Week 7 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Will Kroft, Johnson, & Singletary finally make their home debuts?

The Bills are back into the swing of things following a well deserved & well-timed bye week. The team has been preparing all week getting ready for a tire fire that is the Miami Dolphins franchise, looking to move to 5-1. While most fans are overlooking this game as a win, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL & this is no exception. Regardless of the opponent, the Bills are getting healthier for the next 11 games. The injury concerns are as follows:

QUESTIONABLE:

LB Matt Milano (left hamstring)

Milano resumed practice Monday performing ladder drills off to the side while everyone else ran through regular drills. Considering that Milano plays such a vital role in the defense & has to react to what he’s seeing in front of him, forcing him to keep up with the play. He will have to backpedal, change directions suddenly, and sprint. These activities will require a full recovery before attempting to return to play.

Milano was limited in practice Wednesday but was running and performing drills, indicating that he may be further along than originally anticipated. He was running a straight line, albeit, not full speed. He was performing tackling drills without much compensation. He is moving well considering he had a hamstring injury, but doesn’t appear to be fully healthy. He has been ruled questionable & I don’t expect him to play. 

LB Corey Thompson (ankle surgery)

As it’s well known now, Thompson has been working back from ankle surgery that has kept him out the past 2 games.

The video showed that Thompson returned to practice in a limited fashion Wednesday indicating that he is approaching his return. He may be nearly healthy & just working to get back into game shape. It is still unknown what ankle he had the surgery on but the video appears to show some greater bulk on the right ankle which may indicate bracing for extra support. He has since been ruled questionable, but I believe he has a shot to play in a special teams role to work back into game shape. He could also be available as an emergency backup in the likely event that Milano doesn’t play. 

CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring)

Johnson has been an enigma this season, coming back from a torn labrum last season that ended his season prematurely. He appeared incredibly healthy & ready to take the next step until he suffered a right hamstring strain during the Jets game. He has since missed the past 4 games that makes me believe he suffered some type of setback prior to the Patriots game. 

It’s a shame that his body does not appear to withstand the rigors of the NFL game. This doesn’t mean he won’t even be able to play again, but he may need to reinvent himself in order to last longer than 1 season in the league. 

This week’s practice was promising that he was practicing in full, but no other updates other than his availability was noted. Interestingly though, he has been ruled questionable. The only possibility is that he wants to test it out to ensure that he is truly ready. He’s been out long enough that he should be fully healthy & regain his starting role in the secondary.

WILL PLAY:

WR Robert Foster (turf toe/groin)

Foster continues to battle through a recent groin injury & what is now a possible lingering turf toe injury. While the groin injury is more pronounced, the toe is still likely causing issues regarding running efficiency. 

However, things are looking promising for Foster as he was able to practice in full this week indicating that while he may not be 100%, he is closer to playing this week as indicated by the practice designation. Players are deemed to practice in full if they take all the normal reps at that position. They are limited if they miss reps by design or due to injury. If they did not take reps, but practiced on the side, then they are did not participate.  Thankfully, Foster will be able to play Sunday. 

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

We still don’t know the specifics dealing with Nsekhe, coming off a minor Week 3 ankle injury followed by a Week 4 injury that appears to have been either a contusion or high ankle sprain. According to still pictures from Monday’s practice, this may be more of a contusion as he did not appear to have any bracing on the right ankle. Other shots showed that he was able to go through blocking drills without any significant issues. 

Wednesday’s practice noted that he did not practice due to requiring a veteran rest day, but the video showed him performing warm-ups and side-stepping drills. Fortunately, Nsekhe was able to practice in full Thursday despite the cold & rainy weather which indicates that this supports the contusion theory. Friday’s injury report states that he will play Sunday.

There is a concern that Nsekhe is unable to hold up through an entire game, much less than an entire season. He is 33 years old in a physically demanding position with nearly a decade of professional football to his resume. Whether he can withstand full games anymore is only something that Nsekhe & the training staff know. If OT Cody Ford continues through his development, there is hope that Nsekhe can sink back into a reserve role. Until then, he will rotate with Ford unless the team says otherwise.

