Bills Season Injury Review- Running Backs

Assessing the 2018 Bills injuries at running back & roster changes for 2019.

The 2018 Buffalo Bills running game didn’t scare people or dictate games as it did several years ago which led to the offense to be rather one dimensional and easy to game plan against. Without LeSean McCoy producing as the engine of the offense, this put the pressure on the passing game which was severely limited secondary to the lack of weapons available. As a result, the team finished 9th in the NFL with 1984 yards total, 15 TD’s, and 4 fumbles. Despite finishing in the top 10 in rushing, the Bills RB’s were oft injured throughout the season and along with an inefficient offensive line, stunted their production greatly. This lack of effectiveness may be a precursor to what is to come next season with how the stable of backs looks in Buffalo.

There were a total of 5 backs that suited up for Buffalo this season including: RB LeSean McCoy, RB Chris Ivory, RB Keith Ford, RB Marcus Murphy, and FB Patrick DiMarco. To note: Taiwan Jones is listed as a RB but nearly all of his contributions to the team came on special teams. As a result, he will be addressed at a later time. Despite so many backs that played for the Bills this season, the leading rusher was QB Josh Allen with 631 yards and 8 TD’s alone. Without Allen, the numbers look drastically different: 1353 yards and 7 TD’s which would have put them 31st in the league. It would be assumed that whoever was under center would have put up their own respective rushing yards, but nowhere near the number that Allen produced.

The first back to assess is RB Keith Ford. The rookie UDFA out of Texas A&M was signed to the active roster in mid December after spending all season on the practice squad. He appeared in 2 games, starting 1 while amassing 21 attempts for 79 yards for 0 TD’s along with 5 targets in the passing game for 3 catches and 21 yards. While Ford’s stats did not jump off the page, he also managed to stay healthy during his two game stretch. He did suffer what appeared to be a mild inversion sprain to his right ankle during the Lions game, but he was able to quickly return after getting taped up and had no ill effects the week after against the Patriots. Despite his limited play, he appears to have found a home in Buffalo next season pending his continued progression as a running back. I would like to see him either on the practice squad again or as a depth piece in the rushing game.

The next back is FB Patrick DiMarco. The 8th year back didn’t do much this season and as a result, did not suffer many injuries. His 2018 stats were as follows: 1 attempt for 9 yards, 4 targets for 3 catches and 62 yards with 0 TD’s. These aren’t exactly eye popping statistics for an offensive captain. Most of DiMarco’s playing came on special teams and he was able to appear in all 16 games as a result. The only injury he sustained was an ankle injury during a punt return in the win over the Lions. He did appear on the injury report later that week but did not miss any time. Despite his leadership role, one has to really wonder if the money that he is getting paid is worth his production. As the team has built their culture, he may be a cap casualty going into next season. He is fine injury wise but in my opinion, not worth the money.

RB Marcus Murphy made his mark as the 3rd down back and on special teams this season with a very strong preseason before coming back down to earth once the regular season started. Murphy struggled with punt and kick returns early on, lessening his role on special teams before his season ended prematurely due to injury. His stat line this year: 11 games with 1 start for 52 rushes for 250 yards, 19 targets for 11 catches and 26 yards with 1 fumble. He missed one game against the Packers due to a rib contusion sustained in the Vikings win. Murphy managed to stay healthy until the Lions game when he dislocated his left elbow late in the 2nd quarter. Unfortunately for him, his season was finished as a result. Normally, dislocated elbows are not season ending but as he only had 2 games left in the season, he would not have been ready to play. Had the Bills been in the playoff hunt, he would have probably stayed on the active roster, but this wasn’t the case this season. His elbow injury should heal fully and not have any complications moving forward. Overall, his injuries were minimal and are not going to have any lasting impact going into next season. He has a very good shot to make the team again, but he will have to fix the mistakes from 2018 in order to have a job in 2019.

RB Chris Ivory served as a back up to McCoy this season and overall did not produce at a level equal to his pay. His stat line is as follows: 13 games played, 1 game started, 115 rushes for 385 yards and 1 TD. In the passing game, he had 21 targets for 13 receptions for 205 yards and 1 fumble. In addition to the lack of production, Ivory suffered a mild foot sprain in the Colts game that did not force him to miss anytime but did affect his production shortly after.

