Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- CB

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!!

Bills Playoff Injury Breakdown- Jaguars

Assessing the latest news on McCoy’s ankle injury and assessing other players availability prior to the game.

The Buffalo Bills prepare for a showdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in their first playoff game in 17 years. It has been a long time coming and the Bills fan base can’t wait! The big narrative for Buffalo coming into this game is whether RB LeSean McCoy will be able to play after spraining his ankle in Sunday’s win over Miami. Today’s post will analyze McCoy’s injury along with others listed on the injury report.

First things first, LeSean McCoy will play Sunday despite being listed as questionable. That’s a fact and anyone can hold me to it if he doesn’t suit up. Worst case scenario is that his workload is limited which clinically I would prefer. This would allow him to be more effective and reduce further injury. He has been reported stating that he can walk without any pain and has been able to perform stretching in practice and was limited in practice. McCoy will continue to rehabilitate until game time and limit stressing the injured area. Thankfully, the injury was not severe, the response was not severe, the outcomes will be positive.

Others questionable are LB Matt Milano (hamstring) OT Jordan Mills (ankle), WR Deonte Thompson (shoulder), and QB Joe Webb (ankle). Milano suffered a hamstring injury during some point in Sunday’s game. As he has not practiced all week and it is a soft tissue injury, it will be difficult to determine whether he will be ready to play. Milano may be a precautionary approach as is McCoy, but severity is unknown at this time. If he is unable to play, LB Ramon Humber is able to step up.

Mills, Thompson, and Webb are all dealing with their respective injuries with no surprises here with the exception of Webb with an ankle injury. Webb’s main impact is on special teams and 3rd string QB and as he is limited in practice gives hope that he will be able to play in some fashion Sunday. Mills and Thompson should be able to play as Mills injury on video was minimal for acute injury and it is still unknown what Thompson did to his shoulder in practice. Consider that they both played through their respective injuries during Sunday. I suspect that there are some smoke screens with everyone limited in practice and questionable to prevent keep the Jaguars on their toes.

Unfortunately, CB Shareece Wright is ruled out with a concussion sustained in the Patriots game. As he is still not practicing in any fashion, this may indicate that he is still in the earlier stages of the concussion protocol and is still too early to determine whether he will be available if the Bills move onto next week.

As I have said this entire season, the health of this roster has been crucial to this team’s success. While there are several starters on IR, the team has adapted to their absence and continued to sustain success despite losses. With the roster as it is now along with those on the injury report this week are able to play, the Bills can win their first playoff game in 22 years. This is a winnable game, but must be a mistake free game and capitalize on field position and force the Jaguars into mistakes.

I am looking forward to sitting down and watching a Buffalo Bills playoff game with a cold beer in hand, food on the table, and relishing the moment. Win or lose, this has been a very successful season for which the Bills can build off of and sustain success for some time with the right moves. Time will determine how Sunday plays out, but it is promising.

Continue to check back for the latest updates and articles regarding Buffalo Bills injuries. For the latest updates and game time reactions, follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading, enjoy this moment as Bills fans, and GO BILLS!!

Week 5 Injury Breakdown- Bengals

Assessing the latest injuries prior to the showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals and how it affects depth.

The injury list continues to grow for the Buffalo Bills heading into the Week 5 match up against the Cincinnati Bengals. While the only notable players that are sure to be out are LB Ramon Humber and WR Jordan Matthews, there are still many others that are dealing with injuries. Most of these injuries appear to be players getting banged up due to the rigors of the NFL season.

Today’s article will review most everyone that has appeared on the injury list this week and attempt to determine the true severity of each player’s injury. Staring off with players who have not been limited in practice with injuries are as follows: RB LeSean McCoy (wrist), RB Mike Tolbert (thumb), and DT Jerel Worthy (thumb). It was observed that Mike Tolbert injured his hand at the end of the 3rd quarter which led to a fumble that Buffalo recovered. It is unknown how Jerel Worthy injured his thumb, but it was injured enough to appear on the injury report. Both players most likely sustained sprained thumbs which will affect play, but with proper management which may consist of taping for stability or even a wrist brace to reduce risk for further re-injury.

