Assessing the latest injuries to Levi Wallace, Tyler Kroft, Andre Roberts, & Taron Johnson
The Bills head back to the Meadowlands for a Week 2 matchup against the New York Giants in hopes for a fast start to the season. Already, they are without several key players that are nursing injuries. However, these injuries are minor in comparison to teams around the league but still significant enough that this may give the Giants an advantage.
WR Andre Roberts (quadriceps)
Regrettably, he has already been ruled out for Sunday’s contest. He is still dealing with a quadriceps injury which frankly, is a mystery. To date, there is no known video that shows what happened with Roberts or any details explaining what he did. He played in every preseason game with the exception of the 4th game with no known injuries during that time. He was able to participate in practice on Labor Day and this is likely when he suffered his injury.
There isn’t a ton of injuries that a player can sustain to his quadriceps. There can be strains & contusions and to a lesser extent, tendinitis. Considering the practice consisted of stretches and individual drills, he either suffered a strain trying to slow down or sprinting. He may have also suffered a contusion which wasn’t reported at the time. Either injury that occurs, it’s possible he could be out for 2 weeks and it wouldn’t be unreasonable.
As expected, Andre Roberts and Taron Johnson are OUT vs the Giants.
Johnson had a practice jersey on today, though, which might suggest he was closer to practicing than Roberts, who was in a sweatsuit https://t.co/GyOq545Ahu
What’s interesting is that he isn’t even out in pads or a red practice jersey; he was observed in sweats during Friday’s practice. That doesn’t bode well for someone trying to return quickly. Something more may be going on than we know right now.
CB Taron Johnson (hamstring)
The undersized cornerback suffered a possible right hamstring strain attempting to keep up with Jets WR Jamison Crowder early in the 3rd quarter during Week 1. He was unable to return and later had an MRI the next day. He has since been ruled out for Sunday which was expected as he hasn’t practiced all week. He was seen with a red practice jersey on Friday which indicated that he is improving but far from ready. Don’t be surprised if he misses 2 games before returning.
TE Tyler Kroft (foot)
Kroft was limited all week and is questionable to play this weekend. He continues to increase his workload as he works to return to fully playing. Don’t expect him to suit up this Sunday as he hasn’t had 3 full days of practice and his conditioning may not be up to par either. Once he gets through a full week of practice, then he will be likely to play. Expect him in Week 3.
CB Levi Wallace (right ankle)
Wallace threw a scare into the Twitterverse when he went down on a 1-on-1 drill late in practice Thursday. Close up video review showed that he tried to keep close with WR Zay Jones before turning his hips, attempting to pivot on his right foot and fell down. At most, it appeared to be a minor low ankle sprain that didn’t limit him in Friday’s practice. He did have it wrapped up to assist with swelling and pain but appears to be full go. Considering the Giants receiving corps is depleted, Wallace may be able to keep up with them. If he suffers a setback or needs a break, CB Kevin Johnson can step in.
Overall, it’s already known that Johnson & Roberts are out with Kroft also likely not to play this weekend. Despite losing Taron Johnson as a starter, the biggest loss continues to be Roberts in the return game. Considering S Micah Hyde is still returning punts indicates that Roberts is sorely needed. Ideally, injuries continue to be minimal and the Bills escape Week 2 with a win to move to 2-0.
Breaking down the 2018 injuries and players who suited up for the Bills and what to expect in 2019.
Training camp is less than a week away! As the opening day nears, a bullish outlook on the secondary is the general consensus after the excellent play the last two seasons. The only weak spot is CB2 in where there was a carousel of players throughout the season due to injury which led to inconsistent play. Today’s post will review the injuries from last season, impact they’ll have on this season, and new faces added to the mix.
First up is CB Phillip Gaines. The veteran corner appeared in 7 games, starting 6 accumulating 2 pass deflections, 30 total tackles, 24 solo and 6 assisted with 1 tackle for loss. Gaines also suffered a dislocated elbow during the loss to the Chargers. As a result, he missed 1 game. Gaines was cut in early November due to his inconsistent play where he later signed with the Browns. He won’t be back and the cornerback position will be better without him.
