Week 7 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Will Kroft, Johnson, & Singletary finally make their home debuts?

The Bills are back into the swing of things following a well deserved & well-timed bye week. The team has been preparing all week getting ready for a tire fire that is the Miami Dolphins franchise, looking to move to 5-1. While most fans are overlooking this game as a win, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL & this is no exception. Regardless of the opponent, the Bills are getting healthier for the next 11 games. The injury concerns are as follows:

QUESTIONABLE:

LB Matt Milano (left hamstring)

Milano resumed practice Monday performing ladder drills off to the side while everyone else ran through regular drills. Considering that Milano plays such a vital role in the defense & has to react to what he’s seeing in front of him, forcing him to keep up with the play. He will have to backpedal, change directions suddenly, and sprint. These activities will require a full recovery before attempting to return to play.

Milano was limited in practice Wednesday but was running and performing drills, indicating that he may be further along than originally anticipated. He was running a straight line, albeit, not full speed. He was performing tackling drills without much compensation. He is moving well considering he had a hamstring injury, but doesn’t appear to be fully healthy. He has been ruled questionable & I don’t expect him to play. 

LB Corey Thompson (ankle surgery)

As it’s well known now, Thompson has been working back from ankle surgery that has kept him out the past 2 games.

The video showed that Thompson returned to practice in a limited fashion Wednesday indicating that he is approaching his return. He may be nearly healthy & just working to get back into game shape. It is still unknown what ankle he had the surgery on but the video appears to show some greater bulk on the right ankle which may indicate bracing for extra support. He has since been ruled questionable, but I believe he has a shot to play in a special teams role to work back into game shape. He could also be available as an emergency backup in the likely event that Milano doesn’t play. 

CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring)

Johnson has been an enigma this season, coming back from a torn labrum last season that ended his season prematurely. He appeared incredibly healthy & ready to take the next step until he suffered a right hamstring strain during the Jets game. He has since missed the past 4 games that makes me believe he suffered some type of setback prior to the Patriots game. 

It’s a shame that his body does not appear to withstand the rigors of the NFL game. This doesn’t mean he won’t even be able to play again, but he may need to reinvent himself in order to last longer than 1 season in the league. 

This week’s practice was promising that he was practicing in full, but no other updates other than his availability was noted. Interestingly though, he has been ruled questionable. The only possibility is that he wants to test it out to ensure that he is truly ready. He’s been out long enough that he should be fully healthy & regain his starting role in the secondary.

WILL PLAY:

WR Robert Foster (turf toe/groin)

Foster continues to battle through a recent groin injury & what is now a possible lingering turf toe injury. While the groin injury is more pronounced, the toe is still likely causing issues regarding running efficiency. 

However, things are looking promising for Foster as he was able to practice in full this week indicating that while he may not be 100%, he is closer to playing this week as indicated by the practice designation. Players are deemed to practice in full if they take all the normal reps at that position. They are limited if they miss reps by design or due to injury. If they did not take reps, but practiced on the side, then they are did not participate.  Thankfully, Foster will be able to play Sunday. 

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

We still don’t know the specifics dealing with Nsekhe, coming off a minor Week 3 ankle injury followed by a Week 4 injury that appears to have been either a contusion or high ankle sprain. According to still pictures from Monday’s practice, this may be more of a contusion as he did not appear to have any bracing on the right ankle. Other shots showed that he was able to go through blocking drills without any significant issues. 

Wednesday’s practice noted that he did not practice due to requiring a veteran rest day, but the video showed him performing warm-ups and side-stepping drills. Fortunately, Nsekhe was able to practice in full Thursday despite the cold & rainy weather which indicates that this supports the contusion theory. Friday’s injury report states that he will play Sunday.

There is a concern that Nsekhe is unable to hold up through an entire game, much less than an entire season. He is 33 years old in a physically demanding position with nearly a decade of professional football to his resume. Whether he can withstand full games anymore is only something that Nsekhe & the training staff know. If OT Cody Ford continues through his development, there is hope that Nsekhe can sink back into a reserve role. Until then, he will rotate with Ford unless the team says otherwise.

