the injury report. As of publication, he has not been activated, but the Bills waived CB Cam Lewis, later re-signing him to the practice squad. Considering the position and roster move, it appears a foregone conclusion that Norman will make his debut with the team Sunday. I expect him to work into a split role with CB Levi Wallace to keep the Raiders off balance and to help him adjust to game speed.

Ideally, the time off helped reduce his risk to re-injure the hamstring, but it is not completely absolved. Hopefully, he can find the fountain of youth and rekindle some of his stellar play from his days in Carolina.

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm
DE Mario Addison
OL Ike Boettger
RB TJ Yeldon
TE Lee Smith
LB Del’Shawn Phillips

There doesn’t appear to be any surprises for the inactives, more personnel inactives than injuries besides Phillips & Addison. Based on my thoughts that Addison doesn’t play, that allows both DE Darryl Johnson & DE AJ Epenesa to get out there as they have been inactives in past weeks.

The Bills are far healthier heading into this game than the Raiders and I believe more talented. The injuries that we do have are on the mend which can help continue to develop depth in place until the starters are healthy. This is a game the Bills expect to win as they have much greater competition farther ahead, making each week more important than the last. Despite the early injuries, the rust appears to be shaken off and ideally, the quality of the defense continues to improve in order to support the hot start by the offense.

Top Photo Credit:

Chris Benoit Facebook/Nate Mendelson Twitter

DE Darryl Johnson Injury Profile

#92 Daryl Johnson
Position: DE
Height/Weight: 6’6/253 lbs.
College: North Carolina A&T
Year joined Bills: 2019
Acquired: 7th round draft selection

College Injuries:

No publicly reported injuries

Pro Injuries:

2019 Bills:

Neck strain, Week 2, missed 0 games

2020 Bills:

Knee injury, Week 8, missed 0 games.

Knee injury, Wild Card round, missed 1 game.

General links:

2020 Bills Injury Preview- Defensive End

Bills 2020 Training Camp Injury Preview: Defensive End

Will Hughes continue to stay healthy & productive?

This is Part 7 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 7 consists of the defensive end room.

Not Returning

DE Shaq Lawson 

15 games, 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 6.5 sacks, 32 combined tackles, 21 solo, 11 assisted, 13 TFL, 18 QB hits

Lawson finally had his breakout year after being drafted as a 1st round pick back in 2016 that forced the Bills to make a business decision on whether to keep him in 2020. Fortunately for Lawson, he was allowed to walk in where he signed a sizable contract with the rival Miami Dolphins in the hopes of building off his career year. 

He was able to have a stellar year by not having to deal with many injuries which was a stark change from previous seasons. In fact, his only injury was a left hamstring strain late in the Patriots loss just prior to the playoffs. He got up from celebrating a tackle for loss and appeared to tweak the hamstring. It appeared to be minor & forced him from the regular-season finale, but allowed him to play in the playoffs. For his sake, hopefully, he is able to continue to stay healthy & develop as a player. 

Players Returning

DE Jerry Hughes

16 games, 16 starts, 3 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, 4.5 sacks, 23 combined tackles, 14 solo, 9 assisted, 6 TFL, 9 QB hits

Jerry Hughes is a beast. Simply put, he is a player with a high motor and gives everything he has to the Bills in order to be the best. This includes playing through multiple injuries that would sideline most players. 

Below is Hughes injuries:

    • Right wrist ligament tears

Hughes suffered a right wrist injury early in training camp, possibly in the victory over the Panthers in the preseason. It wasn’t reported as much and he played the entire season with a cast/brace on the wrist, never appearing on the injury report.

Following the season, he announced that he had played through torn ligaments in the wrist which landed the Bills in hot water momentarily. They were cleared of any wrongdoing and Hughes eventually had surgery which was detailed here. He should be fully healthy for the season regarding his wrist. To read more on the wrist injury, check out the article at Banged Up Bills.

    • Ankle

He also suffered an ankle injury around the same time he suffered his wrist injury. He was limited briefly and the ankle was never mentioned again. It was also not known which side he suffered the injury.

