Bills Season Injury Review-Linebackers

Read up on the returning & new faces of the LB corps going into 2019 including how injuries may impact them.

As training camp approaches, optimism is high for the linebacking corps in 2019. The spotlight is placed on this unit due to the lack of availability in 2018 that was apparent as key injuries occurred. During the off-season, Brandon Beane made it an effort to find more talent in order to create competition at the position in the event that starters go down. Today’s post will review the injuries from 2018 and if it will impact 2019.

First up is LB Corey Thompson. The rookie UDFA out of LSU appeared in 6 games with 1 start. During his playing time, he was able to rack up 1 forced fumble, 14 combined tackles, 8 solo, 6 assisted, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit. Injury-wise, he suffered a minor ankle injury during the loss to the Patriots. Thankfully, this was not an injury that appeared to be serious and does not have any repercussions going into 2019. However, Thompson will have a difficult time making the roster with all the additional depth and will have to make his mark on special teams to have a chance.

Next up is LB Deon Lacey. The veteran linebacker appeared in all 16 games with 0 starts, completing 7 combined tackles, 5 solo, 2 assisted. Most of Lacey’s playing time was spent on special teams where he did not appear to suffer any injuries but he will once again have to fight tooth and nail to earn another spot on the 53 man roster for 2019.

LB Julian Stanford makes the list as another primary special teams contributor from 2018. He appeared in 13 games with 1 start. He accumulated 1 forced fumble, 1 sack, 15 tackles, 13 solo, 2 assisted, 1 tackle for loss. While his contributions appear to be more versatile compared to his other special teams’ counterparts, he still is also not a lock to make the roster. Injury-wise, he suffered a broken nose during the last preseason game which caused him to miss the season opener. He also missed the last game of the season due to what appeared to be a high ankle sprain during the loss to the Patriots. This isn’t an injury that lingers but he will still have to fight in order to make this roster in 2019.

Next up is the ageless LB Lorenzo Alexander. Despite his age and time in the league, Alexander continues to produce, appearing in 16 games with 8 starts. During the season, he recorded 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 6.5 sacks, 74 combined tackles, 55 solo, 19 assisted, 11 tackles for loss, and 10 QB hits. On top of his stellar play, he continues to avoid injury through his rigorous recovery routine during the season. He is coming back to the team in 2019 as he is an incredibly vocal leader and will still prove to be valuable on both defense and special teams.

LB Tremaine Edmunds arrives next on the list with a solid rookie campaign but at times had injuries which limited his ability to fully showcase what made him a 1st round pick in 2018. His stats are as follows: 15 games, 15 starts with 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 sacks, 121 combined tackles, 80 solo, 41 assisted, 5 tackles for loss, 7 QB hits. While he was incredibly productive as the quarterback of the defense, injuries certainly impacted the ability to maximize his potential.

Edmunds suffered a concussion early in the season during the first Patriots game on MNF in where he collided with FB James Devlin and caused him to miss the next game against the Bears. Edmunds also suffered injuries to his right leg and low back during the season. The right leg injury was due to the foot getting caught in the turf and being hit by a falling body which could have caused some serious damage if he was falling the other way but thankfully he just tweaked things. He also suffered a back injury during the win over the Lions which did not cause him to miss anytime but he was labored in his movements following the hit from OL Frank Ragnow. None of the injuries were serious outside the concussion, but Edmunds has a lot of work to do to improve off his rookie season in 2019.

Finally, LB Matt Milano rounds out the linebacker group from the 2018 season. Milano was on pace for a Pro Bowl season appearing in 13 games with 13 starts accumulating 3 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 sack, 78 combined tackles, 52 solo, 26 assisted, 12 tackles for loss, 3 QB hits before injury struck. Reviewing all his injuries, Milano suffered a head injury during the first game against the Jets. Considering he had the bye week right after the game, it was unknown if he was officially diagnosed with a concussion, but it was not something that appeared to cause any long term issues.

Unfortunately, Milano’s season was cut short with a gruesome ankle injury in where he broke his fibula as the result of QB Sam Darnold falling onto his ankle and Milano getting hit from behind. There was and still is much concern regarding how he is progressing in his rehab which I have detailed in my article with Buffalo Rumblings. He should be 100% going into the season and this is supported by his full participation in OTA’s. He is another component that will continue to shore up the linebacking corps in 2019 and take the defense to the next level.

