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!!

Preseason Injury Review- Browns

Analyzing the latest injuries following the preseason win over the Browns including AJ McCarron, Kyle Williams, and Cory Carter.

The Bills got their first win of the preseason with a decisive 19-17 win over the Cleveland Browns Friday night. While we saw some good things including the continued emergence of RB Marcus Murphy and darts thrown by QB Josh Allen show that there is some talent on this team and should be a force to reckon with this coming season. However, with all the good also comes the bad. The Bills have been relatively healthy over the course of this preseason, getting some bumps and bruises along the way but avoiding serious injury. Unfortunately, the Bills luck ran out Friday night on the shores of Lake Erie. Today’s post will review injuries sustained Friday and what this means going forward.

Prior to the game, DE Trent Murphy and WR Brandon Reilly were ruled out prior to the game with groin and rib injuries respectively. Hopefully both will be able to return to full health very soon and bolster depth going forward. The biggest injuries sustained Friday night with regards to name recognition were QB AJ McCarron and DT Kyle Williams. The former Alabama QB came from Cincinnati in the off season and was expected to compete for the starting job. Regrettably, McCarron reportedly sustained a hairline fracture in his collarbone towards the end of the 1st quarter.

The play that McCarron potentially suffered his collarbone fracture seemed pretty innocuous. He was tackled hard with most of his weight coming down onto his right shoulder but was able to finish the series. He did not appear to have any initial discomfort or favoring the injured area. Reports do not state which collarbone he fractured but my guess is the right side which is his throwing arm. However, after today’s press conference, there is question regarding the severity of the injury as McCarron is getting a second opinion which may change his availability. Once we have confirmation one way or another, I will be able to elaborate more.

DT Kyle Williams suffered what appeared to be a season ending injury early in the 2nd quarter. This occurred when he was getting blocked and a Browns offensive player fell into his right leg and he went down immediately in pain. The initial fear when a knee is bent like that with an outside force on the knee is an ACL tear. Thankfully, he avoided the dreaded injury and only sustained a MCL tear. The MCL is the ligament on the inside of the knee and is a commonly injured ligament during knee sprains. It appears as though Williams suffered a Grade 2 sprain which should heal on its own and will not require surgery.

Had Williams foot been planted in the ground when he got hit, he would have most likely torn his ACL and ended his final season. This is an injury that will take 4-6 weeks to heal which means he should be able to come back for Week 4 against the Packers. If things go well, Week 2 against the Chargers. As he is older, he will most likely be on the slower side of this timeline and lets face it, Kyle Williams is a national treasure when it comes to Bills fans. Training staff will not rush him back to the field unless he is truly ready to play. Once he returns, he should have no performance issues with the exception of some pain/swelling initially after playing.

One player who was hit hard by the injury bug was P Cory Carter who suffered a torn ACL after a collision late in the 3rd quarter. His plant leg was fully extended as he came down and the Browns defender rolled into his leg, preventing him from landing safely, causing his knee to hyper extend and tear the ACL on the second small hop in the above posted video. Prior to this injury, reports were coming out that he was having a solid camp and really challenging for the starting position. I have detailed ACL tears in a previous article, please check it out. Carter will be out for the entire year. I wish him the best of luck in his recovery. To note, this is the first ACL tear for the Bills since TE Chris Gragg tore in the preseason in 2016.

Another player that has had a very strong camp and warrants a roster spot is TE Jason Croom. The WR turned TE injured what appeared to be his left ankle on a punt return play the next play after Carter was injured. On the play, Croom went downfield and changed direction quickly to tackle the punt returner and LB Tanner Vallejo attempted to do the same thing, missed, and rolled into Croom’s ankle. He was able to walk off under his own power with a noticeable limp and was done for the night. It appeared as though he may have a low ankle sprain at worst. However, he was able to practice today according to reports which is something to watch for as the week progresses.

Others injured Friday include S Siran Neal, CB Taron Johnson, and OT De’Ondre Wesley. Neal was injured after a hard tackle and appeared to have the wind knocked out of him but was able to return later in the game. Johnson suffered a crackback block at the hands of WR Jarvis Landry who infamously ended the career of former Bills S Aaron Williams, thankfully no long term issues. Finally, OT De’Ondre Wesley appeared to tweak his ankle and came off the field but was able to return. I don’t see anything that warrants further concern. Also today, S Kelcie McCray was not practicing but film did not reveal any injuries at first glance.

Finally, QB Nathan Peterman appeared to sustain an injury in the last series of the game. Upon review, he took a low tackle which appeared to hit his knee but when he came up, he was hopping on his right leg and favoring his left. He was able to walk it off and finish the series but when he kneeled down to run out the clock, he did a reverse lunge and appeared to stumble backwards. It appeared as though he injured his left ankle. He may have twisted/tweaked it but as he was practicing today, it does not appear to be serious. Further reports will be made available if this becomes a problem.

Overall, the Bills escaped Cleveland without major losses.  They also have 9 days before their next game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately, there are two more preseason games which mean two more possibilities for players to get hurt before the regular season. While all injuries cannot be prevented, preventative measures such as exercises/practice and limiting playing time appear to be the only way for now.

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

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- S

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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