TE Tyler Kroft (left ankle/right foot)

Kroft is finally looking good after an incredibly trying season thus far. The video below shows that the right foot appears to be completely healed up & the left foot/ankle accepting dynamic weight bearing activities during the cone drill. He doesn’t appear to miss a step, he doesn’t appear to favor one side or slow down when pushing off. I’m very optimistic about him finally making his season debut. He was able to practice in full this week which is about as good of a sign as one can get.

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

Without question, Singletary will play Sunday! He looks excellent on video, there haven’t been any changes in how he looks from the last video available & barring a meteor hitting Buffalo, he should play, even if the weather isn’t ideal. At some point, an athlete has to play. The conditions will only be so ideal or so much rest will help. He may get injured, but any guy can be injured on any given play. Singletary continues to look good in practice this week & there should be no reason why he can’t play Sunday. 

OT Cody Ford & DE Trent Murphy (concussions)

Both Ford & Murphy are working back from concussions sustained in the Titans game and appear to be making some progress. Reports from Monday’s practice indicated that both were working through the protocol performing light aerobic exercise which indicates that appear to be in Stage 2 of the concussion protocol.

However, this week’s practices indicated that both were able to practice in full signifying that were in Stage 5, requiring that they needed to be cleared by an independent neurologist. Monday’s practice may have been just the nature of the activities they were performing rather than the actual stage of recovery. They have both appeared to have been cleared by the neurologist which indicates they will play Sunday. 

WR John Brown (groin)

Brown was a surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday with a groin injury & was limited in practice. His snap counts from the past 5 games can be seen below & did not greatly differ from game to game. 

Reviewing game footage from the Titans game didn’t reveal any specific instances of injury which leads me to believe that he suffered the injury during Wednesday’s practice. Thursday’s practice was more promising in that he moved well on film, but did not show his full abilities. However, he has since been ruled in to play but it will be interesting to see if his snap count is affected by the groin & addition of Foster. 

C Mitch Morse (right ankle)

Morse sat out the rest of the Titans game as what appeared to be a precaution to avoid worsening any injuries. He appeared to be dealing with a contusion suffered midway through the 2nd quarter. While there is pain, there isn’t much that is functionally wrong. He should not have any issues come Sunday & continue to demonstrate why he’s one of the highest paid centers in the NFL. This week’s practice supported how he is recovering with no bracing or difficulties observed according to reports. He at most may have had his ankle wrapped in prewrap & tape, but this would not be concerning for his ability to play Sunday.

QB Josh Allen (hand)

Allen appeared on the injury report this week with a hand injury but was able to practice in full. To specify, he injured his left hand when he threw his interception against the Titans in where he hit his hand against Harold Landry III’s shoulder pads.

This may a contusion that he is still having some pain with, this may also be a minor sprain of the metacarpophalengeal joint due to the direct hit on the shoulder pads. He may have some bracing to the area at worst, but unlikely as it would restrict his ability to grip the football if he were to run or have to protect the ball. 

However, as pointed out by a follower on Twitter, the injury report indicated the right hand was injured. This is a new development & previously unknown what caused this. As he practiced in full, this may not be an issue, but certainly, something to monitor. 

My predictions for inactive’s are:

LB Matt Milano

OG Ike Boettger

OG Ryan Bates

S Jaquan Johnson

S Dean Marlowe

WR Isaiah McKenzie

TE Tommy Sweeney

This is a very winnable game to get to 5-1. This Bills team is not what we are used to seeing, getting full of themselves, beating them at their own game when cupcakes like this come up on the schedule. This is a team that is built to play, a team that knows their role each and every Sunday. This team may not be the most talented, but they are certainly one of the hardest working. The bye week really made a difference in health & allowed the Bills to get back in the right frame of mind for the next 11+ games. 

 

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 5 Bills Injury Preview- Titans

Will Allen be cleared to play in time?

While the Bills are still banged up, they are far from out of contention after the quarter pole of the season. They sit at 3-1 with the 3rd best record in the AFC and still very much in control of their own destiny. While there is a lot of uncertainty heading into Week 5 against the Titans, most of the players are starting to turn the corner injury-wise. Today’s article outlines the injuries heading into Week 5 and who is expected to play.

RULED OUT:

LB Corey Thompson (ankle) & TE Tyler Kroft (ankle)

Thompson is still dealing with surgery that was likely the result of a cleanout from a previously unknown injury. His timeline is fluid and is not expected to be back for another 2-3 weeks at best guess. Kroft is still working back from his low ankle sprain in his left ankle & I would not expect him to be back until after the bye. Until he gets 3 consecutive full days of practice in, consider him benched until further notice. 

