Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- S

Assessing the safety position injuries from the 2017 season and personnel expectations going forward.

We are 3 weeks away from the opening of the 2018 NFL season with the beginning of training camp! Here at Banged Up Bills, I have been trying to stay cool and sane despite the excessive heat and lack of football. Today’s post will finish up the injuries on the defensive side of the ball at the safety position. The secondary overall was an incredibly strong position for the Bills this past season and going into the 2018 season, this does not appear to change.

Stepping up first for review is S Jordan Poyer. The transplant from Cleveland spent the first 4 seasons mostly with Cleveland along with a cup of coffee in Philadelphia before signing a free agent deal with the Bills in 2017. He rewarded the Bills handsomely with 5 interceptions with one TD, one fumble recovery, 2 sacks along with 95 total tackles 63 solo and 32 assisted. These are fantastic stats for a player that Cleveland did not want back. In addition to his versatile abilities on the field, Poyer was able to stay relatively healthy, appearing in 15 games, missing only the Raiders game with a knee injury. He was incredibly durable this season despite the high injury risks that the position comes with. As Poyer is a veteran, he understands how to take care of his body and prepare for each game. Expect another standout year from Poyer!

Next up is S Micah Hyde who was also a castoff from the Green Bay Packers after 4 years. The dynamic play maker appeared in all 16 games producing 5 interceptions along with 82 total tackles, 65 solo and 17 assisted. The 5th year veteran has also been incredibly durable during his time in the league, rarely missing any games which demonstrate why this coaching staff values Hyde so highly. Despite Hyde not missing any time, he also dealt with several minor knee injuries that limited his play at times but did not signify any longer term issues. Similar to Poyer, expect Hyde to continue to prepare like a veteran and come ready to play every week.

Another player who saw time at the safety position this year was S Shamarko Thomas. The 5th year veteran saw action in 12 games but did not record any defensive statistics, making the most of his playing time on special teams. As he did not see many defensive snaps, he was able to avoid injury. Thomas finds himself a free agent going into the 2018 season and could be a candidate to come back at a veteran minimum but that is most likely the reason he was not retained as he became cost prohibitive.

Rounding out players who saw playing time at safety is S Colt Anderson. The oft-injured safety was used more frequently as a special teams ace in years past but his time in Buffalo was forgettable. In 2 years, he appeared in 7 games and not recording any defensive statistics. He had dealt with hand, foot, and forearm injury which cost him significant playing time. This past year, a broken forearm cost him 11 games and when he finally returned, was largely ineffective. As one may guess, he was not re-signed to the team going into the 2018 season. After the multitude of injuries over his career, he may see fit to hang it up rather than try to find another team due to his lack of availability. I do not even envision him coming back as a camp body in any fashion. My final thought on Anderson, he was a holdover from the Rex Ryan staff, I do not understand what the Bills saw in him as he was unable to stay healthy.

As for new personnel, there are many new faces coming into the secondary with the addition of S Dean Marlowe, S Kelcie McCray, S LJ McCray via the practice squad this past season. In addition, S Rafael Bush was brought in via free agency; a more detailed report can be found here. Finally, the Bills brought in S Siran Neal via a 5th round pick who could project to be a top backup with a strong training camp performance.

While this group is veteran heavy with Poyer and Hyde, they will need Bush and Neal to step up and provide effective depth as it is difficult to totally avoid injuries. With strong training camps, Marlowe, McCray & McCray can step up and add another dimension to the already strong unit. This is a position group I do not worry about due to the talent level, but could drastically change with a serious injury.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for training camp content, injury reviews, and any other breaking news to come out of One Bills Drive. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. Feel free to contact me with any questions or content you would like to see. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 9 Injury Breakdown- Jets

Breaking down the Bills injury report for the New York Jets and impact on tonight’s game.

The Buffalo Bills go into their second match up of the season against the New York Jets with the best start for the franchise since 2011 and with a win, move to 6-2 and have their best start since 1993 when they started 7-1. This team continues to get healthier week after week despite key starters go down with injury. It is nearly impossible to go through an entire season without a team sustaining major injury, but the Bills are close to perfection in this area.

Breaking down the injury report for tonight’s game against the New York Jets, several injuries are worth noting. First off, TE Charles Clay (knee) and CB E.J. Gaines (hamstring) are listed as out for the game. No surprise with Clay considering the type of knee injury he sustained. Gaines is out because after coming off a groin injury, he sustained a hamstring injury the next game. While I do believe each injury alone isn’t severe enough to warrant an extended absence, the combined injuries along with their location require proper rest and rehab to ensure healing. I still believe Clay is several weeks away from returning to game shape, but is clearly progressing. Gaines should be ready for the Saints game, barring any set backs or new information.