TE Tyler Kroft (left ankle/right foot)

Kroft is finally looking good after an incredibly trying season thus far. The video below shows that the right foot appears to be completely healed up & the left foot/ankle accepting dynamic weight bearing activities during the cone drill. He doesn’t appear to miss a step, he doesn’t appear to favor one side or slow down when pushing off. I’m very optimistic about him finally making his season debut. He was able to practice in full this week which is about as good of a sign as one can get.

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

Without question, Singletary will play Sunday! He looks excellent on video, there haven’t been any changes in how he looks from the last video available & barring a meteor hitting Buffalo, he should play, even if the weather isn’t ideal. At some point, an athlete has to play. The conditions will only be so ideal or so much rest will help. He may get injured, but any guy can be injured on any given play. Singletary continues to look good in practice this week & there should be no reason why he can’t play Sunday. 

OT Cody Ford & DE Trent Murphy (concussions)

Both Ford & Murphy are working back from concussions sustained in the Titans game and appear to be making some progress. Reports from Monday’s practice indicated that both were working through the protocol performing light aerobic exercise which indicates that appear to be in Stage 2 of the concussion protocol.

However, this week’s practices indicated that both were able to practice in full signifying that were in Stage 5, requiring that they needed to be cleared by an independent neurologist. Monday’s practice may have been just the nature of the activities they were performing rather than the actual stage of recovery. They have both appeared to have been cleared by the neurologist which indicates they will play Sunday. 

WR John Brown (groin)

Brown was a surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday with a groin injury & was limited in practice. His snap counts from the past 5 games can be seen below & did not greatly differ from game to game. 

Reviewing game footage from the Titans game didn’t reveal any specific instances of injury which leads me to believe that he suffered the injury during Wednesday’s practice. Thursday’s practice was more promising in that he moved well on film, but did not show his full abilities. However, he has since been ruled in to play but it will be interesting to see if his snap count is affected by the groin & addition of Foster. 

C Mitch Morse (right ankle)

Morse sat out the rest of the Titans game as what appeared to be a precaution to avoid worsening any injuries. He appeared to be dealing with a contusion suffered midway through the 2nd quarter. While there is pain, there isn’t much that is functionally wrong. He should not have any issues come Sunday & continue to demonstrate why he’s one of the highest paid centers in the NFL. This week’s practice supported how he is recovering with no bracing or difficulties observed according to reports. He at most may have had his ankle wrapped in prewrap & tape, but this would not be concerning for his ability to play Sunday.

QB Josh Allen (hand)

Allen appeared on the injury report this week with a hand injury but was able to practice in full. To specify, he injured his left hand when he threw his interception against the Titans in where he hit his hand against Harold Landry III’s shoulder pads.

This may a contusion that he is still having some pain with, this may also be a minor sprain of the metacarpophalengeal joint due to the direct hit on the shoulder pads. He may have some bracing to the area at worst, but unlikely as it would restrict his ability to grip the football if he were to run or have to protect the ball. 

However, as pointed out by a follower on Twitter, the injury report indicated the right hand was injured. This is a new development & previously unknown what caused this. As he practiced in full, this may not be an issue, but certainly, something to monitor. 

My predictions for inactive’s are:

LB Matt Milano

OG Ike Boettger

OG Ryan Bates

S Jaquan Johnson

S Dean Marlowe

WR Isaiah McKenzie

TE Tommy Sweeney

This is a very winnable game to get to 5-1. This Bills team is not what we are used to seeing, getting full of themselves, beating them at their own game when cupcakes like this come up on the schedule. This is a team that is built to play, a team that knows their role each and every Sunday. This team may not be the most talented, but they are certainly one of the hardest working. The bye week really made a difference in health & allowed the Bills to get back in the right frame of mind for the next 11+ games. 

 

Week 4 Bills Injury Preview- Patriots

Will mounting injuries prevent the Bills from getting a key win?