However, the big injury appeared to his left shoulder injury. He suffered this injury during the Chicago Bears game during a failed goal line plunge. He suffered what I believed to be an AC joint sprain that game and was unable to return. As a result, he missed the next game against the Jets but was able to return the following week. During the 2nd Jets game in December, he appeared to re-injure the area when his arm got pulled behind him on a run. He left the field favoring his left shoulder and missed the following 2 games despite practicing in full. I believe that he was dealing with pain in the shoulder region which prevented him from absorbing the hits that comes with the position. He was questionable for the final game but did play, having one of his better games of the season. Considering the Bills were also out of the playoff hunt, he may have felt that it wasn’t worth rushing back as he knows that he is on the tail end of his career, having just finished his 8th season. Prior to the season ending, HC Sean McDermott noted that Ivory’s injury was something that required rest in the off season which indicates that this was an injury that was not serious to require surgery.

AC joint sprains typically take several weeks to heal based on the severity of the original injury. I believe what happened to Ivory was that he suffered the AC joint sprain, he was able to come back mostly healed and then re-injured the area, worsening the original injury. Typically AC joint sprains do not require surgery but will require rest and proper rehab. As for 2019, this is not something that will affect him next season and he should return as his contract is not terrible and he provides stability at a weak position.

Finally, the bell cow RB LeSean McCoy. The veteran back had the worst season of his career totaling 14 games played with 13 starts for 161 rushes for 514 yards and 3 TD’s. He also added 46 targets for 34 receptions and 238 yards through the air. McCoy’s struggles could be blamed on several factors such as the off field drama with his ex-girlfriend that is still working through the courts, a subpar offensive line, and playing in his age 30 season which we have seen many running backs take a step back in their production. McCoy also dealt with several injuries that slowed his effectiveness this year.

McCoy saw groin, broken rib cartilage, left ankle sprain, concussion, and hamstring injuries this year. None of these injuries were serious on their own but cumulatively added up. He injured his groin in the preseason but was able to be available for the season opener with no lasting effects. McCoy then cracked his rib cartilage due to C Ryan Groy falling on him towards the end of the play during the Chargers game forcing him to miss one game. This was an injury that was very slow to heal and forced him to play through pain with his production varying. He was able to then play 3 games without further injury before suffering an ankle sprain and concussion on the 2nd play in the loss to the Colts. He thankfully did not miss any games afterward due to having extra time to work through the concussion protocol to be cleared in time for the MNF game. McCoy’s final injury came early in the 2nd Jets game in which he pulled his hamstring and was unable to return. As a result, he missed the next game but was able to return for the final 2 games.

Looking at these injuries, he did not have effective blocking to move the ball as he had in past seasons. The small injuries accumulated throughout the season meant that he was never fully healthy which only made things more difficult to be effective. Fortunately, all these injuries will heal in the off season and should have no lingering issues going into 2019. While he did have the worst season of his career, I believe that he will have a bounce back year in 2019 with a rebuilt offensive line and show why he is still one of the top backs in the NFL. There are some rumblings that he could be a cap casualty but GM Brandon Beane has committed to him and I expect that he will keep his word unlike previous regime’s.

This is one position that needs some serious love over the next few seasons. The position itself chews and spits out players regularly with running backs having the shortest career’s in the NFL. While there is a veteran presence, turnover will be important for 2019 and beyond. I expect McCoy and Ivory to return with Ford staying on the roster in some capacity. Murphy has a shot to stay on the roster but will have to prove his worth and battle in preseason like he did last year. As a fan, I do not see any benefit to having DiMarco come back outside of the leadership role he has, but considering veteran presence leadership is thinning out, he may stick around. It is very possible that the front office spends some draft capital to find a running back to be the heir apparent to McCoy, allowing a rookie to develop. 2019 may very well be a bridge year to 2020 and beyond to reshape the running game and further develop the offense.

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 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!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- RB/FB

Season ending review of the Buffalo Bills backfield and implications for next season.

The Buffalo Bills had a variety of personnel in the backfield this year which leaves many questions regarding roster turnover for next year. Many factors go into these decisions based on production, salary, and injuries. Today’s post will address the RB/FB positions for the Buffalo Bills

This past season, there were 6 running back/fullback’s listed on the roster that saw playing time. Starting off, RB Marcus Murphy appeared in one game against the Miami Dolphins in relief for LeSean McCoy due to his sprained ankle. The most recent backfield addition thankfully suffered no injuries during his short stint with the team and showed the ability to play in the NFL. His future with the team remains murky at best as he is an unrestricted free agent and there is a dearth of talent at the position ahead of him.