S Jordan Poyer (knee) and LB Ramon Humber (thumb) are both listed as questionable. Poyer injured his knee during the last play of the Buccaneer’s game and missed the Raiders game as a result. I had originally thought that he sustained a Grade 1 MCL sprain and based on this latest news, still maintain that. I believe he will be a game time decision based on how he performs in warm ups. MetLife stadium is synthetic turf which can increase the ability for feet to stick in turf and can lead to the possibility of greater injury. However, if Poyer believes he can play, then I see no reason why he can’t. The medical staff has been on point this season and I do not believe he would rush back sooner than he needs to. I believe he will play Thursday without any signs of injury or risk further damage.

Humber has been out since October 1st with a broken thumb sustained against the Falcons. It has been 4 weeks since the injury which is enough time for a bone in that area to heal. It is unknown if he will play with any sort of protective bracing, but I also believe he will be ready to play Thursday night. If Humber does play, I would expect his reps to be limited in order to keep him fresh and allow LB Matt Milano to continue to develop as a rookie.

The rest of the injury report all practiced with full participation which included G Richie Incognito (ankle), T Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), C Eric Wood (ankle), and WR Zay Jones (shoulder). Most of these injuries with the exception of Glenn appear to be the normal wear and tear of the NFL season. Nothing appears to be worse than it seems and should resolve with the extended break in between the Jets and Saints game.

Finally, despite what happens with Poyer and Humber, I believe that their replacements are suitable to fill in one more week if they play as well as they did against the Raiders. I expect a win out of these Bills and get the season sweep over the Jets. There is always a risk for injury especially in these division games where each team appears to bring their A-game, but the Bills are a deeper, more complete team that should wear down the Jets as the game wears on.

Check for my injury analysis following the Jets game and any new updates that occur. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 8 Recap- Raiders

Discussing the Buffalo Bills injury report following a dominating win over the Oakland Raiders.

These Bills continue to make me BILL-EVE!!! With a dominating 33-14 win over the Oakland Raiders, the Bills move to 5-2 on the season and 4-0 at home. These Bills look good!! While we have been here before recently in 2008 and 2011, finishing 7-9 and 6-10 respectively, this team is different. There are still tough games ahead including match ups with the Patriots and Dolphins twice, Chiefs, and Saints. If the Buffalo Bills continue to play complete games as they have most of the season, there’s no reason why they can’t continue to win. I expect some losses coming up, but this team does not appear capable of long losing streaks. I may come back and eat crow for that statement, but I continue to remain optimistic on these Bills!

With a convincing Buffalo Bills win despite the cold and rainy weather, injuries continue to remain at a minimum. The slick surface contributed to this as this lessened the chance for firm planting in the ground, leading to decreased major knee and ankle injuries. With decreased friction at point of contact with the ground, this leads to decreased force through the joints. Makes it very hard for running, but the Bills did just fine with LeSean McCoy rushing for 151 yards and a TD.

Notable injuries to the Buffalo Bills today included WR Zay Jones (Shoulder), C Eric Wood (Ankle), and G Richie Incognitio (Ankle). It is unknown when both Jones and Wood sustained their injuries, but considering they are on a short week, any possible injury must be reported and managed. If this were a normal week, this may not have even come to light. Jones was a full participant in practice and while Wood and Incognitio were limited, this is not concerning as they are both veterans. It is concerning that Jones is listed on the injury report after his most successful game to date, but I suspect it is nothing more than general soreness.

TE Charles Clay (Knee) and LB Ramon Humber (Thumb) continue to be out with their previously mentioned injuries. Originally, I believed that Humber should have come back shortly after his surgery, but not knowing the specifics of his particular injury clearly altered my initial projection. With the emergence of LB Matt Milano continuing to demonstrate stellar play allows Humber to take his time to get healthy.

I had originally also stated that Clay would be able to return for the Colts game which would have put him at 10 weeks from initial injury. As the Bills did not put him on short term IR, this allows the possibility to return sooner. Reports state that he has been stretching and preparing to practice, but has not been cleared yet. If the Bills clear him to practice and play in time for the Saints game, this would be a fantastic and incredibly short recovery. It is still within the realm of possibility, but I would still expect him to be out until at least the Chiefs game, possibly the Chargers game if he’s really pushing to play. While the knee can heal quicker than expected, the change in weather and surfaces will have an impact on when he returns which can alter re-injury rates.

