2020 Week 3 Bills Injury Preview- Rams

Make sure to scroll down to the players you’re interested in. It’s a long one.

Heading into Week 3, we got a long injury report here folks. But the Bills have been through this before. They have quality depth and the ability to call up practice squad players that have been in the system before rather than street free agents who don’t know the system. 

While there are a lot of players in today’s report, everyone is still adjusting to the regular season with hitting, conditioning, and getting back into game shape. This is where some preseason games are beneficial to prime their bodies rather than going from 0-100. Ideally we see this drop off as the season progresses. But until then, this week’s injuries are below. 

OUT

RB Zack Moss (toe)

Moss was ruled out of Sunday’s matchup due to a toe ailment suffered in Sunday’s win. This was likely the result of the catch & run midway through the 4th quarter. He eventually returned to the game later, albeit briefly before the game finished. 

Based on the designation of a toe, it sounds like it could be turf toe. There are other possibilities such as a fracture, but he was observed off to the side on the exercise bike and doing individual activities.

PTEducator.com

Turf toe is an injury where the big toe is suddenly hyperextended due to a fall or some other force such as a tackle when the foot is planted into the ground that pushes it past its normal range of motion. Like any other joint in the body, this too can be sprained. The risk for this can be increased with flexible shoes which reduce support around the area of the foot.

Any other toe injury can be conservatively managed and isn’t a problem even in day to day life. But the big toe is vital to walk a heel toe gait pattern; strike with the heel, push off on the toe. The toe is even more vital during running as sprinting is done up on the balls of the feet, placing further stress on the toe. 

The timeline for a turf toe injury can be 2-4 weeks or even more based on severity. Look back at Packers WR DaVante Adams last year for reference. Due to the demands of the big toe, especially with high end athletics, it can be easily re-injured if not managed properly. This is something that can linger for weeks and limit production. 

He is obviously missing this week and potentially next week. Once he returns after the area has had a chance to heal, he can use a stiff sole to help reduce toe extension during push off and taping/bracing to support the area. He may lose some explosiveness after coming back, but if he gives it proper time to heal, then he may be fine. It will be important not to rush back because then he will lose that first step explosiveness and top end speed if he cant push off his toe effectively.

It’s important to note that he had a toe injury back in 2016 during his freshman year at Utah. It’s not certain that it was a turf toe injury, but he missed 2 games as a result. The injuries are not directly related as we don’t know specifics or even side l along with the time span in between. But if this is another bout of turf toe, he may be able to understand his body better and rehab more effectively. I expect TJ Yeldon to get a rare crack at the game day roster. Remember, he’s a 3 down back according to Brandon Beane.

TE Dawson Knox (concussion)

Knox is out with a concussion following Sunday’s win. He has since had 3 straight DNP’s at practice and right now appears to be at about Stage 3 due to participating on the exercise bike and drills. He will now have to go through football specific drills and a full practice without symptom reproduction before he can be cleared by the neurologist. 

It’s rare that a guy is able to return from a concussion in a week’s time and hopefully he can return for Week 4. There were a lot of people who sent video of hits he sustained to the head that game. I do appreciate every one of you for doing that, but it is nearly impossible to diagnose a concussion on video alone unless the individual has been knocked unconscious. Let’s hope he’s back for Week 4.

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (quadriceps)

Phillips continues to be out with a quad injury sustained in the season opener over the Jets. He has not practiced since then and video does not exist of the injury that he sustained on special teams. 

This is appearing to be more of a quadriceps strain and literature for quadriceps strains is more limited than hamstrings, but from what I found, timelines are similar to that of hamstrings. There’s a possibility that this could be a tendonitis as well, but that is something that can be played through more than a strain.

It’s important to note that WR Andre Roberts missed the first two games of the season last year with a quadriceps injury. This may be the same course of action that the Bills take with Phillips or this could be an injury that we don’t have all the facts on yet. We continue to wait and see. 

QUESTIONABLE

LB Matt Milano (hamstring)

Milano has been able to practice in a limited fashion all week after missing Week 2 with a hamstring strain. Hamstrings can take 13-18 days on average to return to play, but his injury may have been truly minor; a term that I’ve come across is “niggle”. I believe Milano had a niggle. 

Could he benefit from another week off? Sure. But if he’s feeling good and he can play, then I can live with that. He is questionable, but a hamstring is not an automatic out for 2-3 games. Some guys can come back the next week, others take much longer. We are seeing that with the setback with CB Josh Norman & this shows that each hamstring is unique. With how practice has been this week, he is still 50/50, but I’m leaning towards him playing Sunday. 

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds has been tricky for me these past 2 weeks. I initially had him as a contusion, possible AC joint sprain. Then he missed the last game which leads me to believe he may have had more of a SC joint sprain or bruised rotator cuff. I’ve studied the film, watched his practice and without a physical examination, I am stumped.

This could be Occam’s razor and I’m overthinking this. The fact that he has had a red non-contact jersey for the last two weeks is concerning, but that may be more to prevent further injury. He may have benefitted from the week off and be ready for Sunday. 