Next up is RB Taiwan Jones. Jones actually never saw a carry in the RB position, instead was targeted 2 times resulting in 1 reception for 11 yards. Most of his game action occurred on special teams which unfortunately ended his season. The 7th year back broke his forearm during an onside kick return during the Week 9 loss to the Jets. Along with the fracture, Jones dealt with a knee injury early in the season that did not cause him to miss any time. Jones is also an unrestricted free agent and while his forearm is not concerning, his age and effectiveness may leave him without a team during the off season.

Travaris Cadet headlines the next RB in this post. Cadet as you may recall, suffered a traumatic left ankle fracture and dislocation during a routine play against the Patriots. Up to that point, Cadet was an effective change of pace back who allowed McCoy to stay fresh through games. Surgically, Cadet had his ankle relocated and then had a plate with screws inserted to stabilize the area. A typical rehab protocol allocates for 12+ weeks to return to walking, but may take much longer to return to full game speed. Cadet also suffered a concussion in December prior to the ankle which did not cause him to miss time. The 6th year journeyman is an unrestricted free agent and with a long recovery time factored in, his ability to recover fully will determine whether he has a roster spot next season.

Another back who saw no time in the backfield is RB Joe Banyard. The veteran back only saw time on special teams and while he does not have the carries that similar backs have at his age, he does not appear to be able to carry a workload for a NFL team. As he is a free agent right now, I do not see him on the roster for next year.

Patrick DiMarco was used sparingly in the offense this year at the fullback position. While he only saw 2 attempts for -2 yards, he saw some time in the receiving game and as a blocking fullback. DiMarco saw injuries to his ankle during the Kansas City game but did not miss any time. The 6th year fullback may find himself back on this roster next year as he was signed for 4 years for $8.4 million dollars.

The back who saw the most time in the backup role is Pro Bowl FB Mike Tolbert. The 10th year veteran carried the rock 66 attempts for 247 yards and one TD. He became the ire of the fan base due to his use during 3rd and long with short passes or runs that shut down offensive drives. Analyzing his injury complaints, he suffered a knee injury early in the season and sustained a moderate hamstring strain that sidelined him for 3 games. While he was able to return for the Colts game, he appeared to be limited until the regular season finale. Hamstring strains and tears not managed correctly can continue to limit players through the season. With the off-season to recover, he should not have any recurring issues, but his use in the offense and an unrestricted free agent determines whether he returns next season.

Finally, RB LeSean McCoy, the engine of the Bills offense continues to climb up the rushing ranks past the all time greats. Fortunately, McCoy only had a variety of minor injuries through the season which did not affect his production. The only significant injury McCoy sustained was a sprained ankle in the season finale against the Dolphins which did not limit his productiveness in the Wild Card loss against the Jaguars. Other issues McCoy dealt with included wrist, groin, and knee injuries in addition to illness that did not force him to miss any time.

McCoy has been incredibly resilient during this season & career but is approaching his age 30 season. As history has shown, many running backs begin to suffer decline in production around this time and McCoy is no exception. Those that have rushed for 1000 yard seasons after their age 30 season have seen a drop in production 1-2 years afterward. For those that rushed for over 1000 yards either did not accumulate the yards early in their careers or they were true outliers. I expect to see McCoy return to the starting RB role next season and continue to produce for the short window he has left.

While none of these small injuries are concerning for long term, that long term wear and tear adds up and he will eventually decline. With McCoy’s production both on the ground and in the receiving game, he is vital to the Bills successes. However, the Bills are aware of this and will hopefully address the backfield in the off season. As much as both McCoy and the Bills would like to remain productive, it is inevitable that he will decline in ability and relinquish his role.

Outside of McCoy and DiMarco, I expect this backfield to be turned over with fresh legs and develop the next running back for the Bills. As I am not an expert in roster management and salary cap issues, it’s possible that others from this article find their way back to the roster as depth players. The Bills do have RB Aaron Green on a futures contract but is not guarantee to make the team next season. Injury wise, everyone can come back healthy with proper rehab and time, but it will all depend on personnel needs.

