2020 Week 10 Bills Injury Review- Cardinals

Is Brown and Jackson alright? What’s going on with Morse?

The football gods giveth, they also taketh. The Hail Mary pass from Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins was truly something else. Those are the kind of plays that demonstrate why the Cardinals traded for him and gave him a big contract extension. I understand he isn’t making those plays week in and week out, but to know you’re never out of a game because a player like him can’t be discounted. Bills fans saw the exact same thing with Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs for the go-ahead touchdown just moments before. 

The loss sucks, but sometimes that’s just how things are. For every loss like the Cardinals, we can get a win as we did against the Rams. The Bills are still 7-3 heading into a much needed and deserved bye week with the ability to get a lot of key players back very soon and others to get healthy. I understand that after years of suffering through the drought, we want every win, we want the ability to leave no doubt in our minds who is the better football team in the NFL. I would also rather take this loss now and have a deep postseason run when compared to the Ravens 14-2 record last year and getting bounced in the divisional round of the playoffs. 

As we head into the bye week, there are several new injuries to monitor that may impact the injury report next week.

DE AJ Epenesa (Concussion)

Epenesa missed the second half of the game due to a concussion possibly sustained with 3:32 left in the 2nd quarter when he took down Kyler Murray from behind to set up 4th down. The play below shows how Epenesa attempted to knock the ball out of Murray’s hand as he took him down, regrettably slamming his head into the turf. He stood up quickly and appeared to be momentarily unsteady before walking off to the sideline motioning to his head. 

He was quickly taken to the locker room for further evaluation of a head injury where he was later ruled out with a concussion. He will enter concussion protocol as does every other NFL player, but time will tell how long it will take him to return. According to what I could find from his injury analysis this summer, this is Epenesa’s first publicly documented concussion. 

There is potential he could move through the protocol quickly, but no guarantees either. Fortunately, he has the bye to work through things to get right for the Chargers game.

CB Dane Jackson (right knee)

Jackson went down with a right knee injury tackling Christian Kirk in the 3rd quarter. He completed the tackle and rolled over, holding his right knee. It’s still not clear what he did to the knee even on the film below. I had initially thought he suffered a hamstring strain as he extended his leg out to grab Kirk, but I’m not certain that is the case. 

It’s very possible he hit the knee on the ground as both he and Kirk were falling. There is also the possibility that Jackson got a cleat to his knee, though slowing down the film, I personally couldn’t see anything. Jackson was observed later on the exercise bike appearing to keep the knee loose to prevent any potential swelling which also dissuades me from considering a hamstring. 

Jackson did return in the final moments of the game as DeAndre Hopkins caught the game-winner. Either Jackson gutted it out because the coaching staff knew he was the best option over Daryl Worley or the injury wasn’t as significant as originally thought. I am going to go with the latter in this case. 

I am also not certain that Jackson will show up on the injury report next week for two reasons. While he is continued to be used as a regular call up or COVID replacement call up, he is not officially on the active roster. Practice squad players are not placed on the regular injury report released through the week. Sometimes they are acknowledged as former Bills offensive lineman Evan Boehm was earlier this season, but I do not believe the team has any obligation to publicly release these details. 

If Jackson gets signed to the open roster spot available due to Del’Shawn Phillips going to IR, then Jackson could be on the injury report. I also don’t believe that the injury is serious enough without more information to determine that he will be on the report.

WR John Brown (right ankle)

Brown suffered yet another lower-body injury, this time on a 24-yard catch midway through the 4th quarter. The play was ultimately negated due to a Brian Winters holding penalty, but Brown made a great catch before coming down hard on his right ankle. Per Sean McDermott, Brown tweaked his ankle.

In the video below, you can clearly see that Brown lands on the right foot, the ankle bows inward before the rest of Brown’s momentum drags him down to the turf, lifting his heel up off the ground before being officially downed.

I had initially thought of an MCL sprain due to how he fell and the valgus angle with the knee pointing inward as he fell, but his medial ankle took the brunt of the injury it appeared. From the video alone, it looks to be a medial eversion ankle sprain, similar to what Tre’Davious White suffered last week. I would say this one was more severe when comparing the two, but Brown may have escaped a worse fate.