New faces to the team include 5th round draft pick LB Vosean Joseph, UDFA’s Tyrel Dodson & Juwan Foggie, and FA Maurice Alexander. It’s likely that L. Alexander, Milano, Edmunds, Joseph, and M. Alexander all make the team with Dodson, Thompson, and Foggie possibly making the practice squad as they still have eligibility. As for Lacey, he still has a shot to earn a roster spot but as he is a veteran, there may be cheaper options on special teams. This will be a strong corps regardless who makes the final roster as McDermott has a penchant for linebackers and safeties on special teams. The top half of the linebackers is set, the bottom half will be fun to watch!

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!!

Week 17 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins II

Assessing the latest Bills injuries prior to the final game of the 2018 season & Kyle Williams final game.

The final game of the 2018 season is upon us! Another season of Bills football is nearly complete and the final pages of a storied career will be written Sunday by DT Kyle Williams. Bills Mafia knows by now how Williams announced his retirement on Friday after 13 years in the NFL. It is only fitting to see that Kyle is able to have one last home game in Buffalo, in front of his most diehard fans, and against a division rival. Williams has not only been able to survive 13 years of up and down football here in Western NY, but he has managed to produce at a high level, and been an absolutely excellent representative of what a Buffalo Bills player should be. Because of his presence on the roster over 13 years, I believe his demeanor and work ethic will rub off on some of the newer guys, helping pave the way for the great heights that the team aspires to achieve. It’s a shame that Kyle will not be able to reap the rewards of the next few seasons pending idealistic outcomes, but he will be able to look back and see the groundwork he laid for it to happen. I suspect that he will be at peace knowing he brought a unique part of the puzzle to a franchise ready for a winner. Forever in our minds will be that moment in Miami when Kyle picked up his boys as he realized his dreams of finally going to the playoffs materialized. I know I can speak for all Bills fans when I say how much we will miss his presence on the field every Sunday. Thank you Kyle Williams for giving it your all during your time here in Buffalo.

Today’s post will dive into the injuries going into the season finale. Already ruled out is WR Deonte Thompson (toe) & LB Julian Stanford (ankle). In my last article, I detailed my thoughts on each injury and why they were unlikely to play Sunday. I believe that Stanford suffered a high ankle sprain and Thompson suffered turf toe or plantar plate injury. These injuries are not season ending in themselves, but considering the timeline for recovery is greater than one week and they did not practice, their season is effectively over. If the Bills were in the playoffs, there is a chance they would stay on the active roster and attempt to heal. Instead, it appears the team decided not to place them on IR and sign two new players for one game. Both should make full recoveries for next year.

Those questionable include RB Chris Ivory (shoulder) & CB Ryan Lewis (concussion). Ivory has practiced in full this past week which is typically a good indication of playing on Sundays. In addition, HC Sean McDermott stated that Ivory was looking in good shape for playing this week. I still believe he has an AC joint sprain and will need time and rest to recover fully in the offseason.

Lewis is still working back from the concussion sustained in the loss to the Jets and as a result, missed the past 2 games. He has been limited the past 2 weeks in practice and is questionable for Sunday. It will be up to the independent neurological consultant to determine if he is cleared to play. He is truly questionable for Sunday, however, since he has not had a full practice yet, the chances of him playing appear to be slim.

I expect Ivory to suit up for the final game of the season and Lewis to miss. As for inactives, that always appears to be difficult based on personnel needs but I am surmising that QB Derek Anderson, OL Vladimir Ducasse, Thompson, Stanford, and Lewis to be inactive along with two other players that will probably be healthy scratches.

Overall, it should be a very competitive game between two clubs who have nothing to play for besides pride. I do expect the Bills to use the friendly weather at home along with motivation to win in Kyle Williams last game to close out the 2018 season.

Continue to follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at http://www.bangedupbills.com for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 16 Bills Injury Review- Patriots

Read the latest injuries to Julian Stanford and Deonte Thompson following the loss to the Patriots.

The Bills came into the Patriots game with a lot of hope that this was going to be the beginning of the end of the dynasty. While the pass defense did hold Tom Brady in check, the run defense did not do their part and offensively, never really got going. The only upside to the 24-12 loss is that the carnage of the past two weeks injury wise appeared to simmer down and allow the Bills to play with a mostly healthy roster of what’s left. Today’s post will dive into the injuries and what they mean going forward into the final game against Miami.