 

QUESTIONABLE:

QB Josh Allen (concussion)

As it’s widely known, Allen is coming off a concussion sustained Sunday at the result of Patriots CB Jonathan Jones. There has been a lot of optimism that he can return to play Sunday but historically, most players who sustain a concussion miss the next week. There have been instances where last season QB Phillip Rivers cleared concussion protocol before clobbering the Bills in the 2017 season in the infamous Nathan Peterman game. Former Bill RB LeSean McCoy suffered a concussion last year in the loss to the Colts & returned in time for MNF against the Patriots. 

Concussions are unique in that no one is ever the same and timelines for recovery vary. Considering Allen was in Stage 4 of the protocol all this week & practiced in full, this still isn’t a guarantee. He still has to be cleared by the independent neurologist. The reports look promising and I’m leaning towards him playing, but until we get word that he’s cleared, there isn’t a guarantee he plays. 

S Dean Marlowe (concussion)

Marlowe suffered his concussion after the first Bills scoring drive in which he wrapped up the kick returner before getting hit in the head as he required assistance to complete the tackle. This was with about 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. He appeared wobbly on the field before reportedly was assessed for a head injury. Like Allen, Marlowe is in protocol & appeared to be in Stage 4 as well. If Marlowe is able to clear the protocol, he will be a key special teams player & necessary depth. If he isn’t cleared, expect S JaQuan Johnson to go.

FB Patrick DiMarco (concussion)

DiMarco was a surprise addition to the injury report this week with the 3rd concussion from Sunday. While we generally know when Marlowe’s occurred & certainly when Allen’s happened, DiMarco’s was less apparent. DiMarco was in the game with 3:19 left in the 4th quarter on punt coverage indicating he wasn’t knocked out of the game like several others. He did suffer a hard hit several times including on 2nd & 9 on the flea-flicker to RB TJ Yeldon while performing a chop block. He does get a knee to the head but doesn’t appear to be initially fazed. He also takes a hard hit on 4th & 10 with 8:44 left in the 4th quarter, but this wasn’t out of the ordinary for physical football hits. 

During Wednesday’s practice, he was able to be on the sidelines working on the stationary bike indicating that he is in Stage 2-3, working through increasing the heart rate & tolerating sustained physical activity. Thursday improved his status to Stage 4 with him participating in non-contact activities. Friday indicated that he practiced in full. It’s likely but uncertain if he will play Sunday, but considering how important he is in special teams, it would be beneficial.

Author’s Note:

I try to keep these articles as objective as possible with a little bit of opinion because, well, it’s my website. But I’ve noticed that a lot of people on Twitter are on the bandwagon that if Allen sits for an extra week, then he’ll be extra healthy, especially after the bye. Some people have commented that how do we know if the brain is fully healthy? How can he heal so quickly?

Frankly, we don’t know the brain is fully healthy. We don’t have the technology at this point to look further. But what we do have is objective measure testing. What this encompasses is testing his memory and processing through cognitive testing, his coordination & how his eyes are responding/interacting with input from the outside world with vestibular testing, his physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness which can be measured by heart rate & blood pressure. 

We’re looking at baseline testing from the beginning of the season & compared to how he re-tests to measure where he is at. The hope is that he excels and outperforms the baseline. The baseline acts as a control in the scientific method. The experiment is objective testing. The idea is that does this objective testing correctly measure whether he is healthy & able to return? So far, we have seen this utilized successfully & with great results. 

So what does this boil down to? Once the testing shows that a player has been tested & passes protocol, then he is cleared. Simple as that. Until there are methods that further identify whether the brain is fully healthy, we go with what we know best. Remember, doctors used to use leeches for bloodletting, cocaine/heroin for nearly every remedy, & lobotomies for mental illness. We learn from these mistakes. The hope is that we work with what we know at the time & look to improve the process. 