When the ankle bows out like that, there isn’t a lot of room for the ankle to move outward, potentially leading to a fracture of the lateral malleolus. However, Brown was able to walk around later under his own power on the sidelines indicating that not to be the case and the fact that the team said he tweaked the ankle. Right now, it seems as though he suffered a medial eversion ankle sprain and may need some time to rehab. 

Thankfully he has the bye next week to allow him at least a full week off to allow for healing. There’s potential that he shows up on the injury report with the ankle injury, but we will have to wait and see. At worst, there is the possibility that he misses 1-2 games which include the Chargers and 49ers games which appear winnable without him. However, there is also a very good chance he suits up against the Chargers and plays if the injury is mild. Next week will tell us much more.

Other injury thoughts:

DT Justin Zimmer (right elbow)

I bring Zimmer up because I noted that he had a hinged brace on his right elbow that I had not noted before Sunday’s game. Looking back at game footage, he has had a brace on the area going back to Week 7 against the Jets. The reason it wasn’t noticeable then was due to the fact that he would wear a sleeve over the area or had a long sleeve shirt on, downplaying the brace.

Prior to the hinged braced, he was wearing a compression sleeve on the area in the Chiefs game. If he had suffered an injury, it’s not publicly known and he still appears to be playing well. I have seen a lot of linemen wearing various bracing on their arms and legs to likely manage general complaints and provide some stability to the area as they play. 

C Mitch Morse (concussion)

Morse did not play despite being active for Sunday’s contest. It was termed as coach’s decision by Sean McDermott. Jon Feliciano played the entire game at center in his place. There are some possible theories that I have behind why Morse ultimately did not play that I will address below.

Due to several other injuries and open roster spots, Morse may not have had the ability to be a healthy scratch. However, they could have scratched Morse and had Cody Ford active and not play. They have had injured players active before and not play.

The Bills may have also wanted Jon Feliciano to get more reps at the center position as he acclimates back to game action. McDermott did state that they are going week-to-week with offensive lineup combinations and wanted to get another look at them. But Feliciano is better suited at the guard position from what we’ve seen.

His risk to sustain another concussion following this most recent one is higher, but I have not found an exact number that says a person is at X% more likely to suffer another concussion within X days/weeks from the last one after full recovery. He’s at greater risk to suffer another concussion, just like he was prior to the latest head injury. I also see this study and say it has some value, but the research is nearly 20 years old, I do question how accurate it is now.

There has been speculation that Morse needed extra rest and to use the bye along with not playing in order to make sure he’s healthy. Looking at the NFL return to play concussion protocol, from my interpretations, once you pass through the NFL concussion protocol, you are cleared for play. There isn’t any gray area when it comes to this decision. Either you are cleared or not. Extra rest would not necessarily reduce his risk even further.

There are concerns for second-impact syndrome and post-concussive symptoms. I can say with some confidence that neither are in play here. If he was to have the second-impact syndrome, that would imply that he was not fully healthy as he tried to return. That would go against how the protocol’s purpose. The same thing goes for the post-concussive syndrome. If he was still having symptoms, he doesn’t pass through the protocol. Even if he suffered another concussion in warmups, they would have reported it, similar to when Quinton Spain had his foot soreness as a surprise inactive.

The only reason I can consider is that Morse is a veteran player, I am sure he is dealing with the effects of a physical season and it’s possible that McDermott wanted to give him the day off to preserve him for the playoff push. Not allowing Morse to play also eliminates a chance to sustain another concussion or injury in general. However, if a player is healthy enough to play, he was per the concussion protocol, then he should have played. I don’t believe Morse was benched either.

Bottom line, he was deemed healthy per the concussion protocol, he should have played based on that logic. If McDermott wanted to give him the game off, then he probably should have made him a healthy scratch, they have done that in other games for other players when it did not matter. If they wanted to avoid Morse suffering a further injury, then you inactivate him. Extra rest from a head injury could make sense, but not when applying it to the NFL concussion protocol.

Overall, the Bills head into a much-deserved bye week with the ability for most of the team to address some of their injuries as they prepare for the final stretch. There are a lot of injuries to fix along with a lot of game strategies including the anemic run game. Hopefully, there is more news that comes out regarding these injuries and more over the next week and the injury report will be something to watch with regards to how many players are on it and who is on it. I hope the Bills enjoy their week off as they prepare for the final stretch of the season.