From what I’ve seen, it’s very possible he plays. Especially with the benefit of his skill set against the Rams, it’s an important game to get up for. He’s also 50/50, leaning towards seeing him playing. 

CB Taron Johnson (groin)

Not much is known about Johnson. He has a long history of injuries dating back to his rookie year with the shoulder labral tear followed by a hamstring strain last year. Now he has the groin strain which isn’t great for a defensive back with all the cutting & pivoting he has to do as part of his position. 

He did not exit the game and was a full participant on Friday which is a good sign. However, groin strains, like many other soft tissue injuries can linger and cause problems later. We do have depth at the position, he will probably play, but considering Johnson’s penchant for injury, he may be best served to sit this one out. 

ACTIVE

WR Cole Beasley (hip/right thumb)

Beasley is active despite dealing with two separate injuries. The hip is not all that concerning, it could be more of generalized hip soreness or bruising due to the fact that he had several hard falls during his catches on Sunday. 

However, the injury I am more concerned with is his right thumb injury. He had it heavily taped in practice on Thursday and was in visible pain when catching the ball. 

He may have suffered a mild/moderate thumb sprain, also known as skier’s thumb. He could have fell on the thumb during one of his catches, forcing it into extension and abduction. He could also have gotten it tangled up with a defender, it wasn’t clear on film. He’ll be able to play & still be effective, but with how hard Josh Allen throws and the injury, I hope we don’t see a drop or two due to the pain and resulting weakness in the thumb region. This will be something to monitor on Sunday. 

DT Ed Oliver (right knee)

Oliver suffered his knee injury as the result of a leg block that fortunately was not flagged on Sunday. During replay, his knee gets struck by the Dolphins offensive player and then his shin strikes the player again once the leg kicks forward.

It initially appeared that he suffered a shin contusion which would have been more pain related. But since he struck the knee, it forced the knee into hyperextension. What’s beneficial is that the leg was swinging freely and not in a fixed position. There was some stretching of the knee capsule and overall pain, but structural damage to the area appears non-existent save for maybe bruising due to the hit itself. Fortunately, the knee does have several degrees of hyperextension available in the human body, giving the knee some pliability to reduce the risk of injury. 

He was spotted by The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia wearing a knee brace at practice. I asked Joe for clarification on the type of brace and he said that it appeared to be more hinge like. This would support that his knee was hyperextended and that he is wearing the brace for support. These braces don’t outright prevent injury, but the idea is that the side supports do lock out in full extension and if he were to get hit directly over the knee, the brace would take the forces of the hit and lessen the impact on the knee itself. In addition, the side supports limit medial/lateral movements so if they get hit from the side, the entire leg goes down rather than the valgus force that we see in ACL and MCL tears.

It will be interesting to see if he plays Sunday with the brace on or if this brace was simply used to help give him some confidence with the knee during practice. If you look closely, fellow DT Harrison Phillips wears one as well when he plays following his ACL tear last year. Overall, I don’t believe Oliver’s quality of play will be affected by the knee injury nor is he at a higher risk to suffer further injury due to Sunday’s hit.

CB Tre’Davious White (shoulder)

Virtually nothing is known about White’s shoulder ailment that had him limited at Wednesday’s practice. He is getting older, he’s a highly paid player who knows he’s valuable to the team, this may have been more of a maintenance day than anything. I could not find anything specific on film to support a shoulder injury and he was able to practice in full Thursday & Friday. I can’t even speculate what he could be dealing with because there is no mechanism of injury. Right now, this is a wait and see approach. 

He did deal with a neck injury last year that caused him to wear the red non-contact jersey for about 2 weeks last year but he did not miss any games or appear to have his play suffer as a result.

WR John Brown (foot, possible plantar fasciitis)

Brown popped back up on the injury report this week with what the team described as “foot soreness”. He was on the injury report last week briefly with the same issue. The fact that he is able to practice in full certain days and then has to be limited others indicates that this may be more of a chronic issue which I believe is plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is a tough band of fascia that connects from the heel to the balls of the feet. This acts as a shock absorber and helps keep the structural integrity of the foot intact during walking and running. This effect is known as the windlass mechanism. This allows the foot to stay rigid as the foot goes into push off moving from stance to swing phase. If we did not have the plantar fascia to help keep the foot rigid, then the big toe would not have the leverage to push off as effectively and drive the entire foot forward.

ChoosePT.com

The area of the irritation of the plantar fascia is at the base of the heel, where the fascia originates. Microtears occur due to overuse or excessive running which appears to be in the case of Brown. This appears to be more of a problem this year than other years because of the change in training camp with less ramp up time. If he wears shoes that are not supportive, this could cause the foot to excessively pronate which means the foot rolls inward when walking versus maintaining support during heel toe walking. The overpronation would pull on the plantar fascia during push off using the windlass mechanism and the excessive running could cause microtears, causing inflammation.