I did not forget Kyle Williams contribution of his memorable rushing touchdown during the season finale. As this was atypical, I will not categorize him in with the RB’s, but give him the words and thoughts he deserves during his position review. Continue to check back with me for the latest updates on Bills injuries and season reviews. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Bills Injury Recap- Dolphins & Playoffs

Detailing LeSean McCoy’s ankle injury and impact it has on Sunday’s playoff game.

THE BILLS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS! No this is not a typo, they finally ended The Drought; it is over, dead, gone, finished! This is a wonderful feeling that I’m trying to describe in the written word and it just isn’t quite coming to fruition at this moment. I suppose that my thoughts on The Drought finally ending could be summed up in another article for another time. As for today and every previous article, today’s post will identify injuries sustained in Sunday’s game and impact that they have on Sunday’s playoff game in Jacksonville.

It has been heavily documented and discussed RB LeSean McCoy’s ankle injury sustained in the 3rd quarter of Sunday’s game. It has since been revealed that McCoy sprained his ankle and there may be a possibility that he can play next Sunday. Looking at video, a lateral ankle sprain is pretty consistent with reports. It is difficult to see due to video angles, but as McCoy steps with his right ankle, he is being tackled to the turf. While tackled, his toes are planted in the ground, he is tackled with his body going left. This puts extra torque through the ankle joint, the ankle snapped up off of the turf as a result and he suffers a sprained ankle.

I had some initial thoughts that he fell directly onto the toe/midfoot leading to a sprain of the big toe or turf toe or a Lisfranc sprain of the midfoot. Thankfully, the lateral ankle took the brunt of the injury. This is beneficial because if McCoy is unable to push off his toe or midfoot during running, he would be even more ineffective. McCoy will be limited in lateral movements but with the proper rehab he can play in some fashion Sunday. This rehab includes range of motion stretching, pain/swelling management, light strengthening, and bracing to the area to limit further damage. Based on video, the ankle was injured, but the injury to the ankle appears to be less severe than what it could have been. As I am not the evaluating therapist, I am unable to determine severity so mechanism of injury, video, and knowledge of the area will have to do.

I believe McCoy will play in his biggest game in a Buffalo Bills uniform. I do not anticipate that he will miss the game, but may require a decreased work load to decrease injury and ensure effectiveness during each run. It does help that the field conditions will be ideal for footing and assist in reduction for re-aggravation of his injury. If McCoy is limited, both FB Patrick DiMarco and FB Mike Tolbert are available along with RB Marcus Murphy are able carry the workload. The Bills also recently signed RB Aaron Green to the practice squad to be called up in the event that McCoy does not play.

OT Jordan Mills injured his ankle late in the 2nd quarter during a block where he was forced to backpedal while blocking Cameron Wake. On video replay, he has to take several hard steps backwards and steps awkwardly on his left ankle. There did not appear to be any rolling of the foot inward which rules out a lateral ankle sprain but his foot was planted and his knee buckled in which could result in a inversion sprain or midfoot sprain due to the sudden jarring motion during the forced planting. Mills was unable to return but may also be limited for Sunday’s game. If Mills is unable to go, OT Seantrel Henderson will get the start.

As for other injuries, there does not appear to be any other injuries that should impact the roster ahead of Sunday’s game. I expect to see McCoy and Mills on the injury report along with WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Kyle Williams (groin), WR Deonte Thompson (shoulder/back). All should play without question but no one is close to 100% at this point in the season. With how this season has progressed and the injuries sustained, it will take some serious injuries to keep any of the players out from attempting to play. I do not anticipate any surprises on the injury report tomorrow, but anything can happen.

Look for articles regarding changes in the injury report later this week, my thoughts on ending The Drought, and anything else that I believe is warranted to write about. For the latest updates and game time updates, follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading, the Bills have finally made the playoffs, and GO BILLS!!

Week 14 Injury Breakdown- Colts

Breaking down the latest injury report prior to the Colts game including updates on Kelvin Benjamin, Tyrod Taylor, and Tre’Davious White.

Not surprising, more news coming out of One Bills Drive after today’s press conference and practice. The Bills aren’t quite shutting it down for the season, but after that loss to the Patriots to leave them at 6-6 and 8th in the AFC, the playoffs are becoming less and less of a possibility. It is quite disappointing after that great 5-2 start, but this team had shades of 2011 all over it and at this point, the team is playing for pride and to hopefully build a stronger foundation for next year.