Those ruled out prior to the game were CB Ryan Lewis (concussion), RB Chris Ivory (shoulder), and TE Charles Clay (healthy scratch). Lewis is limited but still working through concussion protocol; there is a realistic chance that he is able to play next week if cleared. Ivory is still dealing with a shoulder injury that has kept him out the past 2 weeks. He is able to practice in full but still questionable which makes me believe that pain and shoulder function appear to be the main limiting factors. I still believe he’s dealing with an AC joint sprain that he keeps re-aggravating. It is quite possible he is dealing with a torn labrum, strained/torn rotator cuff, or nerve issue, but if he was dealing with the previously mentioned issues, the team would want to get surgery done in order to have him be healthy in time for training camp as he still has one year left on his deal. Thankfully, the team has reported that he should be in good shape this week which indicates that he may be ready to play the season finale.

As for TE Charles Clay, it appears the writing is on the wall. There is a strong youth movement on this team and Clay has not been producing. While his availability would have been beneficial on Sunday, he still has not produced to the level that his contract dictates. He does have a spotty injury history plus his age does not make him a viable candidate to finish out his contract and the team take a cap hit. Pending other offensive weapons availability, he may be inactive for the season finale.

Those injured on Sunday included LB Julian Stanford (ankle) and WR Deonte Thompson (right toe). LB Julian Stanford (ankle) sustained an injury to his ankle on a punt return with 5:50 left in 1st quarter. Upon video review, there is concern for a high ankle sprain as he was hit from behind and a body fell onto his right leg with foot in eversion or turned out. However, video is very poor and there were not any additional angles at time of writing. Considering he was questionable, eventually downgraded to out with the team reporting an ankle injury makes me believe the injury is more severe than an inversion sprain. There has not been any additional reports that state that he suffered any fractures, but it appears his season may be done even with a mild high ankle sprain. It was reported that he would not practice Wednesday which indicates that he is not going to IR but his availability will be determined by practice this week.

WR Deonte Thompson (toe) suffered a toe injury with 11:10 left in 3rd quarter. Thompson sustained the injury attempting to catch a pass when DB Johnathan Jones tackled him early, falling on his feet before Thompson took another step in vain to catch the ball. Thompson came up and began hopping on his left leg before going down to take his right shoe off. He was later taken into the medical tent and the sideline reporter initially reported a right ankle injury that was taped up. However, he was unable to return for the remainder for the game. The team later designated him with a toe injury. There are several possibilities for injury including turf toe, plantar plate injury, midfoot sprain or fracture. The most likely ones are turf toe or plantar plate. This is supported by the fact that the team taped up the area and he tested it out which indicates that a fracture or midfoot sprain was likely ruled out.

The mechanism of injury also supports either injury due to Jones falling on his foot as he was running forward, placing his toes into hyperdorsiflexion. In the event of turf toe, this is when the great or big toe is placed into hyperdorsiflexion with a force placed through the heel, pushing the toe past its normal limits. These are unfortunately common in football players and would greatly affect Thompson’s ability to push off during walking/running and make pivoting very difficult.

There is also concern for a plantar plate injury as the mechanism is similar in presentation to the turf toe. The difference is that this affects the attachment point that connects the plantar fascia to the metatarsals which are the smaller toe bones of the foot. To understand why this is possible a quick understanding of the plantar fascia must be understood. The plantar fascia connects from the heel to the bottom of the toe bones or metatarsals and acts as a lever when we walk/run to allow us to have a rigid area to push off effectively. As the medial arch elongates due to weight bearing, the plantar fascia tightens and becomes rigid to allow effective push off and prevent the feet from flattening out further. The plantar plate acts as a bridge between the plantar fascia and bones and also acts as a transverse attachment to prevent the foot from splaying out during push off.

It is difficult to identify which injury occurred without more information or physical examination. Both injuries would present with immediate pain/swelling with palpation, loss of range of motion, possible deformity if injury is severe along with bruising. Either way, it would be difficult for Thompson to play this upcoming game unless either injury is very mild. Reports indicates that he was not practicing Wednesday. In the event that Thompson is unable to play, this might allow WR Ray-Ray McCloud to get one more shot to prove his worth to the team before the season is over. They also have WR Di’Mari Scott, WR Victor Boldin Jr, along with WR Cam Phillips and WR Tanner McEvoy on the practice squad if Thompson goes to IR. To note, Thompson was dealing with an Achilles injury earlier in the week but that issue would not have any bearing on this most recent injury.