Functionally, he will not be greatly affected by this, but it is a painful condition to deal with. He likely wakes up in the morning and has difficulty bearing weight through his foot due to the tissue tightening up throughout the night, making those first few steps during the morning painful. He can rehab to stretch the calf, Achilles, overall improve the range of motion in the ankle and big toe mobility to take stress off the area. He can also get injections to help manage the pain, but this is not something the doctors like to do often because too many injections can increase the incidence for rupture of the affected tissue. These rates are fairly low, but injecting and numbing pain is not an effective solution to manage a condition. It can be an intervention that assists with taking care of a problem, but not the only solution. 

It’s possible that Brown battles with this off and on throughout the season, using rest days and rehab to address the matter. As a treating Physical Therapist, I have found plantar fasciitis to be a stubborn diagnosis, but this does not mean that Brown will not be able to overcome this. The team does have a lot of interventions with the possibility of cupping, laser therapy, acupuncture, injections, iontophoresis with medication, stretching, using night splints, strengthening, taping, footwear modifications, among others. There are far worse injuries that can be played through, but plantar fasciitis is still a troublesome injury. This sounds all doom and gloom, but he will be alright.

Final thoughts:

The team is banged up. This is why I believe some preseason games are good to get the live reps out of the way rather than going from practice and limited contact to full blown games. Even if the starters were playing for two series a game in the preseason, it helps them acclimate slowly to game speed versus full speed right away. The Bills have been through this before with the lengthy injury report. The tweet below shows how things looked last year prior to the Titans game and how things look going into Week 3. 

You’ll also notice that the team does a fairly good job of dealing with injuries in that they don’t become a chronic issue. The training staff likes to address the injury, give it time to heal if possible, and then return to play. We are not seeing the walking wounded out there like some other teams around the league. 

I did note last year that injured players may have been active, but their snap counts significantly reduced in that particular game to prevent further injury. Two instances I can think of were WR Isaiah McKenzie during Weeks 4 & 5 last year and G Cody Ford during Week 8. This team has a plan to get guys healthy and have them available if needed, but not to rely on the walking wounded to play a full game. 

It’s also important to note that CB Josh Norman was observed on the exercise bike this week as he prepares to hopefully get activated from IR following Sunday. He may still not be 100%, but he can begin practicing with the team as they have a 21 day window where he doesn’t count against the roster. If he’s ready, they can activate him, if he’s not, he can be shut down and go back to IR. He can also just stay on there longer and activate his window later, so it’s not certain that he will begin practicing next week.

The same can be said for G Jon Feliciano. Coach McDermott even came out and said that he didn’t want to put guys out there that weren’t ready. Feliciano had said he wanted to come back by Week 4, but I have maintained that he would benefit coming back closer to Week 7 or 8 where he could be more effective. This will be something to continue to monitor.

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

RB Zack Moss

TE Dawson Knox

LB Del’Shawn Phillips

OL Ike Boettger

DE AJ Epenesa

The team will get through this. Years past, injuries would have decimated a promising season, see the 2011 Bills. But the team has quality depth and lots of experience to withstand some of these bumps and bruises. I would grow more concerned if we get a rash of season-ending injuries like in 2011. This is still a talented roster despite the Rams coming to town. Hopefully next week, this report will be a little shorter.

Top Photo Credit: WKBW

DT Harrison Phillips Injury Profile

#99 Harrison Phillips
Position: DT
Height/Weight: 6’3”/307 lbs.
Age: 24
College: Stanford
Year joined Bills: 2017
Acquired: 3rd round draft selection

College Injuries:

2015 Sophomore season:

Left ACL tear, Week 1, missed 13 games

Right knee injury, Week 1, missed 1 game

Pro Injuries:

2018:

No publicly reported injuries.

2019:

Left ACL tear, Week 3, missed 13 games, sent to IR

General links:

Left ACL Tear 2015

Right Knee Injury 2016

2019 Bills Injury Review- Defensive Tackle

Buffalo Rumblings Harrison Phillips ACL Tear

2020 Bills Injury Review- Defensive Tackle

Bills 2020 Training Camp Injury Preview: Defensive Tackle

One of the healthiest position groups in 2019

This is Part 8 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 8 consists of the defensive tackle room.

Not Returning

DT Jordan Phillips

16 games, 9 starts, 1 forced fumble, 9.5 sacks, 31 combined tackles, 25 solo, 6 assisted, 13 TFL, 16 QB hits

Phillips made quite an impact on the Bills defensive line in 2019 with 9.5 sacks & an overall career year that put the Bills into a tough spot on whether to pay him in 2020. The Bills clearly elected not to pay him and let him go get paid by the Arizona Cardinals in the open market. Beane has gone on record indicating that if a guy has earned the money through his play, then he deserves to go get paid what he feels he’s worth. 

One of the reasons that Phillips was able to be so productive was the ability to stay healthy. He appeared in all 16 regular-season games and only suffered some sort of knee injury following the Ravens game. He was limited that week in practice but ended up playing without issue. 

