Week 5 Bills Injury Review- Titans

Will the Bills survive Sunday’s injury massacre?

Thank god that game is over. For all you new readers, this is my 3rd season covering Buffalo Bills injuries & while there have been some tough injuries to stomach, today’s game as a whole was painful both literally & figuratively. I do not remember a time where I nearly lost track because the injuries came in so fast. Fortunately, the Bills have a bye next week & it couldn’t have come at a better time. Last time this year, the Bills walked into Houston with no one on the injury report. Amazing how one year can change so much. This is a team that will bend, bend, bend, but not break. As always, injury recap below in chronological order. 

Those ruled inactive prior to the game included: 

WR Robert Foster (groin/turf toe)

TE Tyler Kroft (ankle)

LB Corey Thompson (ankle sx)

CB Taron Johnson (hamstring)

RB Devin Singletary (hamstring)

OG Ike Boettger 

OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)

Thompson & Kroft continue to be out until further notice. Foster, Johnson & Singletary are all dealing with soft tissue strains which could have been aggravated by the slick conditions. Nsekhe is dealing with an ankle injury that appears to have been an aggravation from 2 weeks ago. 

C Mitch Morse (ankle)

Morse was the first injury of the day, dealing with what appears to be a left ankle injury. The injury appears when RB Frank Gore ran up the middle with 9:25 left in the 2nd quarter and appeared to kick Morse by accident. Morse rolls over and appears to be favoring the ankle before getting up, walking with a slightly labored effort. 

He was able to play several more snaps before getting removed in favor of OG Jon Feliciano. Morse did not appear in the game the rest of the day but was on the sidelines appearing to stay loose. 

This may be more of a contusion, similar to an injury observed with a leg whip. There may have been other possibilities such as a low ankle sprain or mild high ankle sprain not readily noted on film, but this is most likely. This isn’t something that should hold him out for long, but reports indicated he was limping around the locker room after the game as evident by the video below.

During Monday’s presser, HC Sean McDermott noted that if it was needed, Morse could have gone back in and played if further injury occurred. This is incredibly promising as this indicates that the injury alone doesn’t appear to be serious if they were willing to play him. I believe he will be able to play against Miami.

C/G Jon Feliciano (right leg)

Feliciano was injured with 10:40 left in the 3rd quarter when QB Josh Allen threw a costly interception. The offensive mauler was attempting to bring down S Kevin Byard when he fell down attempting to get a tackle. Unfortunately, OT Dion Dawkins fell onto his right leg, leading to the injury. Friendly fire is never ideal but is a part of the game. 

He limped off but amazingly did not miss a snap, keenly aware of the lack of depth at the offensive line Sunday. I’m sure that he has some pain in the leg, but injury-wise, this doesn’t appear to be anything that should cause lasting effects. 

QB Josh Allen (left hand)

On the same play as Feliciano, Allen threw the costly interception and had a minor collision with Titans LB Harold Landry III in where his left hand appears to hit the shoulder pad, namely at the metacarpophalangeal joint. He may have jammed his left thumb or suffered a contusion, causing him to favor the area briefly after the play. Considering this isn’t his throwing hand & he didn’t miss a snap, this isn’t something that the team should be worried about. Even if something did happen such as a minor sprain, this is something that could potentially heal during the bye week. Worst case, he could wear a brace as it’s his non-throwing hand. Unless there is an injury update, consider this injury, like Feliciano’s to be a dead matter. 

OG Cody Ford (concussion)

Ford, unfortunately, suffered a holding penalty on the play that led to his exit from the game due to injury. With 4:53 left in the 3rd quarter, Ford engaged with his defensive lineman assignment & got pulled down, driven headfirst into the ground. It initially appeared as though he got the wind knocked out of him, but reports later indicated he was assessed for a head injury. 

He has since been placed into the concussion protocol since Monday’s press conference. To note, it’s not a guarantee that he moves through the protocol quickly like some of his counterparts. However, having the bye week to recover only benefits him. 