Next up is CB Denzel Rice. The 4th year back has bounced around the league, most notably playing in 8 games with the Browns last season. Rice was a late-season addition to the roster in which he appeared in 4 games and completed 2 tackles. As he came in late and with little consistency sticking with a team, it will be a long shot for Rice to make this team unless he has an amazing camp along with injuries to other players.
CB Lafayette Pitts has shown to be a somewhat dependable player though his contributions were felt more on special teams during the 2018 season. Pitts appeared in all 16 games and recorded 9 tackles, 8 solo and 1 assisted. Injury wise, Pitts suffered a concussion when he collided with Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook on a punt return in the 1st quarter. Thankfully, Pitts did not miss any future games and appeared to have no lasting effects. Pitts has a solid chance to make this team due to his previous play over the past 2 seasons but is far from a lock.
CB Ryan Lewis marks another returner from 2018. Lewis was a waiver claim from the Patriots and had an immediate impact on the field early in the season. However, he must have drawn the ire of the coaching staff as he was inexplicitly benched shortly after his debut and received sporadic playing time thereafter. Lewis appeared in 7 games, starting 3, notching 3 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, 15 total tackles with 12 solo and 3 assisted. To note, a majority of those stats came in the 3 games he started before his benching. Injury wise, Lewis suffered a concussion during the 2nd Jets game which caused him to miss the remaining 3 games of the season. Considering his doghouse status and concussion at the end of the year, things do not bode well for Lewis. It is unlikely that the concussion will affect him this year, but he will also have to have an outstanding camp to make the 53.
One of the Alabama UDFA darlings, CB Levi Wallace makes his appearance. Wallace replaced Lewis midway through the season and never looked back. He appeared and started in 7 games with 3 pass deflections, 37 total tackles with 24 solo, 13 assisted, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 QB hit. While at times Wallace was inconsistent as he made the jump from CFB to NFL, he was able to remain healthy and show he could lock down the CB2 position. Wallace did suffer an ankle injury during the 2nd Jets game in where his ankle bent oddly as he was attempting to tackle the ball carrier. However, he did not suffer any long term issues and is a near-lock to make the roster barring any surprising performances by others.
2nd year CB Taron Johnson shows up and he made quite the impact as a rookie in 2018. He appeared in 11 games, starting 2 with 1 interception, 3 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack, 42 total tackles, 34 solo, 8 assisted, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 QB hit. For a rookie coming from a small school, that is an impressive stat line. What makes it even better is the fact that he suffered a torn labrum early in the season opener against the Ravens. He missed the next game but played the entire season with a damaged shoulder before being shut down after the Bills were out of the playoff hunt. I have detailed his injury and recovery at Buffalo Rumblings for those interested. Johnson may be at risk to re-injure next season but still overall low risk. He is certain to make this roster barring any season-ending injuries in training camp.
Finally, CB Tre’Davious White rounds out the group. The stellar 3rd year back out of LSU has really made a mark in the past 2 seasons with the Bills, but hasn’t quite got his dues from the national media. As he continues to play, I expect his stature to grow and be more well known. Regardless of national media perception, opposing teams are certainly aware of what White brings to the table.
He played in 16 games with 16 starts, accumulating 2 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, 54 total tackles, 44 solo, 10 assisted, and 1 tackle for loss. While he was stellar on the field, having minimal injury also did not hurt either. White suffered an ankle injury during practice prior to the Titans game which he did not miss. Unfortunately, he suffered a head injury in the season finale over the Dolphins where he was later downgraded to out. While no official information was released indicating concussion, precautions were still taken to ensure his health. If he was indeed diagnosed with a concussion, this would be the 2nd one of his professional career in as many seasons. White is a player that any coach can put in writing as a starter, the only concern will be who will be playing opposite him.
New faces this year include CB EJ Gaines who was with the Bills in 2017 as a key cog during the playoff run, CB Kevin Johnson, and CB Cam Lewis. All with the exception of Cam Lewis will have a legitimate shot at making this team. We know White, Wallace, and T. Johnson will make the roster, good shot that K. Johnson & Gaines round out the CB position. Pitts & R. Lewis also have a shot but injuries are always the great equalizer at the end of the day, so only time will tell how the cornerback position fleshes out.