Going into the final game of the season, the Bills host the Miami Dolphins in the friendly confines of New Era Field with favorable weather conditions suited for the Bills. I believe the Bills can overcome the special teams mistakes of the first meeting resulting in a loss, finding a way to win, and finish 6-10. The team can then move into the offseason focused on how to find the best players in both free agency and the draft in order to build the team that is envisioned to compete for division, conference, and Super Bowl titles.

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and glad that you all made it to the end of another disappointing Bills season. Continue to follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at http://www.bangedupbills for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 1 Bills Injury Review- Ravens

Breaking down the latest injuries following the loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Well, that didn’t go very well. The Bills laid an egg with a very lopsided 47-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Nothing seemed to click Sunday with mistake after mistake piled on until changes had to be made which stopped the bleeding but the damage was already done. This was one of the more painful losses the Bills have sustained during my time as a fan mostly because while I expect that the team may regress, it should not to be that effect. However, since this is a sports injury website, I will leave the game analysis to my good friends at Cover 1 and The Rockpile Report. Check them out if you haven’t already; absolutely fantastic content for the Buffalo Bills!

Today’s post will review the injuries sustained in Sunday’s blowout loss and what this means going forward. First up is CB Taron Johnson who suffered a right shoulder injury during a textbook tackle midway through the 2nd quarter. He was able to walk off and not require any additional assistance in supporting his arm but he was eventually ruled out. Looking at video, it appeared as though he suffered a stinger, basically a hard hit. This is supported by the fact that he did not have extra support walking off the field and he was rolling his shoulder out freely exiting the field. Considering the game was out of hand, he is a rookie, and there was no benefit to him playing, he was most likely ruled out. Had he suffered any real damage, it would have been revealed by now. I expect him to practice in full and play next week.

DE Shaq Lawson suffered a right hamstring injury attempting to chase down QB Joe Flacco on the first play of the 4th quarter. Reviewing video, it appeared as though when he attempted to tackle Flacco, he slipped and fell to the ground. Once he got up, it appeared as though he tried to resume running and possibly suffered his injury. As I reviewed in my hamstring article, there are varying grades of severity. I believe that Lawson suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain which could cause him to miss 1-2 weeks. It is possible that he could play next week but his availability during practice will dictate the severity and availability.

Other injuries that the Bills are still dealing with include LB Julian Stanford and WR Ray-Ray McCloud. Stanford appears to be still doing with a broken nose and may be available next week now that he has more time to heal. As for McCloud, he is still dealing with what appeared to be a left knee injury suffered in the 4th preseason game. I really don’t have any idea what he is still out with. I suspect a sprain based on the possible hit he suffered during the punt return. Until more information is released, I can only speculate.

Those that were able to play after coming off injury include DE Trent Murphy, who was on a snap count and DT Kyle Williams. Murphy appeared in 35% of defensive snaps and 21% of special teams with no apparent re-aggravation of his groin injury. While his stats were not eye-popping which included 0.5 sack and 1 assisted tackle, it demonstrated that he was finally healthy and McDermott noted that he would increase his workload for next week.

Williams looked very efficient and did not appear to be favoring his right leg. He was able to play in 56% of defensive snaps and 21% of special teams which was in line with the other DT’s on the line. He will continue to require rest days but should return to full healthy and continue his effective play through his final year.

There may be other names that pop up on the injury report but overall the Bills continue to stay healthy. I believe this was the difference between making the playoffs and missing last season. While playoffs may not be expected this season especially after Sunday’s performance, I still believe that they will stay competitive in future games.

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

Week 1 Bills Injury Preview- Ravens

Assessing the injuries prior to the Bills season opener against the Baltimore Ravens.

The 2018 NFL season is finally upon us!! After months of waiting, we finally have real, meaningful football in Buffalo. The Bills are coming off their most successful season in nearly two decades and despite the “experts” that say the Bills will be terrible this year, I still expect them to post a competitive record and be in every game. This is a McDermott led team, they will not roll over and die. This is simply not in their DNA. After watching the Bills: Embedded, the culture that McDermott has fostered is palpable and can be understood why the team gelled so well last year. On a personal note, I wrestled in high school and my coach had a similar approach towards team building and creating a culture. We went from one of the worst teams in the district my freshman year to one of the top 6 by the time I graduated. They only continued to get better after my graduation and reached heights never thought of before. When I watch McDermott rally his team and how he does it, it’s like watching the same movie again. The ending may be different from my story, but I know what I see and I love it. Trust the Process is a real thing and while the ultimate goal is the Super Bowl, only time will tell if it’s achieved. If the ultimate goal is not met; continued, sustained success will be realized and a more successful product will be on the field week in and week out.