WR Robert Foster (groin)

Foster suffered a groin injury late last week, missing Week 4 due to the acute nature of the injury. He was able to practice in full Wednesday & Thursday which was an excellent sign & may be ready to contribute in both the offense & special teams. We do not know the specifics of the injury, there is a higher risk to re-injure the area, but practicing in full is always a good sign. However, he was limited Friday and is now officially questionable for Sunday. Considering he is still dealing with the turf toe from training camp & in addition to the groin, it’s reasonable he’s questionable, but certainly more likely to play this week than last.

CB Taron Johnson (hamstring)

Johnson has missed the past 3 games with a hamstring injury dating back to the season opener. He has looked excellent in practice the past 2 weeks performing agility & football-specific drills, but was, in my opinion, a surprising inactive for Sunday. Either he felt he was not ready or had some type of setback with tweaking the area prior to the game. He has been limited the past 2 weeks in practice. 

However, looking back through the past 3 years of Bills injury reports on pro-football-reference.com, historically, with this medical staff, players have missed 2-3 games before returning to play. To go down the rabbit hole further, none of the players that suffered a hamstring strain appeared on the injury report later in the season with the same injury. I believe that the team would rather have the player miss more time to recover then rather than suffer re-injury later. I still believe he can play Sunday, but it may be truly his decision on whether he plays. 

RB Devin Singletary (hamstring)

Like Johnson, Singletary has been dealing with a hamstring strain suffered in the win over the Giants. He missed the Bengals game as expected, but was nearly able to play against the Patriots. His hamstring injury appears to be milder than Johnson’s based on games missed and reports indicating that he was almost better to play last week. He is still questionable going into Sunday from the injury report. I believe he has a better shot to play Sunday than Johnson, but it may come down how he feels & whether the weather will play a factor with a chance of rain. Along with Johnson, the slick grass could potentially aggravate any injuries if they were to slip or attempt to stop.

OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)

Nsekhe was dealing with an ankle injury from Sunday but has been on a constant rotation with rookie Cody Ford. It’s not apparent when he suffered this ankle injury, but he was working through what appeared to be a right ankle injury last week in the Bengals game. He did leave briefly & returned to the game, but it is possible that he could have re-injured the area. We do not know what ankle he is dealing with, but I bet it’s the same ankle again. He did not participate in practice on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday which normally indicates that a player won’t play Sunday.

 

CLEARED

OG Spencer Long (ankle)

Long suffered an ankle injury late in practice last Friday for which he was limited. As the team has several reserve linemen, they likely did not feel that it was appropriate for Long to try and play through a fresh ankle injury, whatever it may be. He has since practiced in full on Wednesday indicating that he is moving past the issues from last week. 

CB Tre’Davious White (ankle)

White is coming off an obvious low right ankle sprain suffered midway through the 2nd quarter. He was able to leave briefly before returning to finish playing. At times, he appeared to be a step slower with his coverage assignments due to the inability to pivot & push off the foot. From what is available in practice, he does not appear to be wearing any bracing & not wearing a red contact jersey as well. Barring setbacks, he should play in full Sunday & then have an extra week to rest & recover.

WR Cole Beasley (ankle)

Beasley was a new addition to the injury report with an ankle injury. Looking at the film, he played in 85% of the plays & there wasn’t any clear instance where he would have suffered an ankle injury. Without more information, it’s hard to speculate the exact injury, but considering it’s an ankle & he practiced in full, he should play Sunday. To note, he does require veteran rest days throughout the week which explains the DNP on Friday.

 

OTHER’S TO NOTE

OG Jon Feliciano (neck)

The reason I bring up Feliciano is due to a play that was tweeted from @Cover_1. It shows that Feliciano blocks effectively, but gets hit in the mouth before dropping to his knees, becoming rigid like a board, and falling to his right side, lying for a moment before getting back up. It’s unknown if this was related to the neck injury, but he hasn’t appeared on the injury report indicating he is healthy enough to play football.

WR Zay Jones (shoulder)

Jones continues to be an enigma to Bills fans this season. After having a regrettable rookie year due to a torn labrum in the shoulder, he was able to return in 2019 and produce some solid statistics. The hope was that he was able to continue building off the promising 2018 campaign, but so far, he has missed the mark. He did not appear on the injury report this week, but I still question if this shoulder injury isn’t somehow contributing to his decline in production this season. Looking back on his rookie year, the torn labrum was clearly a factor. 