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!!
Breaking down the latest Bills injuries following Sunday’s loss to the Jets.
Back to back tough losses really take the wind out of the Bills sails and drops them to 4-9. This was the 3rd loss this season where the Bills had the game in hand but were unable to secure the win. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, we knew that they were going to take a step back this year. However, the mark of a good team is the ability to finish games and beat the teams you should beat. This wasn’t one of those times. Hopefully the Bills can learn from this season and transition into more consistent wins next season. Sunday’s loss also marked one of the most injury riddled days in recent memory and the most since I began this site. Today’s post will review the injuries sustained and what significance they have moving forward.
Starting off with the most serious injury, LB Matt Milano (fibula) suffered an ankle dislocation and fracture late in the 4th quarter at the goal line. This was the result of QB Sam Darnold attempting to dive into the end zone, landing on the back of Milano’s heel, firmly planting the foot in the turf. As the foot is planted, Milano is hit from behind by S Jordan Poyer and Darnold’s body being in the way prevents Milano from falling naturally, instead twisting to the left and snapping his fibula which is the outer portion of the ankle. I had retweeted a rather graphic picture of Milano’s ankle twisted 180 degrees with his heel facing where his toes should be. Thankfully, the tibia, which is the shin bone, was spared due to twisting to the left instead of the right. The ankle broke on what I can only assume based on video is the lower portion of the fibula which is the outside portion of the ankle. There is fairly significant ligament damage based on the twisting but can and will heal up due to the ankle being reduced or put back into place on the field and the ankle will be immobilized for some time due to surgery. Below is a picture of a fractured fibula, though not exactly represented as how Milano’s may look on x-ray.
A lot of chatter on Twitter has been discussed over the Bodine injury compared to the Milano injury. Both injured the same bone but the severity is starkly different. Bodine will be back before Milano in regards to healing and normalcy due to Bodine’s fracture was fairly simple; he suffered a break, there was no dislocation or what appeared to be associated damage to the area. He just required surgery to set the bone and stabilize it in order to heal. Milano’s injury was more severe due to the corresponding ligament damage in the area. He will be immobilized and non-weightbearing post surgery, but as a result of the immobilization with the ligament damage, the ankle will become very tight due to the scarring down of the healing ligaments. This limited range of motion this will require further stretching and rehab interventions to address the tightness coming out of the surgery to regain the mobility required for his position. However, the timelines are still similar with rehab and recovery with the difference being weeks vs months in regards to return in comparison to Bodine vs Milano. I still expect Milano to take between 6-9 months to fully recover, but I’ll take the low side of that recovery which makes him possibly ready to participate in OTA’s.
The most comparable Bills injury is that of RB Travaris Cadet who suffered a similar injury late last year but was able to return in time for training camp. The only difference between the two players is that Cadet was a fringe roster player buried on the RB depth chart and couldn’t make the team. However, he was able to return to full health as evidence in his participation in training camp.
The other significant injury is RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring). Shady suffered a hamstring strain during the first offensive series against the Jets and was initially questionable to return, later downgraded to out. He appeared to pull his hamstring on a 6 yard gain right before the first Bills TD by QB Josh Allen. There was not anything specific regarding the injury; he did cut hard to his right before taking a step forward and going down. He was observed at one point running on the sidelines and cutting to test it out, but it appeared that he was not ready to return Sunday.
Hamstrings are tricky because they range in severity and affect each position differently. With McCoy’s skill set, as poor as it’s been this year, that hamstring is still more vital to his abilities than let’s say an offensive lineman. The veteran running back has since been listed as day-to-day by the team and has had an MRI to determine severity. This tells me that this is most likely a moderate Grade 1 strain. Yes I am splitting hairs here but they performed an MRI which in my observation is only reserved if the physical assessment is not matching up with typical physical examination. Day-to-day indicates that he will be limited with the possibility of playing next Sunday. However, we have seen this wording used in the past and interpreted to eventually missing some time. Typically we are not seeing players who suffer a strain come back this quickly. But since there is a muscle tear as all strains are classified, once he rests, the muscle does tighten up and the inflammation process begins which limits his abilities. I’m going to be conservative and say he misses next week against the Lions because it’s a game that doesn’t mean anything and Shady has been absolutely been beat up this year, so a week off will only help.