    • Groin (core muscle injury)

Showing up on the injury report during Week 7 was a groin injury for Hughes. While groin injuries at his position are not abnormal, the fact that he played through a core muscle injury that later required surgery was. It is common to play through a core muscle injury and have it appear similar to a generalized groin strain. 

Likely, it did not heal up properly and during an exit physical, it was found and needed repair. Most core muscle injury repairs have excellent outcomes and he did get the procedure done at the Vincera Institute outside of Philadelphia where one of the nation’s doctors routinely performs these procedures. Like the wrist, the groin injury should be of no concern moving forward. 

    • Hamstrings

This injury was not listed on any injury reports nor was it a concern during the 2019 season. The only reason this was brought up was due to Hughes mentioning it in an Instagram post noting that his hamstrings were 100%.

He has had previous hamstring strains dating back several years, but none severe enough to have him miss a game. Most of the adductors that attach to the groin where Hughes had his core muscle surgery assist with lateral movement but the adductor magnus in that group has different parts of the muscle. One portion assists with flexion of the hip, the other assists with hip extension, the same motion that the hamstrings perform. 

adductor-magnus-muscle-plain-1
Credit: Yoganatomy.com

This is just a theory, but it’s possible that Hughes was having hamstring issues related to the core muscle injury by aggravating that muscle group during play. This would explain why he said the hamstrings are 100%. There is also the possibility that he did have a hamstring strain that he played through or suffered during the playoff loss to the Texans. 

Hughes is a lock to make the roster but all the years of playing through injury compounded with the demands of the position do concern me that he will begin to decline in production or be forced to end his iron man streak due to injury. 

DE Darryl Johnson 

16 games, 1 sack, 11 combined tackles, 6 solo, 5 assisted, 2 TFL, 2 QB hits

Rookie Darryl Johnson had a solid preseason that prevented the Bills from sneaking him onto the practice squad following cut down day. He made the roster as a 7th round pick and quickly found himself in the defensive end rotation early on. 

Unfortunately, that lack of experience playing in the NFL caught up with him and mistakes began to become apparent. He quickly lost playing time as the season progressed and more of his focus was on special teams. Thankfully, he did not suffer many known injuries which allowed him to get through the 16 game grind.

Below is Johnson’s known injuries:

    • Neck 

Johnson suffered a generalized neck strain/sprain during the win over the Giants back in Week 2. He completed a tackle and his neck was snapped forcefully backward as he was falling. He was attended to by trainers but never showed up on the injury report the following week. 

This appeared to be a minor injury and he didn’t appear limited the rest of the season injury-wise. While Johnson has an excellent shot to make the roster, his spot is far from guaranteed due to the talent brought in this offseason. 

DE Trent Murphy 

16 games, 16 starts, 5 sacks, 36 total tackles, 24 solo, 9 assisted, 9 QB hits

Murphy finally started to come around in 2019 after a trying 2018 in which he admittedly rushed back following his ACL tear when he was with the Redskins. While his numbers don’t exactly jump off the sheet, especially considering the money he is being paid, he is still an NFL-caliber defensive end. Fortunately for Murphy, he had significantly fewer injuries than 2018 which was a strong reason why his play improved.

Below is Murphy’s known injury history:

    • Concussion

Murphy suffered a concussion in the win over the Titans in Week 5. He was attempting to close in on a tackle before he received friendly fire, colliding with Bills LB Lorenzo Alexander. He was evaluated for a head injury and his day was done early in the 4th quarter. Thankfully, he did not miss any time due to the well-timed bye placement.

    • Left shoulder/neck

He suffered a left shoulder/neck injury during the Redskins game when he had a pile of bodies fall upon him when he got sucked into the middle of a routine run play. He required medical assessment in the blue tent but was able to return quickly, indicating it was not a big issue.

Murphy has a great shot at making the roster but has fallen out of favor with the fans due to lack of production when compared to the contact. Trading him would make the most sense, but due to the uncertainty of the upcoming season, he may be beneficial to hold onto in case of injury or poor play by a fellow defensive end. Healthwise, he should not have any major concerns outside of continued concussions which are a risk for everyone playing football. 