Breaking down the injury report, WR Jordan Matthews and DE Shaq Lawson have been placed on IR, ending their respective seasons. Not much is known at the moment regarding what is hampering Matthews besides a knee issue. I had suspected a recurrence of tendonitis that he was dealing with during training camp, but more may be released as time passes. Lawson injured his ankle during a goal line stand against the Patriots on Sunday and based on what I was able to see, it appeared to be a high ankle sprain. This is supported by the mechanism of injury and the fact that he is on IR.

Those not practicing today are: RB Travaris Cadet (concussion), TE Charles Clay (knee), G John Miller (ankle), QB Tyrod Taylor (knee), DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest), DT Kyle Williams (groin). There is no surprise with Cadet not practicing as he is still in concussion protocol. Miller is still not practicing due to an ankle injury that has sidelined him for the past several weeks and nothing is really known; he has been dealing with this since November 16th. He may also have suffered a high ankle sprain considering his timeline and add in the fact that he has not been able to participate in practice.

Yarbrough is not practicing secondary to what appears to be the same chest injury that he was dealing with last week. Looking back at film, he did not appear to be limited and was able to play through the entire game. This may be a pulled chest muscle that he continues to play through knowing that depth is thin at his position. Taylor is dealing with his patellar tendon contusion which was detailed in my previous article. Time will tell whether he will be ready for Sunday, otherwise QB Nathan Peterman may get the start. Finally, DT Kyle Williams is dealing with a groin injury. He was able to play the entire game and while there were some instances where he could have pulled his groin, he did not have to leave the game. The only time he was off the field was when certain defensive packages allowed him rest. I do not anticipate that he will miss next game.

Those limited in practice are: WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), CB Tre’Davious White (concussion), CB Leonard Johnson (knee), RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), and OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle). It is very promising to see that Benjamin is out and running on the field during practice today. Typically, in the general population these types of injuries do require a lengthier rehabilitation to return to full function. Benjamin is may be still dealing with some minor pain and swelling, but can at this point be expected to play through some discomfort. It helps that Benjamin has access to rehabilitation daily and expert medical advice. I expect him to be able to play Sunday but be on a possible snap count so as not to create further damage. It does help that the field conditions will be poor which in turn will reduce the likelihood of injury with inability for the feet to stick in the ground.

White returning to practice after the hit he took is quite amazing but every concussion is different in how they respond. As long as he does not have any recurrence of symptoms, he should be able to play Sunday. Johnson’s knee was of little concern as he took a helmet to the knee but he should be able return to play. Tolbert and Glenn continue dealing with their respective injuries which may allow them to return to play Sunday. However, I believe Tolbert is nearly out of the woods with his hamstring injury but Glenn will continue to be hampered with his issue as I still maintain he has chronic instability.

Those able to fully participate are OT Seantrel Henderson (back) and RB LeSean McCoy (knee). Henderson only participated in one offensive play and one special team play so its interesting that he has a back injury despite such little playing time. McCoy continues to be the engine that drives the offense and with the amount of abuse that his body goes through weekly, it is expected that he would have some type of week-to-week ailment. As he is a full participant, there should be no limitation.

Interesting to note, after FB Patrick DiMarco and TE Nick O’Leary were listed on the injury report last week with their respective ankle and back injuries. Despite O’Leary missing the Patriots game, they are not present which indicates that their issues must have been minor and should not limit them going into next week’s game against the Colts.

As the injury list gets longer along with the schedule getting shorter, this is expected at this time of the year. It is impressive that the Bills have not lost anyone significant to injury reserve which could have derailed their season. Unfortunately, poor play derailed this season and a chance to end the long suffering playoff drought. Ideally, depending on how these last 4 games play out, this should allow the season to end and everyone to get healthy to come back next year.

Hopefully the Bills get another win against the lowly Colts and continue have something to play for despite the disappointment that ends nearly every season in Buffalo. This is a very winnable game at New Era Field; they should be able to move to 5-2 and at least be respectable at home. These weather conditions are suitable to Buffalo football, the Bills should take advantage of the inclement weather and use the run game that’s worked for them so well in the past.

Continue to check back for the latest updates and articles regarding Bills injuries. Follow me on Twitter at @kyletrimble88 for the latest updates and breaking news. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!