WR Isaiah McKenzie (ankle)

As you can see the theme with the injury report, McKenzie is also dealing with an ankle injury. This occurred sometime late during practice last week but he was active on gameday. He only played in 1 offensive snap, indicating he probably needs to rest & recover, but the Bills required certain depth and to fill out the 46 man gameday roster. He wasn’t on the injury report this week indicating that he is getting better with & should be able to play in full if another receiver can’t go.

OT Conor McDermott- waived

McDermott was waived Thursday afternoon leaving the Bills at 52 players. While there hasn’t been a corresponding move yet, the team can go in several options. There is an outside chance that Allen can play Sunday, which means someone like WR Duke Williams could come up to show what he is able to do. If Allen can’t play Sunday, then practice squad QB Davis Webb could be called up to back up QB Matt Barkley. Another option could be if RB Devin Singletary can’t go again, then they could call up RB Byron Marshall due to DiMarco unlikely to play. 

Possible Inactives:

TE Tyler Kroft

LB Corey Thompson

S Dean Marlowe

CB Taron Johnson

WR Robert Foster

OG Ike Boettger

OT Ty Nsekhe

Overall, this bye week is coming at an opportune time. Last time this year, the Bills were incredibly healthy, dealing with little to no injuries according to records. Most of the players should be able to come back after the bye & contribute barring any new injuries Sunday. 

Top Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Week 4 Bills Injury Review- Patriots

Will Allen & White be ready to go Sunday?

The Bills have something special on the team this year, the grit, the willingness to not give up, the ability to battle no matter what. Despite a disastrous first half, the Bills rebounded to get back within a score, but could not close it out against one of the NFL’s best. Regardless of the 16-10 score, the Bills set themselves up to bounce back in Week 5 against the Titans. The Bills defense have not let up more than 17 points in a game this season & have shown the ability to stay in games. With next week in Nashville & a bye coming thereafter, this will certainly affect the injury management moving forward.

Looking at the inactive list from Sunday, there were several notable surprises. WR Robert Foster (groin), RB Devin Singletary (hamstring), CB Taron Johnson (hamstring), & OG Spencer Long (ankle) all were dealing with injuries from this past week but weren’t certain to sit out. Singletary was looking productive in practice this week but may have felt that he wasn’t 100%, wanting to avoid injury. Same goes for Johnson. Below is confirmation that Singletary was close to playing but decided against it.

Foster is dealing with a groin injury in addition to a previous turf toe injury which made his availability unlikely, making the decision to be inactive a smart one. Long was dealing with an ankle injury as a late addition to the injury report Friday. We will find out more this coming week with all the injuries, but this is why the depth is critical as injuries pile up.

For those coming off injury, OG Jon Feliciano didn’t appear fazed by his neck injury & was able to play in every offensive series. LB Maurice Alexander played in 79% of special teams play which has been in line with his participation through the previous 3 games. WR Isaiah McKenzie was active but only played in 1 snap & wasn’t a factor indicating the ankle injury was worse than previously thought. He likely was active as there wasn’t another option to replace him. 

Looking at injuries today, there wasn’t a ton, but the ones that the Bills did sustain affected major contributors. 

 

CB Tre’Davious White (right ankle)

White suffered a right low ankle sprain with 8:29 left in the 2nd quarter. Brady threw a pass to the left to Josh Gordon whom CB Levi Wallace wrapped up to bring down. White pursued the ball and to avoid delivering a late hit as Wallace/Gordon was going down, he began slowing up, half running, half hopping. His right foot hit short and the foot snapped inward, tweaking the ankle in which was an obvious low ankle sprain. He left briefly before returning with a likely quick tape job around the ankle for stability. 

He later left before the 2nd quarter was finished to go to the locker room to get a head start on a further evaluation of the ankle & get bracing on the area. White was able to play the rest of the game, but at times appeared a step slower. He was able to keep up with the coverage on vertical plays, but the moment he had to pivot off the right foot, he wasn’t able to as effectively which put him at a huge disadvantage.

Whether this affects him for next week is uncertain for now. A low ankle sprain can be played through, but considering he has the bye coming up, it wouldn’t be crazy for him to sit out next week. Low ankle sprains can take 1-3 weeks to get back to full function with a suspected Grade 1 sprain. He may also still be dealing with his neck injury from the past 2 weeks. Wednesday will tell us more about his availability.