DE Mike Love

Spent 2019 on IR with a pectoral injury

Love had a strong end to 2018, appearing in 3 games and realizing his dream of playing in the NFL. 2019 training camp came and Love began to make a strong case why he should make the team out of training camp. Unfortunately, in the 2nd half of the Lions preseason game, Love partially tore his left pectoral attempting to make a special teams tackle. He was placed on IR prior to roster cut down day and had resulting surgery shortly afterward. With the uncertain future of both DE Shaq Lawson & Trent Murphy, it’s very possible that Love makes this squad next season as a key linchpin in the dominating defense. To read more on Love’s injury, check out Buffalo Rumblings.

New to the roster

DE Mario Addison

Addison continues the trend of Carolina Panthers coming up north to work with a familiar system & extend their careers. Addison is older & has been incredibly productive during his time in the league. There is hope that he continues that trend with the Bills as they look to replace Shaq Lawson. On top of that, Addison comes to the Bills relatively healthy with details found at Buffalo Rumblings.

DE Bryan Cox Jr.

Despite the name, Bryan Cox Jr isn’t the same athlete as his father was. A slew of collegiate injuries torpedoed his chances at getting drafted and Cox Jr has had his difficulties finding a consistent spot on a roster. His time with the Panthers allowed him to develop as a professional but he soon found himself on the street before signing with the Browns in 2019. 

Ideally, a new start with Buffalo will allow him to make the team & establish himself as a consistent option at defensive end as the position begins to turn over. To read more on his injuries, check out Banged Up Bills.

DE AJ Epenesa

Epenesa, the first pick for the Bills in the 2020 draft slid down to the 2nd round which provided Buffalo some value in the pick despite not having a first-round selection. He comes to the Bills as a highly regarded end who can demonstrate strong abilities to rush the passer but also move inside to provide pressure up the middle. In addition, Epenesa has virtually no injuries save for a broken leg in high school. To read up on his injury history, check out Buffalo Rumblings.

DE Johnathan Woodard

Woodard comes to Buffalo as possibly his last chance at finding an NFL home. He reportedly tore his Achilles during training workouts several years ago which certainly stunted his growth over time. He has bounced around from Jacksonville to Atlanta to Miami. He eventually stuck with Miami for 2 years before finding a home in Buffalo. For more information, check out this article at Banged Up Bills.

2020 Outlook

The returning talent along with new signings helps pave the way for turnover in the defensive end room. Most everyone comes with some sort of injuries, but the effectiveness of this unit will depend on the cohesiveness of the players along with Jerry Hughes’s health. There is also concern with Addison as he is getting older, entering his age-33 season. 

Hughes, Addison, Epenesa, and either Johnson or Murphy appear to be locked on this roster. If Johnson or Murphy fails to show the team their worth, there is a possibility one or the other could be looking for a new home quickly. Cox Jr, Woodard, & Love all have a shot to make the roster but will have to unseat Johnson or Murphy in order to make that happen. There are little injury concerns moving forward in 2020 with the exception of Jerry Hughes staying intact. If everyone stays healthy & available, this could be a very effective unit. 

Week 11 Bills Injury Review- Dolphins

How severe is Nsekhe’s injury?

Another week, another win. The Bills move to 7-3 on the season with a convincing win over the Miami Dolphins in Miami Sunday afternoon. This is the best start for the Bills since 1999 & 10th time in franchise history that they started 7-3, all previous Bills teams made the playoffs with varying degrees of success. While the Bills are continuing to march towards the postseason, they will be without a key contributor moving forward. This & other injuries will be detailed below. 

WR Isaiah McKenzie (left knee)

McKenzie suffered a left knee injury when he caught a pass going out of bounds with :55 left in the 2nd quarter. CB Nik Needham was close by but unable to break up the pass, instead falling & hitting McKenzie’s lower leg. It appeared to hyperflex his left knee, causing McKenzie to get up & limp off the field. 

Thankfully this was close to halftime where he was able to get some rest & get a quick assessment to ensure he could play in the 2nd half. This injury appeared to be minor & is not something I expect him to show up on the injury report with later this week.

S Siran Neal (concussion)

Neal suffered a concussion midway through the 2nd quarter on the kickoff with 7:41 left following Hauschka’s FG. Unfortunately, the video is not available yet as there was a touchback & the camera followed the ball & not the players. It was reported he was shaken up on the play, but once All-22 comes out, we may get a clearer view of what exactly happened. Neal enters the concussion protocol with no guarantee he is cleared for next Sunday. 