Along with having a competitive mindset as mentioned above, the Bills enter the 2018 season relatively healthy. While they did suffer injuries in camp, the most serious being P Cory Carter’s ACL tear, the team was able to avoid some of the other pitfalls that hold back other teams from maximizing their chances to make their mark on the season. Today’s post will review injuries going into the game and how it will affect the overall play.

Ruled out include WR Ray-Ray McCloud (knee). I had said in previous tweets he appeared to injure his left knee during a punt return late in the 4th preseason game. On video, it appeared to be pretty innocuous and nothing concerning. He was hit on the outside of his knee as he was going down which leads me to believe it is a minor knee sprain. He did require assistance to get up but no further video is available on how he was able to get off the field and training staff did not come out to assess. However, McCloud has been ruled out leading me to believe this is more serious than originally thought. It may be a minor sprain he just doesn’t feel up to pushing or something more that the team just has not revealed yet. I will continue to look for information to make a stronger assessment.

Next up is LB Julian Stanford (nose). As there’s few things that you can do to your nose, I’m pretty certain he broke his nose in the preseason loss to the Bengals. While the nasal bones do need to heal, with proper protection he can play. He has been limited the past few days according to the injury report. According to @profootballdoc, last season 67% of players listed as questionable for the Bills ended up playing. I like those odds to play but ultimately, it is up to whether Stanford feels he can perform Sunday.

Those not listed on the injury report but still dealing with injuries are DE Trent Murphy (groin) and DT Kyle Williams (knee). Murphy has not seen the field all preseason but recent video appears to show that he is ready to play at full speed. I see no hitches in his movement and it appears he is going at full speed. In addition, he has had over a month to fully heal from his groin injury which is more than enough time for a minor strain. I believe he will be able to play Sunday with no restrictions though may be limited on snap count to avoid further injury and keeping fresh players out there. Once he has demonstrated he can play on Sunday, he should be a very strong addition to the defense.

Williams was dealing with the more serious injury in which he sprained his right knee MCL during the Browns game. He was initially week-to-week and the prognosis did not appear favorable for a quick return. Surprisingly, Williams appears to be ready to suit up Sunday, just 3 weeks after his injury. I do not believe he is quite 100% based on the timeline for his type of injury. In the video above, he is wearing a knee brace on the right leg. It is hard to notice as it is white but towards the end of the video, you can see the brace and he has the slightest favoritism on that right leg. He may be still feeling the effects of the injury but it appears healed enough to play Sunday. Williams is a long time veteran who knows and understands what it takes to get through injuries such as this. This is also his last season and I don’t expect a man of his caliber to not play if he thinks he can suit up. If he does play, it will be similar to Murphy in that he may have a snap count or be a rotational player to keep guys healthy and rested.

Expect to see Murphy play with no restrictions, optimistic to see Williams play in a rotational role as last year and perform despite his recent injury. I also expect Stanford to play as the odds are in his favor and that his injury is relatively minor. Thankfully this was a short article, but expect greater in depth articles as more injuries occur this season.

Continue to check back for the latest news and updates to stay informed about the Buffalo Bills! Follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, on the web at http://www.bangedupbills, and on Facebook at Banged Up Bills. As always, thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!

Preseason Injury Review- Bengals

Read up on the latest injuries following the loss to the Bengals and how these affect the Bills come the regular season.

Despite Sunday being Kid’s Day and Buffalo finally got to thank Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton for the miraculous TD to open the playoff door after a long wait, the Bills managed to stumble through an ugly loss to the Bengals. The 26-13 score led to more questions than answers especially at the QB and OL positions. Thankfully, the Bills managed to avoid serious injury and live to fight another day. Today’s post will review the few injury concerns coming out of the Bengals game and what this means going forward for the Bears game and regular season.

Amazingly, the only reported injury coming out of Sunday was LB Julian Stanford (nose). The only injury that a nose can sustain is a broken nose. This is evident from the reports that he is week-to-week and there are no further reports indicating surgery or any other facial injuries. The word is still out on whether he will make the roster but a broken nose should not cause any concern.