 

S Dean Marlowe (head)

Marlowe reportedly was assessed for a head injury late in the 3rd quarter with 4 minutes left & did not return. Looking at game film, he actually suffered the potential head injury much earlier on the kickoff return by the Patriots following the Bills scoring play with roughly 10 minutes left.

Marlowe wrapped up the returner and then appeared to get hit by a flurry of bodies that assisted in completing the tackle. He was able to get off the field but appeared possibly dazed. Unfortunately, he must have begun dealing with possible concussion symptoms, leading to an evaluation. He did not return & and he has since been placed in concussion protocol.

 

QB Josh Allen (concussion)

Obviously, the biggest concern from Sunday was the brutal hit that Allen took early in the 4th quarter with 14:54 left on a helmet-to-helmet hit. This hit was especially unfortunate as he was already wrapped up & CB Jonathan Jones came in with a brutal hit that left Allen crumpled in a heap for several moments, quickly tended to by the medical staff. Looking at the video below, he got hit on the crown of his head on the left side, goes down onto his right with the right side of his head bouncing off the turf. He was down for a few moments before getting up and having an assessment in the blue tent. He later ran into the tunnel to have a further assessment which indicated his day was done. After the game, he was placed into the concussion protocol. 

As to how serious the concussion is or the timeline he is out, we won’t know until Wednesday when we see if he is available to be on the sidelines for drills or participating in light football activities. He is not allowed to speak to the media while in the protocol, so all information will flow through McDermott who typically does not offer much detail. To read more about concussions, check out this article. To view a graphic of the concussion protocol, check it out below. 

This is the exact reason the team brought back QB Matt Barkley in moments like this. If Allen can’t go, they can turn to Barkley & activate QB Davis Webb from the PS as a backup. Concussion protocol can go quickly, but we have seen both C Mitch Morse & former QB Derek Anderson experience lengthy absences during their respective concussions.

There may be other minor injuries & things pop up on the injury report for Wednesday. But until then, the team may be without both Marlowe & Allen with White also either missing the game or not playing at 100% heading down to Nashville. We can only hope the team as a whole gets & stays healthy in order to prevent a repeat of past seasons with a hot start followed by a fizzle. 

Top Photo

Creator: Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Credit: The Boston Globe

Week 1 Bills Injury Review – Jets

How serious is Johnson’s latest injury?

The Bills make me wanna shout! Yes sir, indeed they did with a thrilling 17 point comeback to seal a 17-16 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. Despite 3 rather subpar quarters of football, QB Josh Allen rallied in the 4th quarter & went 8/10 with 102 yards and a TD to seal the deal. Wins like this indicate that this may be a team that doesn’t roll over when down in years past. The Bills won’t win every game in this fashion, but defeating a division rival to start the season is key in the march to the playoffs.

The only notable injury sustained in Sunday’s win was CB Taron Johnson (hamstring). The 2nd year cornerback suffered a hamstring strain early in the 3rd quarter with 12:58 left on a 2 & 10 play in which Jets C Ryan Kalil was called for hands to the face. Replay doesn’t show Johnson in the TV view & an alternate angle only shows him briefly running over the middle going left before coming up with what looked to be a painful hop.

Reviewing All-22 footage, the sideline view is the only instance where the injury can be observed. Johnson was tasked with covering WR Jamison Crowder in the slot. Crowder runs forward & then to his left up the middle with Johnson keeping pace with him. This occurs for about 25 yards & the injury occurs about when the play shows to be whistled dead.

It appears that Johnson is beginning to decelerate or slow down causing the hamstring to eccentrically contract. An eccentric contraction is when the muscle lengthens under load. In this case, running forces the hamstring to contract but lengthen while stepping forward and trying to slow down. Considering he was going full speed, this is most likely the cause. The video angle is tough to determine but it looks like his right hamstring is the side affected when he came up hopping.

Johnson was later interviewed by ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques in which Johnson reports he felt a pop as he was running. He was scheduled to have an MRI Monday to determine the severity.

Considering Johnson felt a pop, this was the muscle tissue tearing as it does when a strain occurs. How much tearing indicates the graded severity. Reports indicated he was able to walk under his own power to the locker room.