Top Photo Credit: DraftKings Nation

OT Evan Boehm Injury Profile

#64 Evan Boehm

Position: OL
Height/Weight: 6’3”/321 lbs.
Age: 26
College: Missouri
Year joined Bills: 2020
Acquired: Free Agency via Dolphins

College Injuries:

2012 Freshman season:

No publicly reported injuries.

2013 Sophomore season:

No publicly reported injuries.

2014 Junior season:

No publicly reported injuries.

2015 Senior season:

High ankle sprain, missed 0 games.

Pro Injuries:

2016 Cardinals:

No publicly reported injuries.

2017 Cardinals:

No publicly reported injuries.

2018 Rams/Colts:

No publicly reported injuries.

2019 Dolphins:

Nagging hip injury, Week 9, missed 0 games.

Ankle injury, Week 15, missed 1 game.

2020 Bills:

Placed on practice squad injury list, Week 2.

General links:

Buffalo Rumblings Evan Boehm Injury Profile

Bills 2020 Training Camp Injury Preview: Center/Guard

Will Morse, Spain, & Feliciano stay healthy in 2020?

This is Part 6 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 6 consists of the center/guard room.

Players Returning

C Mitch Morse

16 games, 16 starts, 908 snaps, 2 holding penalties

Like most of the other players on the offensive line, Morse is quite tough, not letting most injuries get him down. The Bills free-agent prize of 2019 had high expectations coming to him following a solid career in Kansas City. Regrettably, he brought with him some notable injuries including a long history of concussions. That history continued to follow him to Buffalo along with some other smaller issues that thankfully did not cost him anytime.

Below is Morse’s known injuries:

    • Concussion

Morse suffered a concussion on a rather innocuous hit early in training camp. The time spent in the concussion protocol was extended due to his extensive previous injury history. As a result, he missed the entire preseason and all the contests as he slowly worked his way through the protocol. 

Towards the end of the preseason, it was revealed that Morse cleared the concussion protocol just prior to the cut-down day and was cleared for the regular season. There is the thought that the team purposely did not rush him through the protocol to ensure that he was fully healthy, but that also meant that he was not allowed to speak to the media while in the protocol, thereby reducing the stress of coming to a new team.

    • Right ankle

Morse suffered a right ankle injury when RB Frank Gore kicked him by accident as he ran up the middle in the 2nd quarter of the Titans game. He played a few more snaps that game before sitting out the entire 2nd half as Feliciano took over center duties. Considering all the injuries the Bills were dealing with prior to the bye, they did not want to risk the health of a starting offensive lineman. 

    • Right 5th digit hand

This injury was the result of engaging his Broncos defender before falling down to the turf, landing on his right hand. He came up grabbing the pinky area running to the sidelines. He was observed on the sidelines the rest of the afternoon with the finger buddy taped to the ring finger, even practicing snapping with QB Matt Barkley. Due to the Bills taking care of business, Morse was once again not needed for the rest of the game. 

    • Right ankle

Morse once again suffered a right ankle injury, this time when Patriots DE John Simon fell on the back of his foot late in the 4th quarter during the second meeting with New England. He was assessed by trainers and did not return to the game despite the Bills still having a shot to win the game. It was later reported that had the Bills had another drive, he would have been able to return which indicated that the injury was not severe. 

Overall, Morse was relatively healthy once he got past his preseason concussion. The finger and ankle injuries are just a byproduct of the position he plays and is not concerning moving forward into 2020. Morse has had 4 documented concussions and there is a concern for a fifth. Looking back at the article from Buffalo Rumblings, players who suffer 3 or more concussions are 3x more likely to suffer another one. Morse is in that danger zone; hopefully, the augmented training camp may reduce his chances for a 5th head injury. 

G/C Jon Feliciano

16 games, 16 starts, 947 snaps, 2 holding, 2 false starts, 1 fumble recovery

Feliciano truly is a warrior. He started all 16 games, was called upon multiple times to play center when Mitch Morse went down and overall was a mauler. He quickly established himself as an anchor at the guard position which really helped solidify the line to ensure consistency. Through all this, he played with multiple injuries that would sideline most players.