As the 4th preseason game will showcase most of the players that will not make the roster along with the several few that will, there are several starters that are still in question for the regular season. First up is RB LeSean McCoy (groin). The veteran starter has seen limited action this preseason and has been slowed by a groin injury sustained recently. As he is still able to participate in limited fashion in practice, I do not believe this is is anything that will linger into the season and he is more limited due to his veteran status and avoiding injury.

Another veteran dealing with a lingering injury is DE Trent Murphy (groin). He has been unable to participate with a nagging groin injury sustained early in the preseason. There is no possible reason that he would suit up in the final game but considering he has nearly 2 weeks until the preseason opener, there is reason to believe that he will be ready for the game against the Ravens. He originally sustained the injury at the very beginning of August, was able to return to full participation with practice a week after the injury and then re-injured it shortly after. He has been able to participate with individual drills and able to dress for games indicating that he is nearly ready to play given that it has nearly been a month. However, an additional 2 weeks will only benefit Murphy so that he can hopefully revert back to 2016 form prior to his ACL tear.

DT Kyle Williams (knee) is still out due to the sprained right knee he suffered in the win over the Browns. While it will be a long shot for him to return for the season opener, it is possible that he could participate in the home opener against the Chargers based on what he is able to do in practice. It has been reported that he is participating in light reps during individual drills and has been regularly seen without any bracing with the exception of a compression stocking. This indicates that the knee is stable and healing properly. Participating in individual drills also leads me to believe that he has no pain at rest and most likely full range of motion in the knee. Rehab is most likely progressing at an acceptable pace and I do not believe it is out of the question to see him in pads in 2 weeks with additional time allowing him to get game ready.

WR Brandon Reilly (rib) has been battling for a roster spot despite breaking a rib during the first preseason game against the Panthers. Injuries such as these require extra padding but otherwise the ability to withstand pain when hit. A broken rib has no long term implications besides whether Reilly has a job come September 9th.

Others dealing with injury include OT Dion Dawkins (hip), DB Kelcie McCray (hamstring), and QB AJ McCarron (shoulder). It is unknown what Dawkins specifically did to his hip, but it may just be a contusion considering he has still been able to participate in practice. He is another player the Bills would prefer to keep healthy in order to get to the regular season. McCray is battling a hamstring injury that appears to be a Grade 1 as he has not been ruled out for several weeks as some of his teammates have with other injuries. However, as all muscle strains are, rest and time must be primary factors for healing so as to avoid making this a chronic issue. Finally, McCarron was videoed tossing footballs around practice today indicating that he is feeling better and able to release the ball without compensation according to video. He got roughed up while in the pocket against the Browns but otherwise may be settling in for the backup role when the Bills travel to Baltimore. None of these injuries appear to be long term and should not hinder performance come the regular season.

As this post was very light, this just means that the Bills continue to avoid major injury and focus on becoming better football players. There are many positional battles that still need to be sorted out, but it is fortunate that these battles are between starters and second team, not 3rd stringers and street free agents due to injury. While the Bills will not avoid injury entirely this year, preseason’s such as this allow the Bills to build depth they’ve sorely lacked in previous years.

Continue to follow for the latest updates and news coming out of the Bills preseason. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on the web at www.bangedupbills.com, and on reddit at u/BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Free Agent Haul

Analyzing the latest Bills free agent signings, their injury histories, and impact for next season.

The Bills continue to make moves which further indicate that the Bills are working towards bigger things for the draft. This new regime is serious and have a clear game plan on how to achieve their goals. Brandon Beane and company have been very busy, finding the right type of players that fit “The Process”. The pressure is on even more now that the NY Jets have traded with the Colts to move up to the 3rd overall pick in order to hopefully obtain their franchise QB. Today’s post will review the free agent signings of DT Star Lotulelei, DE Trent Murphy, S Rafael Bush, LB Julian Stanford, and QB A.J. McCarron.

First up is DT Star Lotulelei, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. The big defensive tackle has been a mainstay in Carolina for the past 5 seasons before signing with the Bills for 5 years, $50 million with $25 million guaranteed which makes him the highest paid Bills player on the roster. While these are rather eye-popping numbers, Lotulelei has shown he is able to earn his keep. The 5th year pro has missed minimal time over his short career, suffering only ankle and foot injuries in the first three years. His ankle injury did not force him to miss any time but a broken bone in his foot at the end of the 2014 season led to eventual surgery. He was able to return to in time for training camp in 2015 but suffered a “stress-reaction” after the 3rd practice. Simply put, he suffered a precursor to a stress fracture. He was able to rest the remaining portion of training camp and missed the first two regular season games but since then has not suffered any further set backs. He should remain healthy as the defense has switched to rotational play, thus ensuring always fresh players in the trenches.