McCoy continues to appear weekly on the injury report due to a nagging wrist injury sustained in the season opener. While he continues to be a full participant, it does worry me that he continues to re-injure this wrist. He has been observed leaving each game briefly due to wrist pain after running the ball. He appears to jam it while cradling the ball, leading to pain and possible weakness. He could tape the wrist or wear a brace, but this limits the ability to cradle the football and effectively block. I expect him to miss some time during the game due to wrist re-injury, but the upcoming bye week may allow him to get the rest he requires to prevent worsening of the injury.

Those limited in practice were WR Kaelin Clay (back), DT Marcell Dareus (ankle), CB E.J. Gaines (groin), OT Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), CB Shareece Wright (back), DE Eddie Yarbrough (thigh), DT Kyle Williams (thumb), S Micah Hyde (knee), and DE Shaq Lawson (groin). Glenn continues to deal with his chronic foot/ankle injuries and Dareus is still recovering from his sprained ankle, which is consistent with this type of injury. Lawson injured his groin last week in practice and missed the Atlanta game.

Kyle Williams thumb injury may be similar to Jerel Worthy’s injury in that it may have been sprained due to the hand fighting that a defensive lineman performs during each play, getting the thumb hyperextended or caught. Williams is tough as nails and won’t let something like this slow him down. Shareece Wright and Kaelin Clay’s back injuries are injuries that not much information is available. This may be something that occurred during practice or something that is nagging. Considering that the spine is made up of bones, ligaments, and tendon attachments, it is quite possible they pulled a muscle, over rotated, or extended; causing pain and difficulty during tackling, running, and changing direction.

Eddie Yarbrough and Taiwan Jones also have little information regarding the nature of their injuries. These may be just contusions and limit the ability to go full speed, but do not concern me about underlying issues. Yarbrough continues to be a diamond in the rough, playing exceptionally well and Jones handles kickoff duties, which affect more game play rather than another body on the sidelines.

Finally, E.J. Gaines and Micah Hyde are questionable along with Cordy Glenn and Shareece Wright. As mentioned last article, Gaines’ groin severity is unknown at this moment, the team may take the approach that they did with Lawson last week and see how he feels going into the game, shutting him down if things don’t feel right. Micah Hyde is dealing with a knee injury that was not noted until Thursday afternoon. It was initially reported that he was dealing with general soreness which has since been narrowed down to a knee issue. This may be as simple as a sprain which he needs to rehab correctly or it may be something worse that the team wants to see how it responds before taking further action. Without video, it is impossible to speculate what specific injury may be ailing him. Losing Hyde going into the Bengals game will be a huge loss in the secondary considering the offensive weapons the Bengals have and several injuries already in the Buffalo secondary.

If this game were to be a non-conference opponent, I expect more players to be out include the above mentioned Glenn, Hyde, Wright, and Gaines. As the Bills would benefit from winning every game, it is more important to win the conference games if it comes down to tiebreakers at the end for playoff seeding. Excluding Gaines, I expect all the players listed above to play. Some of these players may see a limited snap count such as Dareus did last week. It remains to be seen if his snap count is limited secondary to discipline or whether they want to ensure that the ankle heals correctly. I am in favor of limiting snap counts in order to get the best players on the field.

I believe this game is winnable with the way the defense is playing, simple as that. How things play out with the questionable players, along with Ramon Humber’s and Jordan Matthews’ replacements will dictate the quality of play. McDermott and Beane have constantly been addressing depth and finding the type of players that fit their schemes, which in turn should reduce the drop off in quality of play dealing with replacement players.

Continue to check back for injury updates after the game and break down roster depth, injuries heading into the bye, and any injury highlights from around the league. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!