Buffalo Bills Injury Updates- Patriots

Updating the Bills injury report following many changes & clearing up the confusion.

The Buffalo Bills are making their injury report confusing with their upcoming match up against the Patriots Sunday. Is Sean McDermott and brass take a page from Bill Belichick’s book, making the injury report vague and convoluted to attempt to gain and edge over game planning for certain players? I believe this to be the case. It is also possible that the Bills are dinged up and this week’s injury report reflects that? Quite possibly too. Last game against the Chiefs saw no major injuries occur which bodes well for starting personnel to play.

Today’s post will update my last article as there has been so many changes since Sunday. Starting off with those ruled out are WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), G John Miller, RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring). No change here; Benjamin is able to perform some light drills as mentioned in the video last article, but he still has a ways before he’s realistically going to be able to return. Earliest is next week against the Colts, but I expect possibly against the Dolphins or 2nd Patriots game.

Glenn continues to deal with his issues and should only be brought back if the team is still in playoff contention. Tolbert’s injury appears to be more severe than I originally thought as this will be his 3rd game he misses. He may be able to return next week, but time will tell. I still believe it is a Grade 1 hamstring that just requires a longer rehab than most.

Questionable’s include: TE Charles Clay (knee), FB Patrick DiMarco (ankle), OT Seantrel Henderson (illness), WR Jordan Matthews (knee), OT Connor McDermott (chest), TE Nick O’Leary (back), and DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest). The interesting ones of this group are DiMarco and McDermott. After reviewing All 22 footage, there did not appear to be any instance where DiMarco had to leave due to injury. He was listed as a full participant Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, and was limited Friday. He could be an ankle sprain that is minor that the team does not want to aggravate. While I am not privy to when the Bills have padded practices, he may have been sat out to avoid full contact practices. As for McDermott, he has not appeared in a game this season so his injury remains irrelevant besides losing a depth player.

Henderson is questionable with illness; to note OT Dion Dawkins had an illness earlier, it is flu season, and that group is together a lot more than the full team practices. Others to note are Clay and Matthews with knee injuries. I believe these two will continue to be mainstays on the injury report for the rest of the season but should not affect their level of play. They have high impact positions and need continued maintenance rehab to ensure they do not suffer a decline in health or production.

O’Leary and Yarbrough remain questionable with their respective injuries, but video review showed that while they did have to leave late in the game, there wasn’t any specific play or instance where there was an observable injury. Out of the questionable players, I expect everyone to play with the exception of McDermott and possibly Henderson. There are always surprises on game day, but my goal in my articles is to better educate my fellow Bills fans.

Finally, RB LeSean McCoy made an appearance on the injury report briefly this week. He was not on the report Wednesday, was a full participant Thursday, did not practice Friday, yet is not listed on the injury report as a game time decision. Going back through the All 22 footage, McCoy was able to play the entire game and showed no limitations with his ability to move. He may have general knee soreness, but it is unknown. It is hard to diagnose an injury or limitations without seeing what happened. As mentioned above, I expect McCoy to play and not miss a step, only making the Patriots defense miss theirs.

I expect New Era to be rocking allowing the Buffalo D to step up and provide pressure all day. The Bills are 4-1 at home, hopefully they will go 5-1 under the right circumstances. I expect a close game and ideally a Bills win!

Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates. Follow me at @kyletrimble88 on Twitter for the latest updates on injuries and game day reactions. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!

Week 13 Injury Breakdown- Patriots

Detailing the latest Buffalo injury report including why video showing Kelvin Benjamin practicing is not what it appears to be and what it means.

The Buffalo Bills won a vitally important game towards remaining in playoff contention against the Kansas City Chiefs 16-10. However, most of the focus was spent on Monday’s report that WR Kelvin Benjamin is out with a torn meniscus and according to HC Sean McDermott, he is “day-to-day.” If you read my previous article, and you should, you will learn that meniscus injuries are not day-to-day, but at best week-to-week. Personally, I believe the Bills are downplaying the injury by trying to keep the fan base engaged and hopeful. Benjamin has not been a factor in the offense during the games he has been active. Yes, the Bills do lose a potential play maker, but his loss is less worrisome than when TE Charles Clay or CB E.J. Gaines went down with their respective injuries. The Bills sure do know how to sell hope; it’s their best asset after 17 years of subpar football.