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe suffered a rather severe right ankle injury with 9:14 left in the 3rd quarter. This was a routine run play by Singletary up the middle when Nsekhe’s foot was caught from behind by Dolphins DE Avery Moss, landing on the back on Nsekhe’s heel, forcing the ankle to roll under the big man violently before his body caught up & he falls down in obvious pain. 

He was immediately placed into in an air cast & carted off, waving to fans but in significant discomfort. The result: a likely ankle dislocation with fibula fracture. There is a concern that he suffered a tibia fracture as well, but he may have spared the more significant bone due to the ankle rolling as much as it did before he fell over. 

300px-Fibula_Fracture
Credit: physio-pedia.com

According to Monday’s press conference, more tests were being performed on Nsekhe’s ankle with no definitive answer at this time. 

This could be for several reasons: 

  • The swelling may have been so great that imaging did not show the true extent of the damage.
  • There isn’t an actual break but significant ligament damage on the lateral portion of the ankle.
  • The Bills know exactly what is going on (they likely do) & are sitting on the info because they have no reason to release it until they feel they’re ready or can sign someone to replace his roster spot. 

images (1)
Credit: physiodirectnz.com

Looking at an alternative video angle from Thad Brown, there is the possibility that Nsekhe avoided a break but dealing with quite a severe inversion ankle sprain. He would have injured the anterior talofibular & calcaneofibular ligaments when Moss landed on his ankle. There is a slight chance he avoided a fracture due to observing the heel sliding out, relieving pressure off the fibula as he went down. 

The sheer fact that he was placed into an air cast & carted off without the ability to place weight through his leg isn’t ideal. His season is possibly done, heading to IR for surgery & rehab if my original suspicions are confirmed. I am not certain but if you go on NFL Gamepass & watch the replay, it appears as though the snap of the bone is audible. I’ve played it multiple times in a row. 

This may be a similar injury to what LB Matt Milano suffered last season. if so, a recovery timeline for Nsekhe would be 6-9 months with my guess being closer to 8-9 months. There are several factors including: 

  • Nsekhe is 34 years old, Milano was 24 during his injury.
  • Nsekhe is 6’8”, 325 lbs. Milano is 6’0”, 225 lbs. 
  • Nsekhe’s bones are thicker & are required to accept more weight than Milano’s, requiring a longer healing time & associated recovery.

While 34 is still a youthful age, it is getting up there when it comes to the NFL. Nsekhe can & should make a full recovery, but considering the mileage on his body, it’ll be interesting to see whether he is able to return to full form in order to compete for a roster spot next year. He should be close to, if not fully ready for training camp & should be able to participate in OTA’s in 2020. He is clearly a talented player, the Bills have him under contract for another year, it may come down to how he looks in camp.

For the interim, OT Cody Ford slides into the starting role he has alternated with Nsekhe all season. OT Ryan Bates will likely move to back Ford up. Once Nsekhe moves to IR, the team may elect to fill his roster spot with practice squad players OT Brandon Hitner or OT Victor Salako. The other option is to find a street free agent or another player off another team’s practice squad. Either way, GM Brandon Beane already has a preliminary plan in place. 

Other observations from today’s game injury-wise include noting Nsekhe’s replacement OT Cody Ford is still wearing a hinged elbow brace with a compression sleeve on the left elbow from the injury in the Eagles game. Each week he wears this brace further confirms that he suffered some type of injury to the UCL ligament in the right elbow & the brace provides protection as the ligament heals. 

Other injury news to note is that DE Jerry Hughes was active & played his usual snap count, highest among the DL group. I had originally stated that Hughes would miss the game & I was wrong. While I did not observe every single snap, he did not appear to be compensating or limited. This also creates the thought that the team is not sold on rookie DE Darryl Johnson. While no one expects that Johnson can be an effective player such as Hughes, it shows that an injured Hughes is still better than a healthy Johnson. 