LB Matt Milano (left hamstring)

Milano, a beast all season, continued his stellar play this week until the injury bug hit. Milano tweaked his left hamstring while attempting to slow down & possibly change direction in preparation to take down the Titans TE Jonnu Smith on the long reception. On film, it shows that he grabs at his hamstring towards the very end but is able to walk around afterward.

He was able to participate in one more play before motioning to come out & did not return. Regrettably, the deceleration in slowing down due to the eccentric contraction of the muscle caused the injury. Considering the grass was slick due to the rain, it was smart for him to not return. 

Taking into account the fact that CB Taron Johnson & RB Devin Singletary did not play today due to the same injury, this led to Milano not returning. Based on identifying how the team manages hamstring injuries, it’s very possible Milano misses the Dolphins game. Even then, he could miss the Eagles game as well, but until we have more information, his timeline for return will be very fluid. 

To make a note, Milano dealt with some hamstring issues during his rookie year early on during the Panthers game in ‘17 & missed the playoff game after suffering a hamstring strain against the Dolphins. He did not appear to have any issues last year according to records. While he has a history of hamstring strains, I cannot find evidence that this was the same side nor do I believe that the rookie year strains are affecting his most recent injury.

DE Trent Murphy (concussion)

Murphy has been incredibly healthy all season up until early in the 4th quarter. With 14:12 left, he was closing in for a sack on the left side while LB Lorenzo Alexander was coming from the right. Alexander came in slightly more direct on Titans QB Marcus Mariota before Murphy came slightly outside and collided. As expected with any possible head injury, Murphy was assessed for a possible concussion, ending his day. 

Like Ford, he has since been placed in the protocol & the hope is that he progresses through swiftly. We will probably not know where he or Ford stand until next Wednesday when practice resumes. 

S Jordan Poyer (head)

Similar to Murphy’s hit, Poyer attempted to help take down the ball carrier, assisting LB Lorenzo Alexander before colliding with him with 8:20 left in the 4th quarter. He was quickly assessed, missing several plays. Based on his ability to return to the game, he did not have any concussion-related symptoms, but this doesn’t prevent him from developing issues later on.

Thankfully, there have been no reports of concussion protocol for Poyer, though Matthew Fairburn & Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic reported on the Buffalo Beat podcast that he got a stinger on the play. I haven’t been able to confirm this anywhere else, but when there are questionable head injuries, the team is required to remove the player for further evaluation until a determination has been made. I don’t expect that Poyer will miss anytime or end up on next week’s injury report barring any new information. 

DT Ed Oliver (left foot/ankle)

Finally, the carnage is over, the last injury of the game. Oliver appeared to injure his left foot/ankle with 4:53 left in the 4th as he attempted to tackle Titans RB Derrick Henry. He did succeed in his quest, but in the process, for flipped over & his left foot hit the turf. He was able to get to all fours but appeared in distress immediately. He was able to walk off under his own power after a brief assessment by trainers. He may have suffered a contusion or jammed his ankle as a result of the hard slam. He did not return to the game, but there was not an opportunity to as the offense was able to close out the final minutes of the game & seal the win. This may be yet another injury that may not make much noise & be quickly forgotten about.

This game is done, finito, finished, ceased to continue. The Bills escape Nashville with a hard-fought 14-7 win & a bevy of injuries, but a bye to look forward to next week. As for those still working through injury, this week off will ideally help several key players to recover to make their triumphant return to New Era Field against the Dolphins in Week 7.

Top Photo Credit:

Syracuse.com

Week 3 Bills Injury Review- Bengals

What are Feliciano & Harrison Phillips dealing with following Sunday’s win?

The Bills once again found a way to get it done to move to 3-0 Sunday. A close fought game was won in the dying minutes of the 4th quarter with a final score of 21-17. They appeared to dominate early in the game with a 14-0 lead going into the half, but allowed the Bengals to hang around and score 17 unanswered points. Fortunately, RB Frank Gore plowed into the end zone with 1:50 left in the 4th quarter. While Bills Mafia can savor this win, several injuries dampen the excitement.