Next up is S Rafael Bush, formerly of the New Orleans Saints. The 7th year pro recently signed a 2-year deal with Buffalo has been all over the league, seeing time with New Orleans over two stints along with stops in Denver and Detroit. During his time in the league, he has suffered several injuries that have caused him to miss significant time. 2013 saw him miss 3 games towards the end of the season due to an ankle injury. In 2014, Bush suffered a broken fibula which prematurely ended his season that year. Finally in 2015, he suffered a torn pectoral in the season opener which sidelined him the entire season as it typically takes 6 months to recover. Since then, Bush has been healthy over the past 2 seasons, not missing any games due to injury. While he is getting older, he still has shown the ability to play at a high level and provides depth at a position the Bills found themselves to be very effective at last season.

The Bills continue to address needs on the defense with their 3rd signing in DE Trent Murphy. The 4th year pro has dealt with many injuries during his time in the league but has shown to be effective when healthy. Looking back at his NFL injury history, his rookie year saw him miss one game with a broken bone in his hand which ended his season one game early. He also dealt with a knee injury that year which did not affect his playing time. 2015 saw a minor hip injury and 2016 saw him deal with elbow/shoulder, foot, and ankle injuries that he was able to play through.

Unfortunately in 2017, Murphy suffered a torn ACL in the preseason which forced him to miss the entire season going into the final year of his contract. It was reported that rehab went very well for the defensive end in that he was squatting 475 lbs 6 months after his surgery. While it is typical to see these kind of exercises being performed, to be squatting that much is an excellent sign. Murphy does have a higher risk to retear his ACL which is at about 20% higher compared to a healthy population, but playing in the NFL is always a risk for injury. Between the torn ACL and a 4 game suspension for PED use which he ultimately served during his time on IR allowed the Bills to sign him and they hope to rekindle the kind of production he had in 2016 before his injury. He should fit in nice with the rotation of Jerry Hughes, Eddie Yarbrough, and Shaq Lawson, among others.

The final piece of the defensive free agents is LB Julian Stanford. The 5th year veteran has made stops in Jacksonville, Detroit, New York Jets, and his latest stop in Buffalo where he signed a 2-year contract. Most of his playing time has been seen on special teams with some occasional play in defensive packages. As a result, his injuries have been minimal, suffering a hip injury in 2012 which he did not miss any games and 2016 saw him miss 4 games which landed him on the IR to end the season. Otherwise, from what I have read, he is an effective and durable player who provides depth at the LB position and makes his mark on special teams.

Finally, the Buffalo Bills let the dust settle and finally signed a veteran QB in AJ McCarron. The former Alabama star has primarily rode the bench behind Buffalo playoff hero Andy Dalton for 4 seasons. McCarron recently won his arbitration case which allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent due to an injury his rookie year to his right shoulder. This injury originally occurred during his senior season at Alabama and had been described as tightness. This caused him to start the season on the PUP list which forced him to miss 14 games. I am not quite certain what he exactly did to his shoulder as he reportedly jammed it and always felt fatigue afterward. My initial thought may be that he was dealing with shoulder impingement in where the rotator cuff is pinched during abnormal shoulder biomechanics. There is a possibility that he also suffered some type of nerve injury which could also contribute towards a fatigue like feeling. As this is not his throwing shoulder and he has not had any recurrence since 2014 leads me to believe that this is no longer an issue.

McCarron will be afforded the ability to compete for the starting job along with QB Nathan Peterman and the expected 1st round draft pick the Bills will bring in this year. The 4th year signal caller has seen minimal time with the exception of a 3 game stretch in 2015 in where he went 2-1 with 6 TD’s against 2 INT’s. He was able to show that he could play in college under Nick Saban, but time will tell whether he can be a serviceable QB when given a starting role.

Overall, all these recent signings are favorable to the team and allow them to chase the high end talent in the draft to build for years down the road. All of these players I don’t expect to have any injury issues with the exception of Murphy. He has battled smaller injuries over his career and suffered the above mentioned ACL tear which puts him at a higher risk to reinjure. He will also most likely not be ready until OTA’s in June to fully participate. I believe all these players will provide the needed depth and skill required at their respective positions should the starter go down.

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