Phillips earned his contract and hopefully will continue to produce at a high level for Arizona in 2020.

DT Kyle Peko

4 games, 4 combined tackles, 1 solo, 3 assisted

Peko was brought onto the Bills following a stint with the practice squad as a result of the Harrison Phillips injury. He played for 4 games as a placeholder until the Bills later brought in Corey Liuget for reinforcements. 

Peko did not suffer any known injuries during his short stint with the Bills & was cut in early November, spending the rest of the season with Indianapolis & Denver practice squads. 

DT Corey Liuget

7 games, 1 sack, 10 combined tackles, 7 solo, 3 assist, 4 TFL, 1 QB hit

Liuget came to the Bills as a more permanent fixture on the defensive line as Harrison Phillips was injured and Kyle Peko & Vincent Taylor weren’t getting the job done. He came to the Bills as a former first-round pick by the Chargers with a lot of veteran experience which allowed him to adapt to the demands of the defensive scheme with greater ease than Peko & Taylor. While Liuget is on the tail end of his career, he still provided effective play and showed that he could still perform despite his previous torn quadriceps tendon in 2018. Fortunately, Liuget had a better 2020 injury-wise.

He only suffered a knee injury late in the season. Not much is known about Liuget’s knee injury sustained against the Ravens late in the season. He spent two weeks on the injury report limited in practice, missing only the Steelers game before coming back the next week.

Looking back now, it’s hard to say what he was dealing with at the time. Whatever it was, he eventually returned to finish the season but that second-half performance wasn’t enough for Liuget to earn another contract with the Bills in 2020.

Players Returning

DT Harrison Phillips 

3 games, 2 passes defended, .5 sacks, 3 combined tackles, 1 solo, 2 assisted, 1 QB hit

Phillips was coming into his own this past season as a rotational piece in the defensive rotation before his season ended prematurely. He is slowly coming into his own on the field & in the locker room, but missing most of 2019 did not help his progress.

Phillips’ injury below:

    • Left ACL tear

Phillips suffered a torn left ACL in the win over the Bengals during Week 3. This occurred due to a flurry of bodies flying around with 2 minutes left in the game & a body hit the lateral side of his knee, causing the mechanism of injury required for an ACL. Phillips attempted to play in the final defensive series but his knee buckled and he was unable to continue playing. He later had an MRI to confirm the ACL tear and had surgery shortly after. 

He has been incredibly transparent in his recovery process throughout the past year on Instagram & Twitter which does give hope to the fact that he can return to form sooner. He does play in a tighter space which requires less knee movement. This in turn should allow him to be more effective and rely less on pivoting and cutting, demands more suited for other positions. To note, he did have an ACL tear on the same side back in college at Stanford which unfortunately did give him a leg up on knowing what rehab entails. To read more about his ACL tear, check out the article at Buffalo Rumblings.

DT Ed Oliver 

16 games, 7 starts, 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 5 sacks, 43 combined tackles, 24 solo, 19 assisted, 5 TFL, 8 QB hits

Oliver had a productive rookie season, especially in the second half once he lost his starting position. He came back hungry and appeared to increase his game which really made people around the league notice, justifying his ninth overall draft selection. 

In addition, Oliver was relatively healthy during the season but we later learned that he was playing through at least one injury. 

Oliver’s known injuries:

    • Left foot/ankle

Oliver suffered a left foot/ankle injury late in the win over the Titans when he flipped over trying to tackle RB Derrick Henry. His foot slammed into the turf & he was visibly in pain as he got off the field and did not return. Due to the timing of the injury & lack of need for the defense at that point, he was not needed and likely used the bye week to fully recover.

    • Core muscle repair

He surprised everyone when photos of him in the recovery room of the Vincera Institute popped up following the playoff loss to the Texans. It was later revealed that he required core muscle surgery. There were never any indicators that he was dealing with the injury and he never appeared on the injury report with the issue. To read more on the core muscle injury, check out Banged Up Bills

Within a month, Oliver was snowboarding and participating in most regular activities as shown on social media. He appears to have healed up well and should be ready for training camp. As mentioned before, most players who require core muscle repair do very well & return to play with no drop off in action. 

DT Star Lotulelei  

16 games, 16 starts, 1 INT, 1 pass defended, 2 sacks, 19 combined tackles, 12 solo, 7 assisted, 3 TFL, 3 QB hits

There is a reason the Bills keep Lotulelei around. He gets paid a lot, he knows the defense, & he’s available. While he does not get the eye-popping statistics that some elite defensive tackles accumulate, he does eat up space and allow those around him to make plays. Despite being one of the older players on the team, Lotulelei continues to be an effective player. He also did not appear to suffer any known injuries in 2019 which makes him even more valuable.

The Bills did restructure his contract to essentially ensure that he would be guaranteed a spot on the roster in 2020. If Harrison Phillips comes back strong, Lotulelei could begin to fade into a backup role as Phillips increases his playing time. 

