Bills Season Injury Review: Defensive Tackles

Assessing the 2018 Bills injuries at the defensive tackle position.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Week 17 Bills Injury Review- Dolphins II

Read the latest Bills injury news following the Week 17 win over the Miami Dolphins & final thoughts going into the offseason!

The season is finally over. The Bills have finished 6-10 with a exciting win over the Miami Dolphins 42-17 and lots of hope going into the 2019 season. QB Josh Allen was recently named AFC Offensive player of the week, the first time a Buffalo QB has been given this honor since QB Drew Bledsoe in 2002. The front office has stability moving into the offseason with both coach and GM in place with a solid game plan stacked with draft picks and cap money to contend with a favorable schedule next year. The only downside to the season ending is the retirement of DT Kyle Williams. Sunday’s win marked the last game for him in a Buffalo uniform and he made the most of it. He was able to get in on several offensive plays including a reception and continued to be a force up front until his curtain call late in the 4th quarter. To make his retirement even more memorable, he proceeded to circle the entire stadium, giving thanks to everyone before entering the end zone tunnel one last time. While he didn’t win a Super Bowl or have the team accolades that veteran players can accumulate over time, he still was able to lay the foundation for potentially greater success in the coming seasons. Personally as a fan, I am happy to have seen him give everything he had in a Bills uniform and leave on his own terms.

With all the positivity coming out of that season finale win, the only injury noted on Sunday was CB Tre’Davious White (head). He suffered this injury with 1 minute left in the 2nd quarter during a collision with a Dolphins offensive player. This was right before the 2nd scoring play for the Dolphins which allowed them to even it up going into halftime. The Bills announced that White was later downgraded to out with a head injury which is typically reserved for concussion protocol. It was not announced that he suffered a concussion but as it was the season finale, there was no purpose to re-insert him back in the game with 2 quarters left. If White was indeed diagnosed with a concussion, this would be his 2nd documented NFL concussion after last season’s hit by Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski. Regardless, the season is over; White will be able to go through the concussion protocol if needed and recover during the offseason with no long term concerns.

Overall, it was another decent year for injuries. We did lose a lot of man games due to injury with several starters lost late in the season, but major injuries such as ACL’s, Achilles, Bicep tears, and pectoral tears which could affect next season continued to avoid the Bills and allowed the team to grow further. It is expected to see the roster turn over considerably with a host of draft picks & free agents brought in along with several veterans moving on due to ineffective play or team unfriendly contracts. The 2019 Bills will come out guns blazing and begin to make some noise!

Continue to follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook, on Twitter at @BangedUpBills, on Reddit u/BangedUpBills, and online at http://www.bangedupbills.com. Look for offseason 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!!

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 Preview- Patriots

Assessing the rash of Bills injuries prior to the Week 16 matchup against the New England Patriots!

The end of the season is rapidly approaching and the Bills roster is showing its cracks. The Week 16 injury report is quite lengthy and while there are positives coming out of this week, the players are clearly hoping to get through these last two games despite giving it their all for Coach McDermott. One player who will be giving his all for another 2 years is QB Matt Barkley who signed a 2 year extension which will give the Bills an effective veteran backup to QB Josh Allen as he matures. Today’s post will review all the injuries with greater clarity and determine how these injuries affect Sunday’s game.

A total of 11 players found their way onto the injury report, 6 alone from this past game. All the players listed are available to play besides CB Ryan Lewis (concussion) ruled out and RB Chris Ivory (shoulder) ruled questionable. However, each week at Banged Up Bills, we will still assess the injuries sustained from this week and how it will affect Sunday’s contest. First up is FB Patrick DiMarco (ankle) who suffered an ankle injury during a punt return in Sunday’s game. I had originally thought that he suffered a thigh/knee injury but it appears as though he tweaked his ankle as a result. As he was able to return to the game Sunday plus practice this week doesn’t concern me in his performance this Sunday or worry for long term issues.

K Stephen Hauschka (back) was able to practice in full this week after being limited all last week with his performance still clearly limited. This was most evident when the Bills were forced to punt early in Sunday’s win despite being in Hauschka’s normal range. He was still able to complete kickoffs and extra points but the team currently doesn’t have faith that he is able to make the long kicks right now. I still believe that he is dealing with a hip pointer injury which is essentially a contusion to the area. He may also still be dealing with back soreness following the hit which will affect his kicking motion secondary to the muscles pulling on the painful area when planting and kicking. This is an injury that takes time along with stretching and slow resumption of activity in order to heal properly. As he was practicing in full this week, there is hope that he is healed enough that he is able to resume making the long kicks that has allowed him to be one of the best in the NFL.