On the knowledge that he felt a pop, he was able to walk off, & he was dealing with a groin injury during the preseason, my initial assumption is that he suffered a Grade 1 or mild Grade 2 strain. This may have been a compensation injury due to the groin not fully assisting in slowing the speed down. Based on this information, I suspect that he misses at least 1-3 games, possibly more if the injury is more severe than I theorize.

If Johnson is unable to go as expected, CB Captain Munnerlyn or CB Lafayette Pitts may be an option to bring in for a short stint. He is a veteran with minimal injury history & understands the defense. He may be best suited for this over S Siran Neal who appeared to be at times a liability when having to fill in for Johnson.

Besides Johnson’s injury, WR/KR Andre Roberts missed the opener with what sounds like a quadriceps strain. He was able to practice last Monday which consisted of stretches and individual drills. He then missed Wednesday & Friday’s practices, ruling him out. Quad strains typically require stretching, rest, and light strengthening along with ramping up activity as tolerated. The team may have been cautious in holding him out to avoid further problems.

TE Tyler Kroft continues to work back from the broken foot sustained in OTA’s without any apparent setbacks. There are several clips of him over the past 2 weeks working through drills without any compensation. I believe that he has to get up to game speed & conditioning which may take another 2 weeks which could put him at the home opener barring any setbacks.

Outside of those injuries, the only other issues I saw were QB John Allen having to scramble and take several hard hits with one appearing to faze him for a moment early on. While his legs are a weapon, the Jets knew this & keyed in to reduce his chances. While scrambling is great to have, opening himself to injury is not ideal.

Overall, it was a great win & minimal injuries. The next two weeks of Giants & Bengals may provide some early key wins for momentum going into the Patriots Week 4 showdown. Considering the Patriots added in WR Antonio Brown to their stables of WR Josh Gordon, WR Julian Edelman, & WR Phillip Dorsett, the Bills will have to be at their healthiest to keep the playing field level.

If an injury does occur, the Bills finally have depth at each position that will allow them to still play effective football until starters return. This team is finally built for depth, hopefully, the depth keeps the ship afloat. 

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!!

Bills Season Injury Review- Quarterbacks

Bills positional injury review- Quarterbacks

The off-season has begun! With a record of 6-10 following the 2018 NFL season, the Bills are slated to pick 9th in the 2019 NFL draft. Fortunately, one position the Bills will not have to worry about is quarterback. The starting job and room for that matter has already been locked down and demonstrates one of the most stable positions on the roster. Today’s post begins a series of articles reviewing the 2018 regular season from an injury standpoint, players that were injured, their outlook, and whether they will come back in 2019. Today’s topic is quarterback.

There were a total of 4 starting quarterbacks to take a snap under center for the Bills in 2018 in the regular season. They were: QB Nathan Peterman, QB Matt Barkley, QB Derek Anderson, and QB Josh Allen. A fifth, QB AJ McCarron was slated to be the starter in preseason before an untimely injury derailed his chances. As a collective whole, the Bills passing game put up stats as follows: 271/499 for 54.3% completion for 2794 yards, 13 TD’s, 23 INT’s, and 41 sacks ranking 31st in the league.

Never making to the regular season for the Bills was QB AJ McCarron. He was signed from Cincinnati as a free agent in the off season, expected to be the starter and before his injury, was trending in that direction. Unfortunately, McCarron suffered an injury to his collarbone during a hard sack that was initially diagnosed as a hairline fracture against the Browns. However, he had a second opinion which reversed the original diagnosis and it was re-diagnosed as a contusion. He was able to return after several days, but as he was healing, this allowed Peterman to move forward and take the season opening job, leading to the trade of McCarron to Oakland for a 5th round pick in 2019.

QB Nathan Peterman began the season as the starter but quickly played himself out a job. The 2nd year player out of Pitt earned a second chance despite his inauspicious start to his career last year. His 2018 season stats were as follows: 44/81 for a 54.3% completion, 296 passing yards with 1 TD, 7 INT’s, and 7 sacks along with 2 starts. Peterman started the forgettable home opener, losing 47-3 to the Ravens followed by a Week 9 start, losing to the Bears 41-9. While Peterman was not injured during this season in Buffalo, he was wholly ineffective which led to his eventual release on November 13th. He eventually did find his way to Oakland Raiders practice squad but his release thankfully ended the Peterman experiment here in Buffalo.