The loss is Nsekhe is going to hurt. While he is older, he showed the ability to play very well with the offensive unit. Ford is able to step in & contribute, but his play has been marred by penalties & inconsistent play. He will suffice, but the quality of play at the position will suffer. However, the Bills are 7-3 & even with a 3-3 finish to the season will give the Bills double-digit wins for the first time this millennium. The Bills are still very much in control of their destiny & can make noise in the playoffs if they played like they did Sunday.

Week 11 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Will Hughes be able to go Sunday?

Going into 2019, we all felt that this Bills team was something special. This team was built through the draft in addition to key free-agent acquisitions, & hidden gems in UDFA’s. Along with a talented coaching staff leading the team to 6-3, there has not been enough credit given to the Bills training staff. Check out the tweet below from Wednesday in regards to the difference a month makes. Back at the beginning of October prior to the Titans game, the Bills had 12 players dealing with injury with 7 ruled questionable & 2 ruled out. 

What a difference a month makes.

Heading into Week 11 against the Dolphins, the injury report is minimal with only DE Jerry Hughes & TE Dawson Knox on the injury report. 

QUESTIONABLE

DE Jerry Hughes (groin)

Hughes was a surprise addition to the injury report Thursday with a groin injury in which he was limited in practice. It has since been confirmed that he re-aggravated the injury Thursday but this is something that has been lingering from before. What we don’t know is when he sustained the original injury as I went back in my records & did not find any instance where he was down on the ground or missed any time during games. He has since been designated as questionable & is a true 50/50 shot to play. Between getting treatment daily & getting down in the warm Florida weather may do good for Hughes. 

A reminder for the importance of the groin muscles: they assist with running, jumping, cutting, side shuffling, basically all motions required to bend around the edge in the case of a defensive end. Depending on the side of the groin pull, this could affect how he lines up & how effective he is throughout the game.

However, I could see him missing as this is a game that can be potentially won without him. The injury was Thursday; even 2 days of intense rehab interventions & rest may not be enough to be ready for Sunday. He’ll be a true game-time decision with myself leaning towards that he misses out of precaution. If he misses, we could see a re-emergence of rookie DE Darryl Johnson as a depth option.

TE Dawson Knox (knee)

Knox found his way onto the injury report Thursday with what HC Sean McDermott noted as “knee soreness”. It was expected that he was to return to practice Friday and that is nothing to be concerned about. I tend to want to believe what this coaching staff says, they have been fairly honest, but if it’s that minor, then why is it showing up on the injury report? 

He did have a left fractured foot and meniscus repair during his sophomore year at Ole Miss which required surgery, but there isn’t any certainty that it is the same knee or any relation to what is going on this week. 

The only other possibility is “load management”. Those dreaded words are seen commonly in today’s NBA circles. Knox may be hitting a proverbial wall & needs an occasional day off as he is progressing through his first NFL season. I think as he adjusts to the professional schedule, he will adapt, but the team clearly wants to avoid overuse injuries to their future assets. 

Possible Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ryan Bates

S Dean Marlowe

DE Jerry Hughes

DT Vincent Taylor

RB T.J. Yeldon

As the Bills travel down to Miami, the temperature will be drastically different from the mid-teens & low 20’s felt in Buffalo after the most recent snowstorm. Miami will be a balmy 77 degrees on Sunday. Considering the temperature will be considerably higher, hydration will be a key factor in staying healthy. As the temperature increases, the body sweats more in order to help keep itself cool. The team will have to focus on hydration & ensure that all players have a good warmup to get the muscles loose & ready. 

This is a game that we could see some strains if dehydration & muscle fatigue set in during the 2nd half. The Bills are certainly healthy enough & in shape enough to overcome some injuries, but losing players to strains once the cool weather returns won’t help down this difficult stretch. The Dolphins always play the Bills tough, no matter the year, but this could be a bounce-back game for the offense to get on the same page in order to show the NFL that they can hack it. This won’t be an easy win, but hopefully, a win that can move the Bills to 7-3 before they hit the vital portion of their schedule.

Top Photo Credit

Forbes.com

 

Week 2 Bills Injury Review- Giants

Will this week’s injuries affect the Week 3 matchup against the Bengals?

