Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- S

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 4 Recap- Falcons

Breaking down the Bills latest injuries including thumb fractures, surgical approaches, and long term outlook.

This is a Bills team that continues to impress so far into the 2017 season. The defense is looking better than ever, Tyrod Taylor is moving the ball well, and serious injuries continue to be at a minimum. The Bills pulled out a solid win against the defending NFC champions, winning 23-17. These Bills look good, but I am not getting my hopes up yet. This happened in 2008 and 2011, both of which became lost seasons.

Unfortunately, with a hard nose win, comes some tough injuries which does affect how the next few weeks play out. A total of 4 players went out with some significant injuries that some will miss extended time. LB Ramon Humber and WR Jordan Matthews are out with broken thumbs, also known as the first metacarpal, the portion of the thumb that is highlighted as the broken area in the picture. Reports indicate that both will have surgery with Matthews requiring a pin to hold the fracture in place. There are not reports that Humber will require the same technique which may indicate a different type of fracture which may affect healing time.

fr_metacIllustration 1: Credit: http://www.mdguidelines.com/fracture-metacarpal-bones

While there are multiple ways to break a thumb and various ways the bone can break, the surgical options are fairly straight forward. For Matthews’, he will require a pin or “K-wire” which is inserted into the bone to hold it in place while it heals, which typically takes 3 weeks until it can be pulled out. A small piece of the wire sticks out of the skin and is protected to reduce infection. This is called a Bennett’s type approach. He may require this surgery due to a portion of the bone that has become fractured and requires stabilization to ensure proper healing.

Humber’s surgery may take the approach known as a Rolando’s type approach due to the nature of the break. Humber may have had several small breaks in the first metacarpal requiring a surgical approach to bring together all the various pieces together using a plate and screws to secure the area while it heals. Considering that the surgical area will be sewed shut, it is possible to have a cast placed over the area and continue playing. To better understand the difference between the thumb surgeries, please check out this link. While it does have basic drawings, it is the best resource that makes understanding the differences easily.

Next up is S Colt Anderson with a broken forearm. Any of my readers, please tell me what the Bills see in this guy? He continually gets hurt and I personally fail to see the value in him being on the roster. However, he suffered a broken forearm and has since been placed on IR. Typically, an injury such as this is sustained due to a direct blow to the arm such as during blocking or hitting the arm against a helmet. It is unknown which bone he broke in his arm, but he will require surgery which typically places a rod and screws to stabilize the area to ensure that it heals properly.

Finally, E.J. Gaines suffered a pulled groin on a hard tackle after changing direction in the 4th quarter and left the game. As of now, it is unknown how severe the injury is, but if it is similar to Shaq Lawson’s injury, then he should recover well. He was able to walk off on his own power and did not need any immediate attention which may indicate a mild strain. To understand further what the groin is and how it affects the football player, check out this article.

Expect to see Gaines at worst miss the next game, but considering he has more time than Lawson to recover, it’s possible for him to play in some fashion Sunday. Depending on the severity of the Humber fracture, he could come back after the bye and play in a cast while he continues to heal. Matthews on the other hand, makes his money using his hands and will require a longer recovery time because of this and the nature of the surgery. He will come back at some point during the season, but I wouldn’t expect him to come back until the Saints game on November 12th. This will give him at least 4 weeks to recover and then with the Jets playing the Bills on Thursday night, no sense in rushing him back and gives him an extra week to recover.

To make up for these losses, the Bills signed WR Philly Brown, S Trae Elston, and S Shamarko Thomas, moving S Colt Anderson to IR and releasing S Robert Blanton and DE Eric Lee. The Bills continue to make moves to keep the depth at a premium and sign players who know the system, allowing for a smaller learning curve.

Continue to check back for updates and any new injuries. These Bills may be real, let’s see how real they can get! Go Bills!!