Prior to the game, it was already known that RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring), CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring), & TE Tyler Kroft (left ankle) all would not be suiting up. All appear to be tracking to return for possibly next week. However, Kroft was observed in a walking boot following the game on his left ankle. Singletary hasn’t had any updates but hamstrings are finicky with the recovery. They all would have been fine options for this week, but having them 100% for the Patriots will be key.

It appeared that CB Tre’Davious White (neck) suffered no ill effects from the last week in a red no-contact jersey as he was able to snag 2 key interceptions, the final which sealed the victory. LB Corey Thompson (ankle) appeared only on special teams due to a low ankle sprain, but was able to contribute in some fashion after being listed as questionable heading into Sunday.

Unfortunately, there was a slew of injuries that varied in severity & will be addressed below.

OG Jon Feliciano (neck)

The offensive mauler suffered a neck injury during the first scoring play late in the 1st quarter. Reviewing film, he got blocked down to the left and appeared to get hit on the right side of the head. He was able to get up and participate in the 2 point conversion before getting to the sidelines where he was initially questionable before being downgraded to out.

Afterward, he was observed walking around the locker room in a neck brace by The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia. Considering the limited video and follow up bracing, this would indicate that he may be dealing with a whiplash injury. This type of injury is more commonly seen in motor vehicle accidents, but can occur with any rapid change in motion in relation to the head. There is always the possibility for a fracture but until the team releases more info, I am leaning towards whiplash.

The neck brace would assist with supporting the cervical region to prevent unnecessary movement. He would likely not wear a neck brace for long, possibly 1-3 days, but hopes that he would be able to begin rehab to restore motion and strength to the area is ideal.

This may be an injury he could miss a few games if my thoughts are correct. Once further information is released, a more definitive timeline can be established.

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe briefly left the game late in the 3rd quarter due to getting bull rushed backwards, possibly jamming his ankle. He thankfully was able to return & continue playing without any apparent drop off in play. I would categorize this more of a contusion & this is something that really should have no impact on practice or the upcoming game this week. It’s also possible that he may have suffered an Achilles strain due to getting pushed back how he did, but he fell down easily and if there was concern for that, he probably wouldn’t have returned. At worst, he may have a wrap or sleeve on the ankle, but this should not affect his availability barring any new information.

WR Cole Beasley (right knee)

The shifty receiver left the game for several plays while dealing with an injury to his right knee. Video replay shows that he got tangled up with his defensive counterpart and he appears to have fallen directly onto the area. Like Nsekhe, he could have a contusion for which he is able to play through. I also do not anticipate this being a factor this week.

DT Harrison Phillips (left knee)

With just under 2 minutes left in the game & the Bills protecting a 4 point lead, Phillips went down with what appears to be a left knee injury. He was pushing forward moving inward/outward before his left knee buckled from under him and he fell down. There did not appear to be any direct contact to the area but an injury clearly occurred. He was briefly assessed before being able to get up and jogged/walked off the field.

Later it was reported that he was going to get X-rays once he was in the locker room. Imaging may be checking to determine if he suffered an MCL sprain with associated damage such as a meniscus or a bone bruise. Considering how he fell, they may have also been checking out his tibial plateau or the kneecap which could have been injured as a result. Reports indicate that he is getting an MRI on the knee today.

UPDATE: Phillips has since been diagnosed with a torn ACL, ending his season.

He tore the same side back in 2015 while in college at Stanford.

Until we get more information on Feliciano, it is difficult to determine timelines at this time. While injuries do occur, the Bills continue to mostly avoid the season ending variety. There may be other injuries to be released later, but this is what is known at this time. If Feliciano is unable to go, rookie OT Cody Ford can slide over or OG Spencer Long can man the spot.

The team does have recent Dolphins cut DT Vincent Taylor or DT Kyle Peko they can bring up now that Phillips is out. The Bills are banged up right now heading into Week 4, but with a good practice this week, what was lost Sunday may be balanced out by with what returns.