Another Sunday, another game, another win! The Bills move to 2-0 on the season with a complete 28-14 win over the New York Giants. The game was never really a contest with the exception of when the Giants scored first for which the Bills answered with 21 points. Like last week, injuries remained at a minimum. Below are the injuries in Sunday’s win. 

As expected, WR Andre Roberts (quad), CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring) & TE Tyler Kroft (foot) all did not play Sunday. Roberts & Johnson are still dealing with the respective injuries that have held them out of practice all week. It’s possible both can return but will have to practice in full this week to have a chance. Kroft continues to trend in the right direction; he should be ready Week 3. 

 

RB Frank Gore (head)

The veteran back took a hard shot to his head and right shoulder which led to a trip to the blue injury tent with a minute left in the 1st quarter. He was evaluated for a concussion in which he was cleared. He shouldn’t have any lasting issues and considering how long he has played, he understands what he needs to do to recover this week, likely with a veteran rest day. 

 

OT Ty Nsekhe (knee) 

Nsekhe suffered what appeared to be a left knee injury midway through the 2nd quarter. The play that he was injured on appeared to have him slip and possibly cause a contusion to the area. He was able to sit out briefly before continuing the established rotation between him and rookie Cody Ford. Nsekhe did deal with a knee “tweak” during the preseason but this is likely unrelated. Something to watch but not much thought should be put into this. 

 

DE Darryl Johnson (neck) 

The rookie end suffered a neck/upper back injury late in the 3rd quarter. He was attempting to complete the tackle and had his neck snapped back before falling to the ground. He was tended to the trainers before able to walk off under his own power. Later, he was observed having his neck assessed by one of the medical staff before returning to the game. 

He likely suffered a generalized neck sprain that appears to be mild at best. He may be dealing with more soreness and limited range of motion in the following days but as long as he keeps the area loose, then he should be alright for next week. He may deal with other issues later on but more information would need to be known before discussing further. Right now, at worst he misses 1 game.

 

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

The shifty back suffered a left hamstring strain following a run to the outside late in the 4th quarter. He took a hard step with his left leg and hobbled out of bounds with obvious limping back across the field. Considering the heat and fatigue, either cramping or a mild Grade 1 hamstring strain is the culprit. He was ruled out for the rest of the game but considering the game was nearly finished, it was a smart move. 

Considering this is a hamstring, it’s unknown how long he’ll be out. HC Sean McDermott noted that he is day-to-day at Monday’s press conference. If this was truly cramping, he shouldn’t have any issues and be able to practice in full for the week to play on Sunday. If this is a true hamstring strain, it could be anywhere from 1-3 games he could be out. The hamstring can tighten up overnight, limiting him more than the original injury did Sunday. However, Wednesday & Thursday’s practice will be a true litmus test for Singletary to whether he suits up Sunday. 

 

Overall, the Bills should have several players return from injury & if Singletary is unable to go, Gore & Yeldon will carry the load. As the season progresses, the slowly cooling temperatures will only help with the early season strains and dehydration issues. However, the temperature for Sunday’s game is predicted to be at 82 F, which doesn’t help at all. This team continues to show excellent depth to overcome these injuries and move to 3-0 over the Bengals. 

Buffalo Bills Draft Recap

Analyzing the newest Bills draft picks and their injury histories including where they may end up after training camp.

The 2019 NFL draft has come and gone! Like a speeding train, you could hear and see it from a mile away, louder and louder as it neared, then gone as quickly as it came! Aboard that speeding train was a bounty of draft picks that have nearly filled out the Bills roster as the off-season continues. Today’s post will briefly review the players selected, their injury history, and where I believe they may end up at the end of training camp.

The Bills 1st round draft choice was DT Ed Oliver out of Houston. The junior defensive tackle was a 3x All American which demonstrates how special of a talent he was entering the draft. Regarding his injury history, he was relatively healthy throughout his career at Houston before suffering a knee injury in the game against Navy during this most recent season. As a result, he missed 4 games with what was described as a bruised knee. He was able to come back but reportedly wasn’t himself. Still, he was able to garner another AA nod and he was ready to cash in. The bruised knee is not something I am concerned about and it did not come up in the draft process indicating that this is a moot point. He should be a Day 1 starter and make noise his rookie year.