DT Vincent Taylor 

3 games, 1 pass defended, 6 solo tackles, 1 TFL

Taylor came from the Dolphins as a 6th round pick along with season-ending injuries in consecutive years. He was waived by the Dolphins following cut down day in 2019. Taylor quickly found a home on Buffalo’s practice squad where he resided until the beginning of November when he was activated to the roster following Kyle Peko’s release

He quickly did not become an answer to replace Harrison Phillips and quickly lost playing time to Corey Liuget. In fact, he only played sparingly against Washington and Pittsburgh with most of his action coming in the regular-season finale against the Jets. Taylor did not have any publicly reported injuries and will have a long shot to make this roster in 2020.

New to the roster

DT Quinton Jefferson

Jefferson comes from Seattle, appearing to finally come into his own after a slow start to his career including two ACL tears and having an inability to stick on a roster. He eventually did become a role player with Seattle & became quite effective especially last season. However, he is coming off a Jones fracture in the postseason which required surgery.

There is a chance that he could have complications from the Jones fracture surgery, but he may be better off as he does not have to run & jump as some of his wide receiver counterparts which could place extra stress on the surgically repaired foot. To read more on Jefferson, check out the article at Buffalo Rumblings.

DT Vernon Butler

Butler comes to Buffalo via that strong Carolina pipeline that so many others have traveled. Regrettably, Butler comes with inconsistent play and several injuries to his name. Defensive tackles do take some time to adapt and as a former first-round pick, he still demonstrates some talent worth giving another shot. To read more about his injury history, check out Buffalo Rumblings.

2020 Outlook

Phillips, Oliver, Lotulelei, & Jefferson are all locks for the roster in 2020. Taylor and Butler have legitimate shots at making the roster and could benefit from roster expansion if there is a need due to the pandemic. Overall, the group is incredibly healthy with the exception of Phillips’ ACL tear when compared to other position groups.

Oliver should continue to grow as a defender & the hopes that Lotulelei can continue to be an effective player while Phillips regains his football abilities following a lost year will be key for this group to be successful. There is the option that the Bills could bring in other talents, but for now, this is a formidable group that can put pressure on the quarterback & provides a strong force upfront.

Week 17 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

Will this finally be the week that Nsekhe returns?

The big concern going into this game against the Jets is how long starters will play & what players will be inactive. This is especially worrisome due to the recent comments by Jets S Jamal Adams in which he stated they would be hunting along with Jets DC Gregg Williams. Along with that comment, Bills fans have to worry about cheap shots from DE Henry Anderson. If you recall, he blindsided K Stephen Hauschka last season which threw his game off for the rest of the season seen below. 

Thankfully, the Bills continue to manage their injuries well & are not forced to play players who are injured. Below are the injuries prior to the game & inactives.

OUT

WR Andre Roberts (foot)

Roberts was a surprise addition to the injury report following Saturday’s game. Reviewing the film, it’s not clear when he suffered his foot injury. There aren’t many plays that show when he could have possibly injured his foot, but a possible culprit is when he was blocking for QB Josh Allen on a designed run play early in the 3rd quarter, it appears he got kicked on the right ankle.

There was also another point in the 3rd quarter with 3:35 left in where he appeared to be limping slightly after the play. There didn’t appear to be a mechanism of injury prior to this play either which makes this difficult to identify the exact problem. Considering he hasn’t practiced this week & has already been ruled out, we can only hope that he will be ready for the playoffs. 

DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring)

Lawson has not been able to practice this week due to a hamstring strain suffered in Saturday’s loss to the Patriots. This occurred after a tackle for loss in the backfield during the 2nd half of the game. The actual tackle itself did not appear to be an issue, but rather the celebration afterward. He began to get up & celebrate, grabbing the hamstring in the process.

He was able to continue playing for the rest of the game but the injury appeared to catch up with him later. Even after a slight strain, the muscle is still painful & sore, requiring frequent stretching & controlled movement to allow healing but not overwork the area in order to prevent further injury. As he has already been ruled out, this is the smart move to do considering how valuable he will be in the playoffs. It will be interesting to note how the coaching staff rotates the defensive ends as there are only 4 on the roster.

QUESTIONABLE

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

I feel like we have been having the same conversation for the past 6 weeks regarding his injury. But new information is available! He finally appears to have made the expected progress, participating in practice on Thursday & looking quite well on film. He is moving with the fluidity of someone who is close to returning & appears to be close to 100%. 

Considering how he is moving, I’m making the assumption that he could have returned sooner, but how OT Cody Ford was playing, he wasn’t needed immediately. At this point, it is unnecessary for Nsekhe to play in Week 17, but he has missed the last 5 games which means he would benefit from some live reps in order to prepare for the playoffs. 

CLEARED TO PLAY

C Mitch Morse (right low ankle sprain)

Morse scared many Bills fans late in the 4th quarter in which he had his ankle rolled up on, reportedly feeling several pops & having difficulty walking on it initially. Fortunately, he was able to practice in full this week & not appear to have any limitations despite what appears to be a low ankle sprain. 