Next is QB Matt Barkley. The veteran journeyman started the year with the Cincinnati Bengals before being released with an injury designation with a Grade 3 MCL sprain in the preseason. On October 31st, the Bills signed Barkley to a one year deal as insurance while Allen was recovering from his injury. Unfortunately, the starting QB at the time, Derek Anderson was unavailable due to injury and Peterman wasn’t trusted to play, leading to Barkley to start. He lit up the Jets defense in a 41-10 win with his stat line as follows: 15/25 for 60% completion, 232 yards, 2 TD’s, 0 INT’s, and 1 sack. With that performance, Barkley earned himself a 2-year contract as the backup to Allen going into next season. Overall, his injury risks appear minimal, his preseason injury will not be a concern moving forward, and he has shown he is a capable back up in spot starts.

QB Derek Anderson was able to come out of semi-retirement to help mentor Josh Allen as he progressed through his rookie season. Unfortunately for him, he was forced into playing several games including against the Colts and Patriots. His stat line was as follows: 42/70 for 60% completion, 465 yards with 0 TD’s, 4 INT’s, and 5 sacks. In addition to the rough stat line, Anderson suffered a back and calf injury against the Colts which appeared to be more bumps and bruises after not starting for several years. Regrettably, Anderson also suffered a concussion at the end of the MNF game against the Patriots after a sack from LB Kyle Van Noy which sidelined Anderson for 5 games.

While concussions are all too common in football, most resolve after a short amount of time. Each concussion is unique and has its own timeline for healing, it is concerning that Anderson took this long to recover from his injury. It is not uncommon to see concussions take that long to fully recover in the normal population, but considering that he was out that long during the NFL season makes me question his availability for the future. We already know that once a player sustains a concussion, that increases the chances that they suffer future concussions. Prior to this, he had one documented concussion during his time with Arizona. Normally, a concussion lasting that long would have forced him to the IR to clear up a roster spot. However, his role has been defined as assisting in developing Josh Allen into a franchise quarterback and that appeared to be the case which is why they avoided placing him on IR which would have prevented him from tutoring Allen. While he can play in spot starts and will be back on next year’ roster having signed a one year deal, he is far from the answer if a long term need is required. He is one player that I hope never sees the field next year. I hope he helps to continue to mentor/coach, and rides off into the sunset next year before another concussion or serious injury forces him to retire.

The big injury of the season was QB Josh Allen. As it has been widely reported, Allen suffered a sprained elbow, more commonly referred to as a UCL injury. He suffered the injury during the loss to the Houston Texans. To recap, this was the result of a bang bang play as Allen got hit from the left by Clowney, followed by Mercilus hit from the right, coming up underneath, hyperextending the rookie’s elbow. As a result, he missed 4 games with the injury but was able to return a more complete player and with bracing to the area to provide protection and support. This injury overall will not be something that will cause problems in the off season, it will not require surgery, and it will almost certainly not affect him as his career progresses.

At this point, the injured tissues in the elbow have mostly healed up and he should be asymptomatic with regards to all his throwing activities. With further rest and strengthening in the off season, he will come back 100% and should not have to wear a brace in the fall. It’s quite possible that this may become an injury that will be forgotten as his career progresses. How he injured his arm was unfortunate, but the recovery and response moving forward is calculated and ensure his long term health. Despite the injury, Allen still put up respectable stats for the season. Allen’s stat line for 2018 was as follows: 169/320 for 52.8% completion, 2074 yards with 10 TD’s, 12 INT’s, and 28 sacks. In addition, he had 89 rushes for 631 yards and 8 TD’s. Expect him to start next season, continue to grow as a quarterback, and eventually lead the Bills back to the playoffs.

Overall it was a very rough season for Bills quarterbacks for injuries. The QB carousel should stop next season with Allen, Anderson, and Barkley all under contract and the established starter in Allen. In addition to the stability at the quarterback position, there is a lot of optimism that the front office that they will shore up the offensive line to provide the protection that is desperately needed in order to help make the offense flourish along with some receiving weapons. This is the first time in a long time that things look good at the quarterback position for the Buffalo Bills.

Continue to follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter at @BangedUpBills, on Reddit u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. Look for off season position injury reviews, additions to the NFL Injury Series, any pressing injury news/surgeries, and anything else that Bills fans need to know. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!