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. 

Bills Preseason Injury Preview- Panthers

Detailing the latest Bills injuries prior to the Week 2 preseason game against the Panthers.

The Bills survived a thriller over the Colts last Thursday at New Era Field with a 24-16 win! They managed to play well & avoid major injury which is always ideal in the preseason. Entering Week 2 of the preseason, health concerns of several players still exist. Today’s post will identify those who are questionable & likely out.
 
Ruled out:
 
C Mitch Morse: concussion
 
Morse is still dealing with the after-effects of a concussion diagnosed over 2 weeks ago. He has since progressed to return to full practice with a red non-contact jersey. He has been able to take snaps, run full speed, and do nearly everything except full contact. He will not play Friday due to the obvious concerns of suffering another head injury. He still requires the reps & practice with the first-team offense to be ready for the regular season. His time in the preseason will come, but likely in the 3rd game.
 
RB Frank Gore: veteran rest
 
Gore played in the preseason opener with a strong, but brief outing & avoided injury. He has nothing left to prove to the Bills until the regular season. It was already announced that he would sit out so that RB LeSean McCoy starts. This will allow Devin Singletary, TJ Yeldon, and others to make their case on the final roster.
 
TE Dawson Knox: hamstring
 
Knox continues to work back from his hamstring injury sustained early in camp. Many reports state that Knox is performing rehab, but not cleared to don a non-contact jersey. This is due to avoiding coming back too soon and re-injuring. While he is a lock to make the team, his development has been severely stunted. Hopes are that he gets on the field for the last 2 games to catch up.
 
OL Conor McDermott: concussion
 
Like Morse, McDermott is in the concussion protocol following a hit on Thursday night. He currently wears a red non-contact jersey signifying that he is rapidly improving. Yet, it may not be wise to expose him to live football this week to ensure his long term health. As he is fighting for a roster spot, he may be best to fight another day.
 
Questionable:
 
C Russell Bodine: oblique strain
 
Bodine suffered an oblique strain during last weeks preseason win. He has since worn a non-contact jersey during the two practices in South Carolina. For his health, he may be best suited to sit out this game. Considering he has to fight for a roster spot behind Morse, Long, Feliciano, and even Bates, he may try to play through the injury.
 
TE Jason Croom: hamstring
 
Croom, like Knox, has been battling to get back on the field to show why he needs to make the roster. He appears to be near 100% but is truly questionable whether he plays Friday. This will likely be a player decision to play. I don’t expect that he will re-injure the hamstring again, but there is always a possibility.
 
C/G Spencer Long: knee
 
Cover 1’s Greg Tompsett observed Long as a full participant in practice this past week. Yet, Tompsett noted that Long continues to don a brace and a wrap on the right leg indicating there is still an issue. Considering the hinge bracing, this still supports that he tweaked his MCL. While this is not 100%, this could keep Long out of the 2nd game to ensure his versatility at both positions.
 
There will be other likely starters that will sit out, but not due to injury. Considering the joint practices this past week with the Panthers, I expect more situational football played than all-out war. This should keep the number of injuries down but allow borderline players to showcase their abilities.
 
Continue to check back for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Phase 3 OTA Week 1 Recap

Assessing the latest injuries following the first week of Phase 3 of OTA’s.

In an offseason that appeared to be going well for the Bills with lots of new faces, a promising outlook, and possible long lasting stability, a jarring reality set in on Day 2. Tuesday brought a wide variety of injury news, some good, mostly bad that puts worry into every Bills fan even though it is May.

The most serious injury of OTA’s came in newly signed TE Tyler Kroft (foot). Unfortunately, he suffered a foot fracture on the first day which will require surgery. Regrettably, this is the same foot that he fractured last year that cost him 11 games. According to Ian Rapaport, this will sideline him for up to 3-4 months. While this is bad news, it’s not totally awful. The 3-4 months recovery timeline tells us several things. This tells us that this injury wasn’t as serious as it could have been. This rules out a Lisfranc as a conservative recovery would be 6 months.