RB Chris Ivory (shoulder) continues to deal with a re-aggravation of his left shoulder injury originally sustained in Week 9 and then aggravated against in Week 13, forcing him to miss last game. I have suspected that he suffered an AC joint sprain that was healing but after the re-aggravation, this set him back in his recovery and may continue to limit his participation in Sunday’s contest. He was able to practice in full last week but still missed the game as a result. At this point, my guess is that he is still dealing with pain with direct contact along with limited range of motion in that shoulder, restricting his abilities to effectively carry and catch the football. He could receive interventions to assist him with pain, but if he continues to demonstrate instability in the region, the pain interventions will only make it more difficult to listen to his body if he re-injures the area. Right now, rehab and rest will get him back to normal in the off-season. If he continues to injure the area further, surgery may be required and those rehabilitation procedures are not fun to go through. Ideally, he would benefit from rest, but considering the Bills only have 3 “healthy” running backs on the roster, he may not be afforded the ability to rest. He is truly questionable and without further information, it is very difficult to determine whether he will play.

CB Ryan Lewis (concussion) is still working through the concussion protocol and appears to be in Stage 4 with light football activity participation as determined by the limited designation. He has since been ruled out and may be available for the season finale.

RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) continues to work back from his hamstring strain from 2 weeks ago and appears to be moving quite well in the video provided by Josh Reed. Shady has also indicated that he is ready and able to play Sunday. He is a player that despite the down season he has had, will still want to go out and give it everything he has especially against a hated divisional rival to end the season.

WR Isaiah McKenzie (ankle) appears to still be recovering from the cramping episode from Sunday that appeared much worse than the eventual diagnosis. While he is listed as an ankle, this may still be the ankle/calf region as its very possible he is dealing with soreness to the area along with activity specific pain, preventing him from going full speed. As he practiced in full, I expect him to play Sunday but it is clearly evident that the long season has been taking it’s toll.

DE Trent Murphy (chest) apparently suffered a non-descript chest injury in Sunday’s win over the Lions. He did not appear to require assessment from the trainers nor indicate anything was wrong. He may have sustained a contusion to the area from a hard hit or suffer a minor strain to his pectoral muscle as he engaged offensive blockers. While chest muscles are very important to defensive ends, practicing in full gives support to the notion that he will play Sunday.

TE Logan Thomas (hamstring) missed last week’s game with the same injury. He was able to practice in full the past 2 days and appears to be fully healed at this time. Most strains we have seen all season have taken the player roughly 1 game to rest and recover from and Thomas is no exception. Thomas, along with TE Jason Croom, have to be available to assist TE Charles Clay in the passing game in order to keep the ball moving against the Patriots. Expect Thomas to play Sunday.

LB Corey Thompson (ankle) also suffered an ankle injury on the same play as DiMarco. He got tied up with a Lions defender and limped off the field, eventually returning. Similar to DiMarco, he was able to return to the game and practice in full this week which indicates that this was a minor injury and should be good to go Sunday.

WR Deonte Thompson (Achilles) was listed with an Achilles injury Thursday, having practiced in full. He was not listed on Wednesday’s injury report which indicates that he may have suffered this injury during Wednesday’s practice. As there is no video and he practiced in full, this appears to be a minor strain which may limit Thompson from pushing off effectively and decelerating. However, he should still be able to stretch the field and provide QB Josh Allen another target downfield.

Finally, DT Kyle Williams (back) suffered a back injury during some point on Sunday. He was DNP Wednesday, Limited Thursday, and Full on Friday. As there does not appear to be any conclusive video of the type of injury that he sustained or any assessment by training staff, it is quite difficult to identify the specifics. All I know is that the only way Kyle Williams misses a game is if he breaks something. Otherwise, he will be playing Sunday in hopes of putting a hurting on QB Tom Brady.

One interesting omission from the injury report is RB Keith Ford (ankle). Ford injured his left ankle late in the 3rd quarter which forced the Bills to get creative with the playbook as all the RB’s were out, leaving them with DiMarco and Allen in the backfield. Ford’s injury did not appear to be serious as he was not on the injury report which means he will be available Sunday. There is potential that he is the backup to McCoy in very possible event that Ivory is unable to play.

While this was a lengthy article for injuries, most appear to be relatively minor with most of the players expected to play through these ailments. At this point in the season, every guy is aching and hurting, requiring limited participation just to get through the week. While us Bills fans would love for them to still be playing for the playoffs, the recent rash of injuries would make it very difficult to compete with some of the high powered offenses come playoff time. The hope is that the back up’s playing now will get invaluable playing time to bolster depth going into next season with everyone expected to come back healthy.