Other players sustaining injuries include RB Chris Ivory (shoulder), WR Robert Foster (right thigh) WR Isaiah McKenzie (left ankle) OL Jordan Mills (left knee), CB Levi Wallace (left ankle), CB Ryan Lewis (concussion), and K Stephen Hauschka (hip/back). Ivory suffered a left shoulder injury running through the linebackers and secondary, landing hard on his left shoulder after being taken down for an 8 yard gain, appearing to favor his left shoulder coming off. If you recall, he suffered what I believed to be a left AC joint sprain back in Week 9 during a failed goal line plunge. He may have aggravated this injury again as he was slowed down and then fell hard to the turf onto the left shoulder and potentially re-spraining the area. He may also be another guy who misses a week, but he would be more likely to play Sunday than McCoy. Overall, AC joint sprains heal on their own with rehab and rest and only require surgery in the event that there is significant trauma to the area.
Foster and McKenzie got banged up on back to back plays at the end of the first half. Upon video review, McKenzie landed awkwardly on his left foot, appearing to tweak his ankle trying to haul in a pass from QB Josh Allen; this occurred with 1:26 left in the 2nd quarter. He was able to return and finish out the game. I would suspect this is nothing more than at most a mild ankle sprain that will may end up on the injury report but should not slow him for next Sunday as he was able to return very quickly after the injury. He did come into the game questionable with a toe injury but this does not appear to be related to the injury he suffered Sunday.
As for Foster, he got hurt on the very next play after hauling in a 17 yard pass from Allen before taking a very hard shot into his right thigh area that drove him out of bounds. This injury appears to be a contusion at worst as he was able to return quickly. He may be dealing with some soreness and may be limited in practice Wednesday, but this also appears to be an injury that should not keep him out Sunday as he has become a vital piece to the limited WR corps.
OL Jordan Mills suffered a left knee injury performing what appeared to be a chop block though he was withering in pain immediately after the play which required training staff to assess his knee. He was able to return the next offensive series and finish out the game. My best assessment is that he came down on his knee hard and he suffered a mild contusion. Mills has had several injuries similar to this this past season in where he goes down, needs to come off, and then quickly returns. I can’t even classify this as an injury per se, sometimes things hurt when you hit a certain way. No concerns for next Sunday.
CB Ryan Lewis suffered a blow to the head which was later diagnosed as a concussion late in the 2nd quarter. We have seen most of the younger players return from concussions quicker than older players such as QB Derek Anderson, but each concussion continues to be unique and only time will tell how Lewis responds while in the concussion protocol. Far too early to tell whether he will be available Sunday.
CB Levi Wallace suffered an odd looking left ankle injury early in the 3rd quarter. He began to suddenly stop and planted hard on his left leg, the ankle buckled as he attempted to pivot and assisted in taking down the ball carrier. I do not believe that he suffered any major injury to the area, coming off may have been more precaution to further assess the injury after the play. He was able to return after several plays and finish out the game. With his stellar play this year, we can not afford to lose anymore players in the secondary in order to finish this season. He should be available for Sunday.
Finally, K Stephen Hauschka (low back/hip) suffered a cheapest of cheap shots by Jets DE Henry Anderson after the blocked FG on the last play in the 2nd quarter. Hauschka was blindsided when he got hit, unfortunately he was unable to react properly and came down hard on his right hip and potentially jarring his back. It was reported that he had x-rays to assess for any damage but based on the hit, it appears as though he suffered a hip pointer injury. An injury such as this is basically a bruise to the bony portion of the hip that is about where most of our pants sit at on our waist. The reason this is so painful is because there are so many muscles that attach to this area which in turn affect how the core muscles perform along with the hip musculature especially with him being a right footed kicker.