We know that it’s not trauma or a stress fracture as trauma most likely would have been reported and a stress fracture wouldn’t require immediate surgery. This leads us to several possibilities. He could have had an avulsion fracture in where a portion of the bone is pulled away from the bone. He could have a metatarsal fracture in any of the long toe bones of the foot. Or he could have a Jones fracture.

Considering he injured the same foot last year, had surgery, and then fractured again, I am leaning towards the Jones fracture. It’s a surgery that requires stabilization with a screw, it has a known failure rate after the first surgery, and the timeline fits with the reported recovery time. The mechanism of injury is similar to an ankle sprain which can be rather innocent when dealing with positional drills, someone tweaks their ankle, steps funny, pushes off differently. Kroft most likely woke up the next day having issues, had imaging, and found out the bad news.

While he is still a near lock to make the roster, losing him for 3-4 months will allow some of the younger tight ends to get more reps and make the roster. Kroft will likely start the preseason on the PUP list, possibly paving the way to allow someone to get some playing time in place during the preseason. If he is on PUP at the start of the regular season, he wouldn’t be able to return until Week 6 when he is eligible. By then, there could be corresponding roster moves such as injury or insufficient play from other players which may prevent having to cut another TE before the regular season. This designation would also not count against an IR-to-return spot.

Others coming off injury are RB Frank Gore (foot/ankle) and RB TJ Yeldon (groin). There has been a documented injury for Gore at the end of last season which sent him to IR. There has been no known surgeries, but considering that Gore is ancient in NFL terms and these practices are voluntary, it’s an easy out to not participate in drills.

As for Yeldon, he may have tweaked something early on and decided to avoid making things worse rather than trying to go through meaningless drills. For both backs, there is no concern moving forward unless new information comes to light.

Many became worried with the revelation that both newly signed C Mitch Morse and WR Cole Beasley required core stabilization surgery, better known as a sports hernia repair. This is the same type of injury that infamous Bills CB Vontae Davis suffered 2 seasons ago. I detailed his injury when he originally signed with the team, make sure to click the link above for more information. While there is concern that they may not be ready for Week 1, it was revealed that they had their surgery several weeks ago with a general recovery timeline of roughly 12 weeks.

Both could certainly come back sooner than that based on the amount of damage in the region, but having surgery in April gives them a return to full ability in July. These injuries do unfortunately happen considering the positional requirements throughout the season but are able to play through. While there is always concerns for complications, the return to play rate is ~90% for NFL players, I do not expect anything less for Morse and Beasley.

Others nicked up include S Rafael Bush (groin/shoulder) and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Bush was seen wearing a red non-contact jersey alongside Johnson, but considering these workouts are voluntary, he may be just be cautious as he was dealing with a groin injury last season, according to research by Nick Wojton. Bush also did suffer a shoulder injury last season that may have lingered to the point where he didn’t want to risk anything and could be the true cause of why he was sitting out OTA’s.

Johnson is coming off his labral repair and has made excellent progress to this point. Considering he is 5.5 months out from surgery, he is able to participate in drills but contact is not advised yet, he’ll be ready come training camp. To read more, please check out the article here from Buffalo Rumblings.

Rookie WR David Sills V (hamstring) suffered a hamstring strain in rookie mini camp, these injuries occur despite the best preventative methods out there. He just needs rest and rehab. TE Jason Croom (undisclosed) was seen walking with a trainer, dealing with something, but no further information has come out regarding what he injured.

Finally, C Russell Bodine (shoulder) did not participate in OTA’s as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. I had noted last year that he was wearing a compression sleeve later in the season. He most likely had a shoulder debridement, possible subacromial decompression. This would be similar to what Panthers QB Cam Newton had recently. The procedure would smooth down any arthritic changes in the shoulder or trim back the acromion which could cause impingement leading to weakness, pain, and possible further complications with the rotator cuff if left untreated. He is also coming off a broken fibula requiring surgery that appears to fully healed. Regarding both injuries, he will be fine for camp and this is not worth any further words.