The prevailing thought going into Foxboro is that the Patriots are finally starting to show cracks in their dynasty having lost 2 straight. A third loss would be unprecedented with the Patriots and send them to a rare 6th loss on the season and a spot in the Wild Card round where they have typically not fared well in season’s past. The Bills did play relatively well in their previous game on Monday Night Football in October’s loss, but, it’s still the Patriots. If the Bills play lights out defense and QB Josh Allen is able to move the ball effectively to his new weapons Foster and McKenzie, anything can happen. I would love to see the Bills win and send Tom Brady packing, but I do not know whether this will be the game or next season. We all see the end coming for the Patriots, we just don’t know when it will get here.

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

Week 5 Bills Injury Review- Titans

Read up on the latest injuries following the win over the Titans.

Leave it to the Bills to wait until the last second to pull out a win like that! K Stephen Hauschka’s game winning kick to give the Bills a 13-12 win over the Tennessee Titans propels Buffalo to a 2-3 record and momentum going into their Week 6 showdown in Houston. As always, today’s post will review the injuries sustained in Sunday’s win.

Those ruled out prior to the game include S Micah Hyde (groin), S Rafael Bush (shoulder), and RB Marcus Murphy (ribs). Hyde and Bush were not expected to play this week after not practicing all week and their availability may improve with this week’s practice. However, Murphy was inactive despite practicing in full all week and demonstrating that he was healthy. There is precedent for the Bills to rule a player inactive despite appearing healthy. Just the prior week, CB Phillip Gaines was ruled inactive with an elbow injury despite practicing in full. These may be personnel decisions or may be allowing these players to heal up more before rushing back to full contact.

Those injured during the game were minimal included P Corey Bojorquez (shoulder), CB Taron Johnson (shoulder), CB Tre’Davious White (ankle), and DT Kyle Williams (knee). However, only White made his way to the injury report. Possibly the most serious injury out of the bunch is Bojorquez. He suffered a right shoulder injury on a botched fake field goal attempt and sustained an unlikely injury in the process. He was observed later having had the shoulder wrapped with limited motion during running and in obvious pain at times. Based on the mechanism of injury, it appears that he may have suffered a SLAP lesion of the shoulder. SLAP stands for Superior Labral Anterior and Posterior which means that the top portion of the labrum tears; this is where the long head tendon of the biceps connects at.

Bojorquez suffered the shoulder injury late in the 2nd quarter as the result of the tackle and came up with significant discomfort. The reason why this is at least a SLAP lesion or subluxation and not dislocation is due to the fact that he was able to move his shoulder around and did not appear to require immediate manual reduction of the joint. This injury occurred as he was tackled; his arm was in an abducted and externally rotated position which places a lot of stress on the front part of the shoulder. This is also the motion that is required to throw a football.

As he is falling with his arm in that position, he has a defender falling on his body, preventing him from falling to allow him to brace for impact. When Bojorquez hits the ground, the body weight of the defender plus the ground lead to the arm to hyperflex which possibly led to the SLAP tear. During impact, it is also possible that he may have suffered an anterior subluxation of the shoulder, which is a partial dislocation to the area but able to self relocate. However, of all subluxations/dislocations, this is the most common with 97% of all these injuries occurring in this manner. In dislocations, the labrum tears and leads to instability in the shoulder. In the case of subluxation, there is a joint shift but a lesser chance of injury to the labrum. However, in most dislocations/subluxations, damage does occur and instability is present. This is also evident in SLAP lesions.

Symptoms seen with Bojorquez after the injury would most likely include difficulty with overhead motions, general strength deficits, and complaints of popping, locking, or clicking during movement, among other complaints. As with labral tears, this is not an injury that will heal up on its own and would require surgery to repair the damage. A normal person could live with this injury without surgery but due to the demands of the NFL, he would most likely require surgery later.

Despite this grim prognosis, Bojorquez may not miss any time or have any deficits come next game. He will have to strengthen the area and give it time to reduce pain and weakness, but otherwise he will be able to perform his regular punting duties as required. Thankfully he is not out of the field often and he can still play with his full ability without compensation. The only major deficit he may have is if the Bills want to run a fake field goal play; this may limit his abilities to throw the football effectively. He may eventually need surgery if it continues to give him problems but will not require it immediately; he may use bracing as seen with CB Taron Johnson.