The blindside hit clearly affected his ability to kick as he missed a FG try later on in the game and appeared to be limping at times afterward. This is an injury that does not appear to be long term nor should affect him next week due to the limited need of his position. We have also not had any reports that kickers were being brought in which indicates that this is not a severe issue which should make him available for Sunday.
Overall, a very rough day from an injury standpoint. The only silver lining is that we are out of the playoff race which makes these injuries hurt less. The benefit to these injuries now is that all these won’t be long term and allow all to be ready by training camp barring any setbacks or new injuries over the next several weeks.
As a result of all these injuries, the team will have some new faces in the starting lineup. LB Julian Stanford will be starting in place of Milano, RB Marcus Murphy may get the start if Ivory can’t go and RB Keith Ford may be brought up from the practice squad to backup Murphy. This is the time of year that is great for the front office to find out who else they want to keep for next year by seeing how they do in game action now. We know this roster will have more turnover next year; might as well get familiar with some new faces with the idea that they are here next training camp.
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!!
Read the latest about RB Chris Ivory’s shoulder injury, TE Charles Clay hamstring, and other concerns following the loss to the Bears.
This 2018 season is really testing our patience. 2017 was a new regime and we ended The Drought! After such a high, the 2017 off season saw several key players leave and well, we thought the team would take a step back. Though we expected this, we still go crazy with the results. I think what drives most of us nuts is how bad they have lost some of these games. They have not had a loss yet that came down to the final minutes nor have they had a loss that was defined by a single play or two. These losses have come during blow outs and mind numbingly horrible offense. Though the defense continues to hold their own, not even the best players in the league can play for 60 consecutive minutes of football; essentially what the Bills defense has been forced to do due to the ineptitude of the offense. Along with the lack of production, the Bills continue to lose offensive producers to injury. Today’s post will review the injuries sustained in the soul crushing loss to the Bears.
While the Bills did not lose much on Sunday, what they did lose was still painful. First up is TE Charles Clay (right hamstring). The veteran TE suffered the injury on the last Bills offensive possession in the 1st quarter running a route to the middle of the field. He appeared to slow down, turn to his right and begin to try and run towards where the play was taking place, but appeared to take a step and began limping. He was observed on the sidelines getting assessed and stretched by the training staff but was unable to return to the game. He suffered a hamstring strain that appears to be Grade 1 but will unfortunately cause him to miss some time. He has been since listed week to week.
Hamstring strains can and do happen at any point in the season but are more frequent early in the season as players are still ramping up into game shape. As this injury was in the 1st quarter and not the 4th, fatigue does not appear to be a contributing factor. He may have decelerated too fast and felt a pull when attempting to turn direction. Unfortunately, the video available is limited and the injury is subtle in nature, limiting the ability to confirm the specific action. This may have been an unfortunate circumstance or as the result of cumulative injuries as he’s had hip, ankle, and shoulder injuries this season along with a well known knee issue. If this upcoming game meant more or he was desperately needed, it’s possible he would be able to play, but considering he’s had several injuries already, he’s a veteran, and the bye is coming up, it would not make sense to rush him back out there. I’d expect him to miss next week with him coming back after the bye.
The other injury noted was RB Chris Ivory (left shoulder). He suffered his injury on a goal line plunge that was unsuccessful halfway through the 4th quarter. He got hit hard up in the air by LB Danny Trevathan and was stopped cold in his tracks. Ivory immediately went down and began motioning to his left shoulder, requiring assistance to get off the field and eventually carted to the locker room. There was initial speculation that he may have suffered a painful contusion but reports have since come out indicating that he suffered a shoulder sprain.
The most likely sprain that Ivory suffered is an AC joint sprain. The joint that is injured is known as the acromioclavicular joint which is near the top of the shoulder. This joint is made up of the distal or far portion of the clavicle and the acromion which is the hook portion of bone that creates the bony edge of the shoulder. This joint helps connect the shoulder to the thorax via the clavicle and allows for shoulder movement throughout its range. This allows for overhead, pushing, and pulling motions required for activities in every day life.