Feliciano’s injuries below:

    • Left shoulder rotator cuff tear

Feliciano went down with a left shoulder injury at the Bills home scrimmage at the beginning of August last year. He was done with the practice for the night and at the time, it was not known what he was dealing with. It appeared to be minor and it quickly became a non-issue.

Fast forward to January following the playoff loss, it was revealed that he suffered a rotator cuff tear which required surgery to repair. It’s quite possible to play through a partially torn rotator cuff but the pain at times would be incredibly difficult to manage. According to this most recent video on Twitter, this is confirmation that Feliciano is fully healthy & ready for training camp. This likely indicates that he had the partially torn rotator cuff & he should not be limited in any way.

    • Neck

He suffered what appeared to be a whiplash injury during the 1st quarter of the Bengals game where he got hit from the side by Bengals DT Geno Atkins and slammed into Mitch Morse. He finished the 2-pt conversion before ending his day, getting downgraded to out. He was observed leaving the stadium in a neck brace which worried some people but he ended up getting through practice and playing against the Patriots the next week.

    • Right lower leg

This injury was the result of friendly fire, courtesy of Dion Dawkins falling on Feliciano when he was attempting to make a tackle off the interception thrown by Josh Allen. He did not miss a snap following a defensive play series and was able to return to finish the game. 

Feliciano is yet another lock to make this roster but the big question mark will be whether he will be 100% with his rotator cuff repair. I am leaning towards him being ready to go due to having access to excellent medical care along with the injury likely a partial thickness tear. If he is not ready for training camp, he will be afforded the time to get his shoulder into shape for the regular season.

G Quinton Spain 

16 games, 16 starts 1063 snaps, 2 holding, 2 fumble recoveries

Spain became a valuable contributor to the Bills offensive line, far outplaying his one-year contract. Fortunately, the Bills rewarded him with a 3-year deal following the offseason, ensuring that he will be with the team for the foreseeable future. Along with stellar play, Spain was fairly healthy throughout the season, allowing the offensive line to remain consistent.

Spain’s injuries below:

    • Thumb surgery/ankle contusion/foot soreness

These injuries are lumped together due to occurring all within a short timeframe during training camp & OTA’s. Spain had injured his thumb severely enough that it required surgery which limited him during OTA’s. At the time, I had thought he either suffered a skier’s thumb injury in where the UCL ligament tore or if he suffered a fracture which required surgery to reset the bone. He was eventually able to be ready for training camp & did not have any known issues moving forward.

His foot soreness was reported early on in training camp but did not appear to be much of an issue as he was still playing through it. He suffered an ankle contusion as the result of RB Frank Gore stepping/kicking Spain during a routine play in the preseason and was, unfortunately, a victim of friendly fire. 

    • Foot

Spain showed up later on the injury report with a foot designation following the win over the Dolphins in the first game, though little was known what caused his issue. There wasn’t any mechanism of injury and this did not appear to be a chronic issue requiring multiple weeks on the injury report. 

Spain will make the roster in 2020 and he appears to be in even better shape than last season as evidenced by the picture below. He should continue to make an impact at the position and as long as he stays healthy like he did last season, he will be able to make another significant difference in the offense.

G/C Spencer Long

14 games, 174 snaps

Long, a six-year NFL veteran saw a considerable drop in his snaps compared to his previous seasons playing for the Jets & Redskins due to the presence of C Mitch Morse. He only got considerable playing time in 3 games with most of his other playing time on special teams. Despite the limited playing time, he still suffered several injuries.

Long’s injuries below:

    • Right knee

Long was limited early in training camp with what the team described as “knee soreness”. He had a compression sleeve & a hinged knee brace while on the bike. He may have suffered a minor knee sprain but he has also had previous knee issues dating back to his time with the Redskins. It was not something that appeared to limit him as the season progressed.

    • Ankle

He suffered an ankle injury late in the week prior to the first Patriots game which ultimately caused him to miss the game. During this timeframe, the team was dealing with a variety of injuries, and having Long out did not help things. It was not known which side he injured or how he suffered the injury.