Unfortunately, following with another shoulder injury, CB Taron Johnson suffered a re-aggravation to the right shoulder, as he has had in previous games. He did have to sit out several plays after but was able to return with overall effective play. He will have to continue to tackle with his left side to reduce further injury and missed time. While he continues to injure the area, this can and will lead to less forces required to sublux the shoulder, leading to greater instability and eventual surgery.

DT Kyle Williams suffered a right knee injury in the 3rd quarter but eventually resumed participation. Williams did return to his place in the rotation after sitting out 1-2 series but based on the injury, does not appear to be serious. Williams injured his knee as the result of having his right leg kicked out from under him which resulted in him falling directly on his knee without bracing for impact. This may have been more of falling directly on it and requiring some rest to reduce the initial shock of the impact. While Williams is on the injury report, he is listed as requiring a veteran rest day as he does every week. I do not see this injury causing any long term issues.

Finally, CB Tre’Davious White suffered an ankle injury during Sunday’s win and was limited in practice today. Reviewing film, there was not one specific play that revealed the injury. Add in the fact that White played in every defensive snap and all defensive field goal attempts makes this difficult to diagnose. This may have been an injury that he played through and did not realize until after the game or this may have been an injury that he sustained in practice today. Without conclusive video, it is rather difficult to identify what type of ankle injury he sustained. Either way, he was only limited in practice which on Wednesday is a good sign in order to play Sunday. Based on this information alone, this does not appear to be a serious injury but something that the Bills should be proactive about. This is far from a guarantee, but history serves us well when looking at availability.

This wraps up the injury review from Sunday. The Bills continue to be fortunate when dealing with injuries in terms of severity. While some of these injuries are significant in nature, they are able to be conservatively managed until there is a more opportune time to address the long term management of these conditions.

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

Week 2 Bills Injury Preview- Chargers

Read the latest injuries prior to the home opener against the LA Chargers!

Football is back in Orchard Park for another season which means today is the home opener with the Bills looking to regroup after a performance against Baltimore that led Bills fans questioning many things. Last week’s game left much to be desired in terms of quality and being at home where the Bills went 6-2 last year should change things. Today’s article will review the injuries going into the game and how this will impact personnel decisions.

Roster moves made since last article include the releasing of DT Adolphus Washington and WR Jeremy Kerley for DE Nate Orchard and DT Robert Thomas respectively. These moves are surprising as both players released are veterans and have demonstrated an ability to play their respective sides of the ball. Washington throughout his career has been fairly healthy and has been available. Kerley was by far the most experienced receiver on the field and demonstrated the ability to be consistent considering the question marks at QB. These moves were made to improve depth especially with the loss of DE Shaq Lawson and improve the rotational depth at DT. The Bills move forward with new depth in the front 4 established with hopes to better control the scoreboard.

Those already ruled out for the game include DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring) and CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Both injuries occurred last week with Lawson in the 4th quarter and Johnson in the 2nd. Lawson has a garden variety right hamstring strain that is best to let rest as to further not injure it. Johnson appeared to have a right shoulder stinger and may not be ready for contact, similar to what QB AJ McCarron suffered during the preseason. There’s always the possibility there is something else going on such as an AC joint sprain, but he was moving it freely walking off the field and did not require any support to the shoulder indicating instability. Both could be available next week based on their recovery.

Those questionable are WR Ray-Ray McCloud (knee). The rookie wideout missed the season opener with a left knee injury suffered in the final preseason game against the Bears on a punt return. Video was limited and appeared that he suffered some type of minor sprain based on the hit to the outside of the knee. As it has been 2 weeks and change, he may be healthy enough to suit up today. With the loss of WR Jeremy Kerley, the tea leaves point to him playing, though he has the final say on if he feels he’s ready.

Other injuries to consider include DT Kyle Williams (knee) and DE Trent Murphy (groin). Both have avoided the injury report with exception of Williams who requires veteran rest days. Williams, the heart and soul of the front 4, appears to be nearly full health after the right knee sprain in the preseason and doesn’t appear to be worth mentioning moving forward. Murphy played last week on a snap count and was set to increase his reps as a result but will be forced into greater service with the absence of Lawson. He will still be limited only due to not being in game shape.

Overall, the Bills are still healthy, major injury to key players remain limited, and as a fan, I’m expecting a better Bills team to show up today. I’m looking forward to sitting back and watching a much more competitive game with what I hope will be a more favorable outcome today.

Continue to follow for the latest updates and injury news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow me on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Reddit at u/BangedUpBills, and online at http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, 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!!

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!!