When a AC joint sprain occurs, the ligaments holding the clavicle and acromion together are damaged due to a direct blow to the shoulder, as in the case of Ivory. These types of injuries can also occur as the result of falling on an outstretched arm, or FOOSH injury. However, most of these injuries occur as direct blows and cause immediate pain and loss of function. This will be evident by the limitation in motion to the shoulder, pain with movement, possible visual deformity as the result of the clavicle rising up higher than the shoulder, and bruising. There are specific grades that allow us to identify the severity as seen below. While MRI may be helpful to identify specific ligament damage, a physical examination and x-ray will typically tell a medical professional the grade level. While we are unable to identify the grade level on Ivory as he had his shoulder pads on, my best guess is that he suffered a Grade 1-2 AC joint sprain which would put him at 2-4 weeks for recovery.
Rehab will include rest and stretching to allow for proper healing to the area. Once he is able to move the arm without causing further discomfort, he will begin strengthening and stabilization activities to challenge the joint to perform its function and ensure proper healing to the area. These are injuries that a player can play through if minor enough, however considering the hit that Ivory suffered and the fact that he had to go to the hospital due to initial concern for internal organ damage makes me believe that this is not minor. I can realistically see Ivory missing next game and then using the bye week to recover fully enough to resume playing against the Jaguars. He may be healthy enough to return to play by that time but he may also have taping to the affected area to help provide some type of additional support in order to get through the game. There is a possibility that he will be out longer if the severity is worse than I anticipate, but this is not something that the team would consider placing him on IR at this time. Had he had a Grade 3-5 injury, reports would have surfaced and he would have most likely been placed on IR by this point.
Overall, this upcoming bye will be a welcome reprieve for this team trying to get healthy for the final stretch to salvage any respectability for this season. Ideally, most of those on the injury report will be healthy enough to return and play out the rest of the season. Fortunately, one player will not be completing the final home stretch of the season with the Bills. CB Phillip Gaines has been released with CB Levi Wallace replacing him on the roster. Gaines has been a liability all season and even in his absence due to injury, his replacements demonstrated why he was expendable on this roster. As a fan, I will not miss his giant pass interference calls giving the opposing offense an easy trip down the field.
This wraps up another post for Banged Up Bills injury review. Continue to follow 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!!
Assessing the injuries sustained at the cornerback position from the 2017 season.
Continuing in our off-season reporting is positional reporting at Banged Up Bills.. Today’s post addresses the cornerback position which was a bright spot this season after being outright dreadful in 2016. The cornerback position dealt with a variety of injuries that at times cost the Bills crucial games that thankfully did not cause the Bills to miss the playoffs. However, Brandon Beane realized that even though this unit was superb, there is still room for improvement going into the 2018 season.
First up is CB E.J. Gaines. The 4th year veteran came to Buffalo in a trade that included WR Sammy Watkins that worked out favorably for the Bills. Stat wise, Gaines was able to haul in one interception, 3 forced fumbles and 59 total tackles with 48 solo and 11 assisted. There was a gigantic difference between when Gaines was on the field and when he wasn’t. In games that Gaines participated in, they were 8-3, in games he missed they were 1-4 which indicated how valuable he was. However, Gaines suffered several injuries which cost him playing time during several key points during the season. He suffered a shoulder injury in the win over Atlanta that forced him to miss the Cincinnati game which was a loss. Immediately after this injury, Gaines suffered a groin injury that did not appear to be serious, but possibly led into a hamstring injury that cost him 3 games in which the Bills went 1-2. Gaines returned to health, playing in 5 straight games before injuring his knee during the first Miami game which cost him a game against New England. Prior to this season, Gaines had been fairly durable, only suffering a Lisfranc injury which cost him the 2015 season. His injuries likely stemmed from his hard-hitting reckless play. After this injury filled season, the Bills elected not to re-sign Gaines, letting him walk in free agency and taking a rather questionable one year, $4 million with the Cleveland Browns. For a player that was due a potentially big contract with limited availability, the Bills were smart to move on from Gaines despite his stellar play.