Despite missing both S Jordan Poyer and CB E.J. Gaines due to injuries sustained last game, the secondary did not struggle as everyone believed they would. Filling in without missing a beat, CB Trae Elston came up with his first interception and CB Micah Hyde continued his stellar play, collecting his 5th interception of the season. I would expect that they continue to hold Gaines out until the Chiefs game to ensure prevention of further re-injury. Gaines goes all out which is appreciated, but not at the risk of turning into the Buffalo Bills version of S Bob Sanders when he was with the Colts during their Super Bowl run.

Through all these smaller injuries, this depth the Buffalo Bills have exhibited so far this season is the reason why they have stormed out to a 5-2 start. While some of these players are not starting material week-to-week, the idea is that the backup can come in and play up to par in short term stints until the starter can return. The Bills continue to avoid season ending injuries and key players missing extended time. It is impossible for a team to get through a season without injury, but the Bills are pretty close to that at this time. With the exception of Clay, Humber, Gaines, and possibly Poyer, I expect everyone else on the injury report to play Thursday without any limitations.

Continue to check back on a regular basis for updates on new injuries, my personal thoughts and observations, and detailed explanation on Bills specific injuries. Thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!

Week 8 Injury Breakdown- Raiders

Assessing the latest Buffalo Bills injury report and implications for Sunday’s match up against the Oakland Raiders.

Since today’s injury report was released today, relatively nothing new has occurred injury wise with the Bills. LB Ramon Humber and TE Charles Clay continue to be on the mend with their respective injuries. RB LeSean McCoy, DT Kyle Williams, LB Lorenzo Alexander did not practice secondary to requiring a rest day. Those guys go hard every Sunday, a rest day is more than well deserved. CB E.J. Gaines (hamstring), S Jordan Poyer (knee), and G Richie Incognitio (ankle) did not practice secondary to their recent injuries.

I had previously given my thoughts on Gaines and Poyer in my last article. With soft tissue injuries, there are general guidelines based on severity, but it ultimately come down to each player’s response to the injury. I still believe Poyer may be able to play Sunday, but the Bills continue to be proactive, releasing CB Tony McRae and signing CB Lafayette Pitts, who has spent time with Miami and Jacksonville the past 2 seasons.

G Richie Incognito did injure his ankle early in the 2nd quarter, sat out several plays, and was able to return to the game. It appears as though he may have sprained his ankle, which is not surprising considering his position. Considering he was able to continue playing, sitting out today’s practice especially in the rainy weather, ensured that he could have an additional day to rest his ankle. With proper bracing, Incognitio may be able to play Sunday, but not knowing the severity clouds my ability to make a definitive prognosis.

It is worth mentioning that WR Jordan Matthews is no longer listed on the injury report. While I am not an expert yet in the reporting of injuries to the NFL, this indicates two things. This indicates that Matthews did not have a set back in his recovery from thumb surgery. This also indicates that he is most likely not back at 100% though. Just because he is not listed does not mean that he is still not still healing. I expect him to continue wearing his brace for protection for at least another 1-2 games until team doctors can be confident that he will not re-fracture the area.

The only other notable injury is LB Preston Brown. He was able to participate in practice despite a shoulder injury. There is not any information other than the official press release to indicate the nature of the shoulder injury. Brown’s job is to throw his body at a moving object and stop it in its tracks. I expect that his shoulder will hurt from time to time due to the repeated impacts. As the NFL injury rules are quite strict, it is in the Bills best interest to report all injuries. As there is no information on the shoulder and he was a full participant, this does not concern me at all and does not indicate any underlying chronic issues.

Minimizing the injuries continue to be a focus of this team and while the secondary has taken a hit, the team as a whole continues to be relatively healthy. The secondary was awful last year; so far it has exceeded expectations, but this will be an area that Oakland will attempt to exploit in order to win. This will be an area that I expect the Bills to continue to address on the waiver wire and in next year’s draft. I still believe the Bills have the talent to win this game, but if the Bills have to lose, I would rather be it this game than a winnable game such as the Chargers or Jets in the next several weeks. My football predictions may not be accurate, but my knowledge of the injuries are. That’s why you are here reading.

Look for future posts including my thoughts on Sean McDermott and the culture he is instilling in Buffalo. I will continue to report on the Buffalo Bills injuries as they occur and begin to incorporate new items into my posts as they become relevant. As always, thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!

Week 7 Recap- Buccaneers

Breaking down the latest on EJ Gaines and Jordan Poyer injuries and following the exciting win over the Buccaneers.