The Buffalo Bills enter Week 4 with a record of 3-0 against the also 3-0 New England Patriots with a chance to stay undefeated this late in the season for the first time since 2008. However, despite the promise of 4-0, the Bills have really taken the name of this website, Banged Up Bills, to a literal definition. Following Friday’s injury report, there are 11 players listed with a variety of injuries with even more who required veteran rest days. There have been thoughts that the Bills are taking a Patriots approach in injury reporting in order to confuse New England into having to over-prepare. While there might be a hint of the Patriot Way, the Bills are still dealing with very real injuries that will put several players availability into a game-time decision. Put a pot of coffee on, this is going to be a long one.

Special note:

If you haven’t read already, DT Harrison Phillips tore his ACL at the end of the game last week and has since moved to IR with eventual surgery. This was a big blow to the rotational depth at DT, but he suffered a direct contact ACL tear which are fairly difficulty to avoid. In his place, the Bills brought up former practice squad member DT Kyle Peko. To read more about Phillips, check out my video below & article at Buffalo Rumblings.

https://twitter.com/bangedupbills/status/1176327735444160512?s=21

RULED OUT

TE Tyler Kroft (right foot/left ankle)

Kroft is once again ruled out for the fourth straight week in a row with an injury. He is still recovering from the right foot injury that he suffered a possible Jones fracture back in OTA’s. However, the combination of the right foot fracture and left ankle sprain does not bode well for Kroft trying to return to play. There is a possibility he could return in Week 5 against Tennessee or return in Week 7 after the bye. If I was Brandon Beane, I would hold Kroft out until after the bye because TE Dawson Knox and TE Tommy Sweeney are filling in quite well in his place. 

LB Corey Thompson (ankle)

Thompson, like Kroft, is already ruled out for Sunday due to an ankle injury, later requiring surgery. He was questionable for last Sunday indicating the ankle injury was suffered previously. Reviewing film from Sunday’s win, he played in 6 special teams plays, 2 kick off’s & 4 punt coverage plays. Each play failed to show any possible mechanism of injury. All the plays occurred in the first quarter and he did not appear in the game after that. He may have determined that his ankle was bothering him too badly and declined to continue on which led to the eventual surgery.

I suspect that he had some type of ankle clean out due to possible bone chips or loose bodies from a previous injury. These are fairly routine but do take time to rehabilitate because it is still a surgery, even as minor as it appears. Ideally, with the bye week coming up, he can return quickly and continue his contributions as a key special-teams member.

RULED QUESTIONABLE

LB Maurice Alexander (knee)

Friday was the first instance where Alexander appeared on the injury report. It was reported that he was doing with a sore knee and held out of practice as a precaution. It’s unknown what is causing the knee soreness, but it has officially changed his status for Sunday to questionable. With an effective warmup before the game, he could be ready to play in limited action.

OG Jon Feliciano (neck)

Feliciano has been dealing with a neck injury suffered on the first scoring drive from Sunday. He was knocked over to the left onto C Mitch Morse and hit from the right side from Bengals DT Geno Atkins as he was falling down. He appeared to suffer a whiplash injury and did not return after the 2 point conversion. Later, he was observed wearing a neck brace in the locker room.

He has since been limited in practice the past two days with Friday able to practice in full. However, he is still designated as questionable most likely due to the limited practice days & whether he feels he can go for Sunday. The only way I do not see him playing Sunday is if he has a setback and he would have to make a decision not to play. If he is unable to go, G Ike Boettger or G Ryan Bates could step into his place. He has gone on the record reporting that he feels that he can play Sunday and I expect him to be a full participant.

WR Robert Foster (groin)

He appeared to suffer the groin injury on Wednesday, limiting him for Thursday. As this likely happened in practice, we do not know the severity or how it occurred. Foster has already been dealing with a turf toe injury during preseason dating all the way back to OTA‘s. I do not believe the turf toe is related to the groin. There is difficulty pushing off the toe and performing the movements expected every receiver to perform including twisting, cutting, pivoting, and running/sprinting. This would make everything that much more trying with a groin injury. While he is questionable, he is one guy that I could see inactive as the team already has WR John Brown as a deep threat and WR Cole Beasley underneath in order to keep the Patriots defense guessing.