Next up is CB Leonard Johnson. The 6th year back saw time in 15 games and starting 7. Johnson managed to stay relatively healthy this season, only missing one game due to a knee injury in the loss in the first New England game. Otherwise, he suffered a quadriceps injury in the season opener and a minor hamstring injury in the loss to Cincinnati in which he did not miss any time. Johnson had been pretty healthy up to this season, only suffering a torn Achilles during his time in Carolina but was able to recover to previous form. Stat wise, he accumulated one forced fumble with one fumble recovery to go along with 51 tackles, 40 solo and 11 assisted. As with Gaines, the Bills elected not to re-sign Johnson as his veteran status most likely became cost prohibitive.
CB Shareece Wright continues the Bills exodus of cornerbacks from the 2017 season. The 7th year back saw playing time in 12 games, starting 5 with stats of one interception, one forced fumble with 2 fumble recoveries to go along with 42 tackles, 35 solo and 7 assisted. Wright suffered a minor back injury in the win over Atlanta but suffered a concussion during the second New England loss which costed him the season finale win over Miami and the playoffs. As he is no longer on this roster for what I assume are similar reasons as Johnson, I do not see him coming back unless there are several injuries which would require him to be re-signed as a depth player.
One of the true bright spots on this 2017 Buffalo Bills roster was CB Tre’Davious White. The rookie from LSU quickly became a fan favorite and helped re-establish the secondary with incredible plays that appeared to allow people to forget he was only a rookie. Numbers wise, he had 4 interceptions, one forced fumble with 2 fumble recoveries with one returned for a TD and 69 total tackles, 53 solo with 16 assists. White stayed injury free all season with the exception of a concussion from Rob Gronkowski. If you recall, Gronk gave White the People’s Elbow after a clearly dead play on the sidelines. White thankfully did not miss time, but repeated hits to the head can have a detrimental effect on a players health later in his career. As White begins his second season, look for him to hopefully stay healthy and continue to produce at a high level to establish himself as one of the best in the league at his position.
Finally, CB Lafayette Pitts rounds out players that suited up at the CB position for the Bills this season. The 2nd year pro joined Buffalo in late October after spending time with Jacksonville earlier in the season. During his time in Buffalo, Pitts only recorded one tackle and one assist on defense with most of his playing time coming on special teams. Despite the lack of stats, the Bills re-signed Pitts to a one year contract in hopes that he adds to the depth going forward.
The Bills position at cornerback appears to be solidified with CB Tre’Davious White manning one side and CB Vontae Davis manning the other. There are questions regarding Davis going into the 2018 season after he missed most of 2017 with a sports hernia that eventually required surgery. As indicated in the previous article, most players sustaining his type of injury are able to return to playing in the NFL without complications. These two players are formidable in their own right and together should really improve the quality of play at the position. Davis is an upgrade from Gaines at the position, but time will tell if the production matches.
Rounding out the rest of the cornerbacks on the roster include CB Levi Wallace, CB Phillip Gaines, CB Taron Johnson, CB Ryan Carter, and CB Breon Borders. Wallace and Carter come to the Bills via UDFA’s, Borders comes back for the 2018 season after spending the end of 2017 on the practice squad. Phillip Gaines came via free agency from the Kansas City Chiefs, and finally, CB Taron Johnson was drafted in the 4th round with the 121st pick. None of these players are guaranteed to make the roster but I expect to see Gaines and Johnson stick with the team as depth in the event a starter is unavailable. Considering the talent at the position, I could see the Bills stocking up on the position, leading one of the remaining names to sneak on to the 53 man roster with an impressive training camp.
That wraps up the cornerback review for the 2017 Buffalo Bills. Our series is nearly done, with positional reviews of safety and special teams rounding out the remaining articles. As this 6 week period between OTA’s and training camp occurs, look for remaining positional review articles along with spotlights on common injuries in the NFL. The goal at Banged Up Bills is to educate my fellow fans. I enjoy any and all feedback via Facebook at Banged Up Bills and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!