Morse is yet another starter that may play several series but overall benefit from a well-deserved rest day or even being declared inactive in order to ensure his health.

OTHER INJURIES

DT Harrison Phillips (left ACL)

Phillips has been out since September, diligently working back from a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely in the win over Cincinnati. Occasionally, news is released of Phillps attending practice, performing his rehab, & still participating in team activities. While it wasn’t expected that Phillips would return until next season, it’s great to see the progress being done in rehab. In the first tweet, below is Phillips running on an underwater treadmill to reduce the stress that land-based running would cause. In the other tweet, you can see the progress that Phillips has made & is demonstrating the proper muscle control during his step-up routine with a weighted vest. 

Even though he is unable to play this year, Phillips still understands his job & purpose on the team which further validates the culture that has been instilled at One Bills Drive. I expect to see more clips in the near future & see him inch closer & closer towards returning to football activities.

Probable Inactives:

TE Lee Smith

RB Frank Gore

S Micah Hyde

S Jordan Poyer

DE Shaq Lawson

WR Andre Roberts

G Quinton Spain

This would be a game that the Bills would be foolish to not play all their reserve players for much needed live snaps. It is probably the best bet to allow some of the veteran players a true rest day, have all the starters play several series & then act as backups in order to get through the game. It would be great to get to 11 wins, but not at the cost of a key contributor going down. 

The Jets are still a talented team, this is the NFL after all. But this is the best-case scenario in where the backups can get extensive playing time & get some film for next season when the roster churns over. Plus, I don’t think in any circumstance that Terry or Kim Pegula are forcing the coach to play certain players as in the still hotly debated topic of QB Doug Flutie or Rob Johnson. This will be a good game to allow the Bills to play & not worry about the outcome. There are bigger fish to fry next week with either traveling to Kansas City or Houston, both being true tests.

Top Photo Credit:

SBNation.com

Week 4 Bills Injury Preview- Patriots

Will mounting injuries prevent the Bills from getting a key win?

The Buffalo Bills enter Week 4 with a record of 3-0 against the also 3-0 New England Patriots with a chance to stay undefeated this late in the season for the first time since 2008. However, despite the promise of 4-0, the Bills have really taken the name of this website, Banged Up Bills, to a literal definition. Following Friday’s injury report, there are 11 players listed with a variety of injuries with even more who required veteran rest days. There have been thoughts that the Bills are taking a Patriots approach in injury reporting in order to confuse New England into having to over-prepare. While there might be a hint of the Patriot Way, the Bills are still dealing with very real injuries that will put several players availability into a game-time decision. Put a pot of coffee on, this is going to be a long one.

Special note:

If you haven’t read already, DT Harrison Phillips tore his ACL at the end of the game last week and has since moved to IR with eventual surgery. This was a big blow to the rotational depth at DT, but he suffered a direct contact ACL tear which are fairly difficulty to avoid. In his place, the Bills brought up former practice squad member DT Kyle Peko. To read more about Phillips, check out my video below & article at Buffalo Rumblings.

https://twitter.com/bangedupbills/status/1176327735444160512?s=21

RULED OUT

TE Tyler Kroft (right foot/left ankle)

Kroft is once again ruled out for the fourth straight week in a row with an injury. He is still recovering from the right foot injury that he suffered a possible Jones fracture back in OTA’s. However, the combination of the right foot fracture and left ankle sprain does not bode well for Kroft trying to return to play. There is a possibility he could return in Week 5 against Tennessee or return in Week 7 after the bye. If I was Brandon Beane, I would hold Kroft out until after the bye because TE Dawson Knox and TE Tommy Sweeney are filling in quite well in his place. 

LB Corey Thompson (ankle)

Thompson, like Kroft, is already ruled out for Sunday due to an ankle injury, later requiring surgery. He was questionable for last Sunday indicating the ankle injury was suffered previously. Reviewing film from Sunday’s win, he played in 6 special teams plays, 2 kick off’s & 4 punt coverage plays. Each play failed to show any possible mechanism of injury. All the plays occurred in the first quarter and he did not appear in the game after that. He may have determined that his ankle was bothering him too badly and declined to continue on which led to the eventual surgery.

I suspect that he had some type of ankle clean out due to possible bone chips or loose bodies from a previous injury. These are fairly routine but do take time to rehabilitate because it is still a surgery, even as minor as it appears. Ideally, with the bye week coming up, he can return quickly and continue his contributions as a key special-teams member.

RULED QUESTIONABLE

LB Maurice Alexander (knee)

Friday was the first instance where Alexander appeared on the injury report. It was reported that he was doing with a sore knee and held out of practice as a precaution. It’s unknown what is causing the knee soreness, but it has officially changed his status for Sunday to questionable. With an effective warmup before the game, he could be ready to play in limited action.