Long was otherwise fairly available but got most of his snaps at guard due to the emergence of Jon Feliciano playing at center as needed. Long has a great shot at making the roster but if he is not in the team’s plans, the Bills can move on from him with a minimal financial penalty. 

G Ike Boettger

2 games, 54 snaps

Boettger continues to be a depth piece on this offensive line where he has been too good to expose to the practice squad, but not good enough to get meaningful playing time. Only appearing in 54 snaps all season with a majority of his time in the regular-season finale. He did not suffer any known injuries during his limited play. 

Considering he knows the playbook & has continuity in the room, he has a shot at making the roster or could be a valuable trade asset especially in the abnormal training camp of 2020.

New to the roster

G Marquel Harrell

Coming from Auburn, Harrell demonstrated the ability to play against elite competition in the SEC. He also comes to Buffalo with his health intact which may play into his favor as he attempts to make the roster. His injury history is detailed here at Banged Up Bills. He has a long way to make this roster, but Brandon Beane’s ability to identify talent may land him on the practice squad or a roster spot down the line as the front office has been known to bring back talent as it’s needed. 

G Evan Boehm

Boehm is a well-traveled man who has suffered a variety of injuries during his various stops in the league. He demonstrates versatility playing at both guard and center which may help him find a spot on the roster, especially if injuries occur. Read his injury history at Buffalo Rumblings

2020 Outlook

A lot will be riding on the health of Morse, Spain, & Feliciano, all locks to make the roster. All had outstanding play despite dealing with various injuries. If one of them goes down, there is depth at the tackle position that could move over to guard or a reserve lineman could step up to play until the starter returns. 

Along with the three previously mentioned locks, I see the possibility of either Boettger or Boehm making the roster, Long as a possibility, though he could be an excellent trade piece as Feliciano has shown how good he is when asked to fill in at center. Harrell is a long shot and may find himself on the practice squad, especially if the rosters get expanded due to the pandemic. This is a strong group of players that could make or break the effectiveness of the firepower at the offensive skill positions. 

Buffalo Bills & NFL Draft Recap

Recapping the past two months worth of work for your reading pleasure.

Hey there Bills fans! After a long hiatus at Banged Up Bills, I am back with content as we continue to navigate this offseason during the pandemic. As I had said in a previous article, I would only be posting if there was breaking news. During that time, I had been feverishly working with Cover 1 writing up injury draft analysis. I have also been writing up injury reviews for Buffalo Rumblings post draft for our newest Buffalo Bills. 

As I write for my own site, Cover 1, & Buffalo Rumblings, it can be hard to track all the work I did unless you scour the Twitter feed on the side of the webpage. So to make it easy, below are all the newest Bills draft picks and free-agent signings for your reading pleasure. I have also included all my Cover 1 articles, two of the current Bills in Trey Adams & Zack Moss. 

Buffalo Rumblings 

DE A.J. Epenesa 

RB Zack Moss 

WR Gabriel Davis 

QB Jake Fromm

K Tyler Bass

WR Isaiah Hodgins

CB Dane Jackson

S Garrett Taylor

OT Trey Adams

FB Reggie Gilliam

 

Free Agent Signings

OL Garrett McGhin

OL Evan Boehm

CB E.J. Gaines

OT Daryl Williams

DT Vernon Butler

DE Mario Addison

DT Quinton Jefferson

LB Tyler Matakevich

LB A.J. Klein

WR Stefon Diggs

RB Taiwan Jones

CB Josh Norman

 

Cover 1

QB Tua Tagovailoa

EDGE Anfernee Jennings

EDGE Terrell Lewis

OT Trey Adams

CB Bryce Hall

OT Netane Muti

RB Zack Moss

S Antoine Winfield Jr.

LB Justin Strnad

LB Markus Bailey

OT Lucas Niang

WR Bryan Edwards

TE Jacob Breeland

WR Laviska Shenault

 

Podcasts

All Things Buffalo Bills Ep.9 

Locked On Bills 4/1/20

Rockpile Report Episode 189

Continue to check back for more injury history reports on the newest Bills signings as we slog through the offseason. Also, continue looking for position injury recaps as training camp approaches.