Thankfully, the Bills did not lose anyone additional following the win. Those listed on the injury report not practicing today are as follows: OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), G John Miller (ankle), RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), TE Nick O’Leary (back) and DE Eddie Yarbrough (chest). Those limited in practice are: TE Charles Clay (knee), WR Jordan Matthews (knee). Those full participants are: FB Patrick Dimarco (ankle).

For those not in the Buffalo area, the NBC news affiliate WGRZ had an article on tonight’s news with video of WR Kelvin Benjamin performing ladder drills on the sideline. This tells us two things. First, this indicates that he has not had surgery to the right knee. Second, this states that the meniscus tear is smaller in nature and improves the outlook for return to play. Depending on the location of the meniscus tear which I can safely assume is in the red-red or at worst, red-white area. This is areas with the greatest blood supply, allowing for a better chance at recovery for return to play.

When interviewed by WGRZ, Benjamin states that he is feeling better and will definitely play later this season. I believe this still to be the case if he heals up and if the Bills are still in contention for a wild card spot. Benjamin can walk and run right now with a meniscus tear including performing ladder drills. If he attempts to pivot, sprint, jump, or try to extend his knee to land, his knee may lock up or catch, causing immediate pain and could worsen the meniscus tear, leading to a more complex rehab process. This is not a pain issue, but a functional issue that can worsen if not managed correctly. He could come back at the earliest for the Colts or Dolphins game if things progress really well.

Cordy Glenn may be able to come back soon as he has missed the past three games indicating that this may be a re-aggravation of whatever he has going on. However, reports state that he may also be shut down for the season. This clearly shows that he is not healthy. As the team is tight lipped on what is occurring it is hard to speculate what a viable return to play protocol can be for him. I will continue to monitor and determine if there is any change in his status or information regarding his injury.

Miller continues to be a non-factor and it appears he injured his ankle in a practice which has limited his availability. Tolbert continues to nurse a hamstring pull sustained in the Saints game, but with the change of pace play of RB Tarvaris Cadet, he has become more expendable and does not appear to rushing back to play. The Bills also have FB Patrick Dimarco which allows Tolbert to return to full health, but could potentially leave him jobless in the off-season.

O’Leary is a new addition to the injury report with a back injury. Upon video review, O’Leary was able to catch a pass halfway through the 4th quarter and then did not appear to be any other chance at injury. He may be dealing with general back soreness or recovering from a hit that precluded him from practice as a precaution. I do not expect him to miss any time for next week.

Yarbrough is also added to the injury report with a chest injury. He left at the end of the 3rd quarter and did not return. Upon video review, there was no instances where he was down on the ground or saw that he suffered any injury to his chest. Speculating on why he did not practice, he may have pulled his pectoral muscle which assists with pushing and horizontal adduction or pulling his arm in towards midline. He may have also suffered a contusion to the area; he did pressure QB Alex Smith several times and laid a solid hit on him late in the 3rd. I do not anticipate that he will miss any time.

Clay does not appear to be 100% recovered from his knee injury sustained in the Cincinnati game, but his game has not been affected as a result. He may be dealing with the chronic knee issue that he dealt with all last season, but considering that Clay’s type of injury usually takes longer to be 100%, it is most likely the most recent one. His play suggests that limited participation in practice is related to getting him the reps he needs but limit the chance of re-injury.

Matthews appears to be on the med after injuring his knee a few weeks ago but does not appear limited in running his routes or coming up lame in any of his plays. He was able to play in 62% of the offensive snaps and appears on the better side of the injury he is currently dealing with.

Finally, FB Patrick DiMarco is listed with an ankle injury but was a full participant. Looking at video and snap counts, he played in 25% of the snaps plus saw time on special teams. There wasn’t anything on video that suggested any injury and may just be dealing with a tweaked ankle which requires observation without limitation in practice.

Going into Sunday’s game against the Patriots at home allows for the Bills to have a shot at winning, but everyone must be healthy, the team must play above it’s abilities, and some luck will be required. The Patriots are beatable, this is the NFL, its any given Sunday! Despite all that is wrong with this season, the Bills are still relatively healthy compared to other teams in the league. The difference is when the Bills starters go down, the backups are not high quality as you would find on other teams such as the Patriots, Steelers, or Packers. Hopefully this will change in the coming years, but the Bills are not there yet.

Continue to check back for regular updates and future articles. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for real time updates and my thoughts as news breaks. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!