OG Jon Feliciano (neck)

Feliciano has been dealing with a neck injury suffered on the first scoring drive from Sunday. He was knocked over to the left onto C Mitch Morse and hit from the right side from Bengals DT Geno Atkins as he was falling down. He appeared to suffer a whiplash injury and did not return after the 2 point conversion. Later, he was observed wearing a neck brace in the locker room.

He has since been limited in practice the past two days with Friday able to practice in full. However, he is still designated as questionable most likely due to the limited practice days & whether he feels he can go for Sunday. The only way I do not see him playing Sunday is if he has a setback and he would have to make a decision not to play. If he is unable to go, G Ike Boettger or G Ryan Bates could step into his place. He has gone on the record reporting that he feels that he can play Sunday and I expect him to be a full participant.

WR Robert Foster (groin)

He appeared to suffer the groin injury on Wednesday, limiting him for Thursday. As this likely happened in practice, we do not know the severity or how it occurred. Foster has already been dealing with a turf toe injury during preseason dating all the way back to OTA‘s. I do not believe the turf toe is related to the groin. There is difficulty pushing off the toe and performing the movements expected every receiver to perform including twisting, cutting, pivoting, and running/sprinting. This would make everything that much more trying with a groin injury. While he is questionable, he is one guy that I could see inactive as the team already has WR John Brown as a deep threat and WR Cole Beasley underneath in order to keep the Patriots defense guessing.

CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring)

Johnson has been battling back from a hamstring injury suffered in the season opener, missing the past two games. However, he has looked incredibly good in practice from the video obtained from various beat reporters. It does not appear that he’s going full speed, though he appears to be much closer to full speed than others dealing with hamstrings. I have been on record multiple times stating that I believe he will play on Sunday and he’ll be a great matchup for the wide receivers. Expect him to play & be a difference-maker.

OG Spencer Long (ankle)

Long was another late addition to the injury report with a did not participate due to an ankle injury from either Thursday/Friday. Like Foster, we do not know the extent of his injury, nor what caused it. He is ruled questionable; this may be a game-time decision to determine if he feels he can play Sunday.

WR Isaiah McKenzie (ankle)

McKenzie was added to the injury report Thursday with a did not participate, but was able to practice in full Friday. Like several mentioned above, we do not know the extent of the ankle injury or how it occurred. There does not appear to be anything on film to suggest that there is an injury; unfortunately injuries are easy to miss due to how TV broadcasts show the game. He is somebody that is likely to play on Sunday.

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

Singletary is one of the key components in the Bills offensive attack early in the 2019 season. He has been electrifying, producing 12.7 yards a carry and showing that he can handle the load left vacant by the sudden cut of veteran RB LeSean McCoy. Unfortunately, Singletary suffered a left hamstring strain late in the win over the Giants. He missed the last game as expected but has looked quite good from video obtained during the week. Since this is a hamstring injury, he is still 50/50 and will likely be a game-time decision depending on how he feels. I have a sneaking suspicion that he will play on Sunday but may be limited to prevent overworking and re-injury of the hamstring.

EXPECTED TO PLAY

WR Zay Jones (shoulder)

Jones made the injury list as a surprise addition early in the week with a shoulder injury. From my previous tweets & observations on Locked On Bills, we know that he has a shoulder injury, but don’t know the severity, side, or type. We know that he had a torn labrum two seasons ago for which he had it repaired and did not appear to have any issues last year. I do not believe this is a recurrence of the injury and there wasn’t anything from the Bengals game to suggest any new injuries. This might be soreness that the team wants to avoid any type of contact to prevent limiting his catch radius. He was not designated questionable and is expected to play Sunday.

CB Tre’Davious White (neck)

White was once again on the injury report with a neck injury now 2 weeks ago. He was wearing a red non-contact jersey Wednesday & Thursday for practice. Thankfully, he was able to practice in full on Friday and did not have an injury designation for the game Sunday. I am still not certain exactly what Tre is dealing with but this might be something that the team is closely monitoring and ensuring that he isn’t injured further in practice. As he is now becoming an established veteran, he has begun to earn these rest breaks and limited play in order to preserve his body.

If you’re still reading, congratulations, you are a true Buffalo Bills fan! I anticipate that there is a little gamesmanship going on to prevent the Patriots from fully knowing who will be playing on Sunday. I expect the inactive list to read as follows: 

Robert Foster

Ike Boettger

Conor McDermott

Ryan Bates

JaQuan Johnson

Tyler Kroft

Corey Thompson 

The only wildcards from this are Feliciano & Singletary. If the Bills are hurting for RB, they can call up RB Byron Marshall or WR Duke Williams if Foster can’t go. This is exactly the reason for depth.

Despite the Patriots being who they are, the Bills are playing at home with a deep and talented roster. I truly believe they have a legitimate shot to win. It will not require perfection, but little to no mistakes to come out victorious. Costly errors will quickly submarine their chances to move to 4-0. If the Bills come out with a W, I expect that New Era Field may shake so hard from the raucous cheering from Bills Mafia that it crumbles to the foundation. LET’S GO BILLS!