2nd round draft choice OL Cody Ford out of Oklahoma was the Bills top Day 2 pick.  The big lineman out of the midwest helped block for 2 Heisman winners and was the recipient of the Joe Moore award, given to the nation’s top offensive line group.  Reviewing his injury history, 2016 saw him play 3 games before suffering a broken fibula, causing him to miss the rest of the season. 2017 saw him miss 2 games with undisclosed injuries for which I was unable to find specific information. He avoided injury in 2018 and as a result, was highly sought after in the draft, falling to the Bills at pick 38. The previous injuries are not concerning as broken bones typically heal well and are unlikely to become chronic issues. Like Oliver, Ford should be a Day 1 starter and shore up the offensive line.

3rd round draft choice RB Devin Singletary out of Florida Atlantic was the 74th overall pick by the Bills. Looking at his injury history, there does not appear to be any concerns during his time at FAU. He appeared to stay healthy which would explain his insane level of production of 714 attempts for 4,287 yards and 66 TD’s over his career. While he was productive, there is a concern about how much tread is left on the tires despite his youthful age. Singletary will see the field during his rookie year, but he will not be the feature back which will allow him to acclimate to the game and avoid some of the wear and tear he’s had the past few years. Expect him to make the roster, but see minimal playing time unless there is a shake-up at the RB position.

3rd round draft choice TE Dawson Knox out of Ole Miss was the Bills 2nd pick in the 3rd round, 96th overall. Similar to Singletary, Knox has a limited injury history outside of a dislocated ankle during his senior season in high school. The ankle should not give him any issues as it has been several years since the original injury. One reason he may have been able to avoid injury in college was due to the fact that he only had 39 receptions for 605 yards and 0 TD’s. The lack of production is worrisome, but considering how WR Robert Foster performed last year despite a lackluster performance at Alabama, Knox’s numbers do not worry me. In fact, I believe he may exceed his career stats in his rookie year if he manages to secure a starting spot on the offense. Knox should make the 53 man roster with playing time available with a strong training camp.

(Note: after finding more information regarding Knox, it was later discovered that he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot along with a torn meniscus later in the 2017 season, both which required surgery. Both are concerning injuries as stress fractures are overuse injuries and the meniscus act as shock absorbers in the knee. There is potential for future complications but considering he made it through the 2018 season without apparent complications, this is a good indicator moving forward.)

5th round draft choice LB Vosean Joseph out of Florida is the next man up. The versatile linebacker was taken with the 147th overall pick and also demonstrated a propensity to avoid injury during his time as a Gator. He appeared in every game the past 2 seasons in Florida and showed ability on both the defensive side of the ball and on special teams. There has been talking that he could be a solid replacement for LB Lorenzo Alexander upon his retirement. Joseph will be another depth piece going into the regular season, earning playing time on special teams with the chance to get back up play as injuries occur.

6th round draft choice S Jaquan Johnson out of Miami was the 181st pick on Day 3. Johnson, like most others in this article, has minimal injury concerns, only missing 2 games during his senior season due to a right hamstring strain. Considering his position, these types of soft tissue injuries do occur but this does not appear to be a chronic issue, unlike other individuals around the league. Johnson also appears versatile and may make the roster as a depth piece behind S Jordan Poyer & S Micah Hyde, possibly seeing playing time if either goes down injured.

7th round draft choice DL Darryl Johnson out of North Carolina A&T makes his way to the Bills as the 225th overall pick. Like many others on this list, Johnson has no known injury history. He did have an injury senior year of high school that cost him scholarship opportunities but he was still able to receive an offer from NC A&T, allowing him to play well enough to be a draft selection. While there is the opportunity for him to make the roster with the turnover on the defensive line, he will most likely see the practice squad barring injury in training camp.

The final pick for the Bills in the 2019 NFL Draft was TE Tommy Sweeney out of Boston College. The 228th overall draft choice comes to the Bills without injury concern. During his time at BC, he proved to be durable, appearing in every possible game while in college. Sweeney is another player that could be destined for the practice squad, however, with the uncertainty at the TE position, it is possible he could sneak onto the roster with the right circumstances falling his way.

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