Players that suffered injuries last season that practiced in full were LB Matt Milano (ankle), P Corey Bojorquez (shoulder), and P Cory Carter (knee). Milano is coming off his gruesome fibula fracture with dislocation practicing in full. He appears to be on schedule and working back into football shape as expected.

Bojorquez suffered a torn labrum last season on his bonehead fake FG attempt, he was practicing in full and his shoulder won’t give any issues as he likely had surgery in October and he doesn’t take the regular contact or use the shoulder in a way that Taron Johnson would.

Carter is coming off his ACL tear that cost him all of 2018 due to a direct blow to the knee. He is roughly 9 months out from surgery and should be cleared to resume full activities. There is less concern for him returning from the injury than we saw last year with DE Trent Murphy.

Despite all the doom and gloom of Tuesday, there are still positives to take away as they still have 3 months before a meaningful snap is taken. All will be fine. We will also get to see more action on the 28th which will give us some glimpses into what the mandatory minicamp participation will be like. I believe most of these injuries will not be mentioned in June.

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

Buffalo Bills Bounty of Free Agents!

Analyzing the most recent Bills acquisitions & injury concerns moving forward into next season.

Whooo wee! What a week for the Buffalo Bills! 8 free agents total after the national media stated that Buffalo was not a place that free agents wanted to go? Where else would you rather be than Buffalo, NY?! The front office is building something special here, or they’re at least trying to. This has a totally different feel from past years where a free agent or two would show up and they were a piece that maybe fit part of the puzzle, but didn’t complete it. These most recent acquisitions are far from completing the puzzle, but the total picture is certainly coming together better than in past seasons. Today’s article will review the acquisitions and my thoughts on their injuries going into 2019.

First up is CB Kevin Johnson. The former 1st round pick recently released by Houston has had a litany of injuries during his short career in the NFL. To review, he has had Lisfranc and Jones fractures, wrist fracture, sprained MCL, and multiple concussions. In my article I wrote for Buffalo Rumblings, I dove into his injury history and my thoughts on the signing.  Make sure to check out the above linked article. He is overall a low risk, high reward signing due to his contract and has clearly demonstrated the ability to play when healthy. If he is able to avoid some of the seriousness of the injuries in the past, he could help resurrect his career and have a new start in Buffalo.

Next up is C Mitch Morse. The former starting center from Kansas City quickly found his way to Buffalo to become the NFL’s highest paid center. However, his arrival does not come without concern. During his also short career in the league, Morse has suffered 2 concussions which caused him to miss 3 games his rookie year, a foot injury costing him 10 total games with a trip to IR in 2017, and a concussion that caused him to miss 5 games in 2018. As with Kevin Johnson, I detailed my thoughts on Morse with Buffalo Rumblings.  While he is still young and highly talented, there is concern if he were to suffer another concussion at such a collision heavy position in the trenches with sub concussive hits nearly every play. The talent is there which makes the money worth it, but the Bills must have a contingency plan in place if injury occurs in order to ensure that the signing of Morse works in their favor.

Continuing to go down the list is WR’s Cole Beasley & WR John Brown. Both veteran receivers come via Dallas & Baltimore, respectively. Both have demonstrated effective play making abilities which appealed to both the front office and QB Josh Allen. After last year’s pitiful wide receiver production, significant upgrades at the position were a must. Injury wise, both look overall good. Beasley has only missed 1 game in his career due to illness and for the most part, manages to stay off the injury report only dealing with a knee & ankle injuries along with a concussion. As for Brown, most of his injury concerns involve hamstring strains along with a quad and toe injury that cost him 4 games in 2017. These are excellent signings by the Bills and really demonstrate the urgency to get the offense moving.