 

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.

Bills Season Injury Review: Defensive Tackles

Assessing the 2018 Bills injuries at the defensive tackle position.

OTA’s are nearly done and mandatory minicamp is approaching! This week marks the end of Phase 3 of organized team activities in which the Bills slowly ramp up incorporating game plans and molding each unit towards success in 2019. One group that experienced a high turnover from 2018 is the defensive tackle position. Only 2 players and 2 practice squad players come back to training camp that will be relied upon to pressure QB’s and disrupts the offensive line in order for the rest of the defense to do their job.

The first player reviewed is DT Robert Thomas. The journeyman saw time in 2 games early in the season, appearing in the loss to the Chargers, followed by the win over the Vikings. He was then cut and resigned to the practice squad later in the year. He did not record any defensive stats or suffer any injuries. As he has bounced around the league from the Redskins, Dolphins, and Giants, he will have an uphill battle to climb in order to make the roster in 2019.

DT Adolphus Washington was unceremoniously cut, leaving town after an overall disappointing career during his time in Buffalo. The former 3rd round pick appeared in the season opener for Buffalo, recording 2 tackles before being waived where he was later picked up by Cincinnati where he played sparingly for the rest of the season. He did not suffer any injuries during his time in Buffalo and won’t be returning to the team as he was yet another member of the previous regime that Beane & Co. removed.

Next is DT Kyle Peko who was a practice squad member all of last season. He did not get activated for any games, as a result, did not accumulate any stats or suffer any known injuries. Like Thomas, he will have a tough time making this roster unless he really shows something special in camp.

DT Harrison Phillips worked through a promising rookie season, appearing in 16 games, racking up 1 fumble recovery, 35 total tackles with 20 solo, 15 assisted, and 2 tackles for loss. He was the only defensive tackle on the team this season that played in every game and did not suffer any known injuries. While most of the fan base expects him to be the next Kyle Williams, right now he is just Harrison Phillips hoping to build off a promising rookie season. He is a lock to make the roster and Bills Mafia may riot if he’s cut/traded.

The other Phillips on the team, DT Jordan Phillips was a mid-season signing after he was cut by the Miami Dolphins. The former 2nd round pick appeared in 12 games, obtaining 1 fumble recovery, 19 total tackles, 12 solo, 7 assisted and 2 tackles for loss. Phillips also did not suffer any known injuries and re-signed in Buffalo for a one year, prove it deal that will allow him to get his 2nd contract if he plays effectively as a rotational/depth piece. He is a near lock to make the roster barring injury. 

Moving to the heavy hitters of the D-Line, DT Star Lotulelei appeared in 16 games with 17 total tackles, 10 solo, 7 assisted, and 1 tackle for loss. While he is one of the higher paid players on the team, many wondered why he produced so little. He was a big body that took up space in the middle and allowed others on the D-Line to do their job more effectively. The fact that he was relatively healthy didn’t hurt at all either. Injury-wise, he only suffered a back/neck injury which I believed was a trapezius strain in the preseason against the Panthers. He did not miss anytime as a result and that appeared to be an injury that healed up well without any long term issues as evident by appearing in all 16 games. He is a lock to make the roster and will provide leadership and act as a transition piece as the defensive tackle position gets younger.

Finally, the Bill of all Bills, DT Kyle Williams. While there have been many more skilled players to put on the Bills uniform, few played with the heart that he showed every week, year in and year out during his 13-year career. While he never won a Super Bowl or many team accolades, he really provided the leadership needed to get through some of the drought years and helped instill the new coaching regime’s message which had an immediate impact, making the playoffs for the only time in Williams’ career.

Stat wise, Williams appeared in 16 games with 16 starts, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 5 sacks, 35 total tackles, 22 solo, and 6 tackles for loss. He also appeared on the offensive side of the ball during his last game, hauling in 1 catch for 9 yards. Injury-wise, he suffered a Grade 1-2 MCL tear in his right leg during the preseason game against the Browns. Williams also suffered another injury to his right knee during the win over the Titans that appeared to be a contusion and he only missed 1-2 series before returning. Finally, he dealt with a back injury late in the season against the Lions, but did not show any signs of slowing down the last 2 games of the season. If he wanted to come back for another season, the coaching staff would welcome him back with open arms, but Williams does not appear to be a man who wavers on his decisions. He is finished, he can rest, and he can walk away knowing he gave everything to the Buffalo Bills. I wish him well in his retirement.

Overall, the defensive tackle position will have a lot of turnover, leading to fresh faces as the position gets younger. Only Star Lotulelei, Harrison Phillips, newly drafted DT Ed Oliver, and quite possibly DT Jordan Phillips make the roster for next season. While there may be others who make the roster including DT Quindarius Thagard, DT Robert Thomas, and DT Kyle Peko, this doesn’t appear to be a position that has many surprises going into training camp or the regular season.

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!!