CB Taron Johnson (right hamstring)

Johnson has been battling back from a hamstring injury suffered in the season opener, missing the past two games. However, he has looked incredibly good in practice from the video obtained from various beat reporters. It does not appear that he’s going full speed, though he appears to be much closer to full speed than others dealing with hamstrings. I have been on record multiple times stating that I believe he will play on Sunday and he’ll be a great matchup for the wide receivers. Expect him to play & be a difference-maker.

OG Spencer Long (ankle)

Long was another late addition to the injury report with a did not participate due to an ankle injury from either Thursday/Friday. Like Foster, we do not know the extent of his injury, nor what caused it. He is ruled questionable; this may be a game-time decision to determine if he feels he can play Sunday.

WR Isaiah McKenzie (ankle)

McKenzie was added to the injury report Thursday with a did not participate, but was able to practice in full Friday. Like several mentioned above, we do not know the extent of the ankle injury or how it occurred. There does not appear to be anything on film to suggest that there is an injury; unfortunately injuries are easy to miss due to how TV broadcasts show the game. He is somebody that is likely to play on Sunday.

RB Devin Singletary (left hamstring)

Singletary is one of the key components in the Bills offensive attack early in the 2019 season. He has been electrifying, producing 12.7 yards a carry and showing that he can handle the load left vacant by the sudden cut of veteran RB LeSean McCoy. Unfortunately, Singletary suffered a left hamstring strain late in the win over the Giants. He missed the last game as expected but has looked quite good from video obtained during the week. Since this is a hamstring injury, he is still 50/50 and will likely be a game-time decision depending on how he feels. I have a sneaking suspicion that he will play on Sunday but may be limited to prevent overworking and re-injury of the hamstring.

EXPECTED TO PLAY

WR Zay Jones (shoulder)

Jones made the injury list as a surprise addition early in the week with a shoulder injury. From my previous tweets & observations on Locked On Bills, we know that he has a shoulder injury, but don’t know the severity, side, or type. We know that he had a torn labrum two seasons ago for which he had it repaired and did not appear to have any issues last year. I do not believe this is a recurrence of the injury and there wasn’t anything from the Bengals game to suggest any new injuries. This might be soreness that the team wants to avoid any type of contact to prevent limiting his catch radius. He was not designated questionable and is expected to play Sunday.

CB Tre’Davious White (neck)

White was once again on the injury report with a neck injury now 2 weeks ago. He was wearing a red non-contact jersey Wednesday & Thursday for practice. Thankfully, he was able to practice in full on Friday and did not have an injury designation for the game Sunday. I am still not certain exactly what Tre is dealing with but this might be something that the team is closely monitoring and ensuring that he isn’t injured further in practice. As he is now becoming an established veteran, he has begun to earn these rest breaks and limited play in order to preserve his body.

If you’re still reading, congratulations, you are a true Buffalo Bills fan! I anticipate that there is a little gamesmanship going on to prevent the Patriots from fully knowing who will be playing on Sunday. I expect the inactive list to read as follows: 

Robert Foster

Ike Boettger

Conor McDermott

Ryan Bates

JaQuan Johnson

Tyler Kroft

Corey Thompson 

The only wildcards from this are Feliciano & Singletary. If the Bills are hurting for RB, they can call up RB Byron Marshall or WR Duke Williams if Foster can’t go. This is exactly the reason for depth.

Despite the Patriots being who they are, the Bills are playing at home with a deep and talented roster. I truly believe they have a legitimate shot to win. It will not require perfection, but little to no mistakes to come out victorious. Costly errors will quickly submarine their chances to move to 4-0. If the Bills come out with a W, I expect that New Era Field may shake so hard from the raucous cheering from Bills Mafia that it crumbles to the foundation. LET’S GO BILLS!