The Buffalo Bills continue to thrill and excite the fan base with a fantastic 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! Despite giving up 27 points to the Bucs, the Buffalo defense made key stops including a late fumble recovery by Tre’Davious White to set up the game winning field goal. Buffalo is now 4-2, including 3-0 at home, making Sean McDermott the first Bills head coach to start 3-0 at home. These Bills continue to impress, but key injuries may derail the good times.

Thankfully, the Bills injuries continue to occur at a minimum, but injuries in the secondary may be ill timed with the Oakland Raiders offense coming to life. CB E.J. Gaines suffered a hamstring injury during a tackle on DeSean Jackson early in the 3rd quarter. Gaines was able to walk off on his own power but was unable to return. As reports are minimal at best to avoid giving a competitive advantage to their opponents, Gaines has been listed day-to-day. Based on this report, he may have suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain.

If you recall from my article on hamstrings, this is something that can be managed conservatively and is a week-to-week injury. It’s possible that he may be able to play in time for the Oakland game, but considering that Gaines had a hamstring injury in training camp and is just recently coming off a groin injury, this doesn’t bode well. Unfortunately, these are soft tissue injuries and while can be reduced, they are not fully preventable.

I would not hang the “injury-prone” tag on Gaines though at this time. During each time he has been injured, he has been going all out trying to make the play. I would rather have him go all out trying to make a play rather than a player taking it easy, such as CB Stephon Gilmore, who we dealt with for far too long last season. However, I believe based on all the previous history, he misses next week. As Brandon Beane has been known to do, he has been preemptive, signing CB Tony McRae and releasing WR Kaelin Clay with the uncertainty following the injury.

This signing was also made with the recent injury of S Jordan Poyer. His injury came on the last play of the game in which Tampa Bay attempted their pathetic imitation of the Music City Miracle. They were playing the Bills, you’re not going to fool them twice! Video of the play shows a player hitting Poyer low and Poyer reporting he felt a pop. Based on video, it appears he did injure his right knee, though the injury does not appear to be as severe as it could have been.

During the hit, Poyer was able to begin lifting his leg and turn his hip inward away from the hit, allowing him to deflect some of the force on the knee joint. As he was able to walk off with the trainers, this also indicates that this may be a Grade 1 MCL sprain. Thankfully, this MCL sprain is nowhere near the severity of the Charles Clay injury. I believe there is a better shot at Poyer playing Sunday than Gaines at the moment. This week’s practice will dictate how each player responds to the injury. I believe that the Bills could go without one of these players, but not both.

Finally, WR Jordan Matthews was able to suit up and play, recording 3 targets for 2 catches for 10 yards. While this is not the type of production the Bills had hoped for, this far exceeded expectations considering he is still coming off a broken thumb. It was a stretch that he was able to play this week, it appeared that he was used more as a decoy to help in allowing WR Deonte Thompson to make his mark after being signed off the street earlier last week. Having Matthews return to play gives Tyrod another weapon going into next week’s game against the Raiders.

Despite missing TE Charles Clay and using a less than effective Jordan Matthews, Tyrod Taylor was able to spread the ball around to Thompson, Logan Thomas, Nick O’Leary, LeSean McCoy, and even Zay Jones. Despite missing some top end talent on the roster, the Bills still benefit from the depth at each position which allows for a next man up mentality. I believe this is why the Bills have been able to stay in every game this season and win the close ones such as Sunday’s game. This formula will not work every week, but the Bills have to begin winning the close ones in order to have a shot at turning their years’ long misfortunes around.

The Bills aren’t losing anyone to season ending injuries, unlike many other teams in the league. Depth continues to be a concern, but it is not as though other teams lose their starting player and a Pro Bowl caliber replacement is warming the bench. I believe with this depth and team first mentality, the Bills can beat the Oakland Raiders and move to 5-2 on the season. The Raiders do have a talented offense lead by Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, but if the secondary can get healthy in time, this should limit the effectiveness of the passing game. With how the Bills defense has played this season, I expect McDermott and Frazier to draw up a defensive game plan to limit the Raiders offense.

I know that many Bills fans are still on the edge despite a 4-2 start. The Bills have been here several times in the past with poor finishes. This may be another year in which that’s the case. Experience, injuries, schedule all play a part in the rest of the season. Time will tell how the rest of the season plays out; I will continue to hope for the best, but prepare for moments that remind me why I am a Bills fan. Until then, I will continue to cheer and enjoy the moment. Thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!