WR Andre Roberts comes to Buffalo after a season with the Jets in which he earned an All-Pro nod on special teams. Like Beasley & Brown, Roberts comes with several injuries, but minimal concerns. Roberts has saw time with Arizona, Washington, and the New York Jets suffering shoulder, ankle, and quad injuries missing only 3 games total as a result. He did suffer a knee injury that sent him to IR and prematurely ended his 2015 season with Washington. Other than a back injury in 2018 that he did not miss time with, Roberts will significantly upgrade the special teams group and provide a dynamic returner not seen since CB Terrance McGee.

Moving onto the offensive line depth, the Bills signed both OT Ty Nsekhe & OG Jon Feliciano from Washington & Oakland respectively. Nsekhe has had quite the journey to the NFL, starting his career in 2009 playing in Arena Football for several years before getting a crack at the NFL with the Colts. He then proceeded to bounce around in the CFL, more Arena Football, and cups of coffee with St. Louis and New Orleans before solidifying a job with Washington. I am unaware of his injury history during his time in other organized leagues, but his NFL injury list is short with foot/ankle injuries in 2016 along with a core muscle injury in 2017 that caused him to miss 5 games. Last season, he suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss 2 games but considering his age of 33, most guys are exiting the league, Nsekhe appears to continue improving. He has demonstrated the ability to play well when called up to start along with demonstrating the ability to play multiple positions, but understands how to be an effective backup.

Feliciano is cut from the same cloth as Nsekhe, however, not bouncing around from various professional leagues. The veteran guard has spent his entire career with Oakland before signing with Buffalo a few days ago. Along with moving across the country, Feliciano comes with several calf injuries and a concussion over his career. However, while he can start in spot situations, his ability to understand O-Line coach Bobby Johnson’s game plan allows him to fit in nicely and allow to be an effective piece moving forward in 2019.

TE Tyler Kroft comes from Cincinnatti after playing 4 years for the Bengals. Kroft began coming on as a tight end as TE Tyler Eifert began suffering injuries which limited his ability on the field. Unfortunately, Kroft had difficulty staying healthy at times, suffering a knee/ankle injury at the end of 2016 followed by a foot injury that caused him to miss 11 games with a trip to IR, ending his season prematurely. While he is a young player to help open up the offense, he is far from the answer moving forward and will complement any draft pick or future tight ends signed to the roster.

Finally, old man RB Frank Gore. This man has been playing so long, he predates the injury reporting on pro-football-reference.com. While his injury history may have a few blank spots, his career has been defined by his durability. After suffering two ACL tears in college, Gore was able to find a home in San Francisco for many productive years until 2014. He has had a smattering of injuries over the course of his productive career with most notably shoulder injuries during his rookie year, a broken bone in his hand a few ears after that, and a hip injury that sent him to IR and ended his 2010 season early. Other than the hip, he suffered a foot injury which ended his season in Miami 2 games early. Many consider Gore to be a future Hall of Famer with his dominance at the position and his overall stats. Despite going into his age-36 season, Gore has managed to keep injuries to a minimum and avoid some of the larger injuries that spell out shorter careers in an already high turnover position that is running back. While he will not be as productive in past seasons, he should be able to be an effective back up behind RB LeSean McCoy and provide leadership to a young team. I believe that he will show some of the younger players how to prepare mentally to maximize their skills on the field while also minimizing injuries in order to stay healthy.

Overall, I like most of these signings. I do not expect every once of these to be a slam dunk upgrade, some will simply not work out. Gore was an odd one considering the age, but if there is still something left in the tank, the Bills want to ride him until there’s fumes. I have concerns about the Johnson & Morse signings, but if both stay healthy, they could turn out to be lucrative in the long run. I like the offensive line depth that the front office focused on because no NFL team is immune from injury, it is imperative that the backups are able to play effectively until the starter returns. Nothing will torpedo the Bills 2019 season more than poor depth. Finally, the WR & TE signings signal that they are serious about taking QB Josh Allen to the next level and show everyone how he can throw it over them there mountains. I don’t believe the Bills are done in the free agency market; they are showing that they are willing to bring in anyone they feel that can upgrade the quality of play on the field. Just think, we still have 6 weeks before the NFL draft and me personally, I’m pumped!

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