Week 10 Bills Injury Review- Jets

Analyzing the latest Bills injuries following the beat down of the Jets and how the roster looks going into the bye.

This team, one week you’re ready to swear them off for good, next week, can’t get enough. What a complete win by the Bills over the Jets 41-10 to move to 3-7 sliding into the much needed bye week! There are so many positives coming out Sunday’s game, I will leave that to the pundits who know football more than I do to diagram the X’s and O’s. It was a fun win and reassures me that there is talent on the team, the coaching staff does have a plan, and hopefully next year they begin to bring personnel in to turn their grand plans into solid results. However, I am always here to assess the injuries sustained in the blowout and how they affect the Bills going into the Jaguars game two weeks from now.

Going in chronological order of injuries, starting off with WR Robert Foster (thumb). The rookie wide out sustained some type of left thumb injury early in the 1st quarter which required an assessment by trainers. At one point he was questionable to return, eventually returning to haul a huge pass from QB Matt Barkley in the 3rd quarter and finish with 105 yards on the day. As to the specific injury, he may have suffered a dislocated thumb.  He was observed going to the locker room with a trainer stabilizing the left hand at the carpometacarpal joint which is the lower portion of the thumb that connects to the wrist. While that does sound nasty, it is relatively minor. My guess is he somehow injured it on the fake punt play, it appeared he may have hit his thumb against a Jets defender coming down with the ball or he suffered it where there is no video available. In the event of a thumb dislocation, the thumb would be reduced and put back into place, he would be fitted with a thumb spica which is a small brace which would allow him some mobility to the area but reduce further injury. Foster was wearing gloves on both of his hands which prevent us from identifying if there is bracing under for support next time we got a close up. As he was able to return to the game, the week off should be good enough to allow him to heal effectively.

DE Jerry Hughes suffered a right knee injury during a tackle in the backfield and was able to walk off midway through the 2nd quarter. Upon review, he was pivoting up on his toe and rotating to the left, the mechanism suggested a minor MCL sprain but Hughes was observed jumping around and shaking his knee out, also grabbing at the front of the knee. He also did come down hard on the knee which then we are considering a contusion to the area which would explain the limping. Either way, he was able to return and continue to provide pressure on QB Josh McCown all day. The injury appeared to be minor and something that does not concern me moving forward.

CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) exited the game once again midway in the 2nd quarter and did not return. It appears that he suffered a re-aggravation of his right shoulder injury he has been dealing with all season. It is quite possible he subluxed the shoulder once again despite bracing to the affected area, though I was not able to see him wearing it Sunday. He suffered the injury on a hard tackle midway through the second quarter, tackling the offensive player with his left shoulder, and coming down hard on his right. After the play he was able to move it around, giving several high fives after shaking it out briefly. Interestingly, despite the upbeat activity after the play, Johnson did not return to the game which makes me suspect a subluxation as there is already laxity in the joint from previous injury. This means that less force is required to disrupt the joint, leading to easier and easier injures. This is something that he has experienced previously and may require rest and rehab in order to get ready for Week 12. It may be realistic that the Bills shut him down later this season if he continues to re-injure the area so that he can have surgery and be ready for OTA’s.

OG John Miller suffered what appeared to be a right knee injury on the scoring play by WR Zay Jones late in the 3rd quarter. Video is limited but he was pancaked and rolled back onto his own leg, appearing to twist his knee going down. He was able to walk off with a minor limp but yet another injury that does not appear to be serious. In the event that he needs to sit out any time, the coaching staff have been working in additional lineman to find the right scheme fits to spring the running game which appeared to be the case Sunday.

The most serious injury of the day is LB Matt Milano (head). The stalwart linebacker suffered a hard hit early in the 4th quarter that snapped his neck to the left upon contact with Milano going down instantly. It is unknown whether he lost consciousness but he was eventually able to stand up and enter the medical tent. On broadcast and initially getting up, he was favoring his left arm which may indicate that he suffered a stinger based on how he hit and the angle of his head/neck upon impact, but the more concerning injury is the blow to the head. He was eventually brought to the locker room for further evaluation but looking at video, there is cause for concern with a concussion. Whether he actually sustained one is not known yet, but in the event that he did, he will enter the concussion protocol as QB Derek Anderson is currently working through. Time will tell how he responds and hopefully he is cleared as he is having another standout season after a stellar rookie campaign.

Those that were questionable today going into the game were LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion) and WR Andre Holmes (neck). Both appeared to play with full effectiveness and did not appear to be limited in their availability during Sunday’s win. I do not anticipate that they will continue to deal with their recent complaints and use the bye to rest up.

Overall, the Bills are in good shape going into the bye. While they are missing a lot of starters now, everyone with the exception of QB Derek Anderson appear to be ready to come back 100%. After the performance of QB Matt Barkley, there is question whether he should continue playing or to hand the reins over to QB Josh Allen. If Allen is 100%, play him and see what he can do. If there is any lingering issues which are possible considering the injury, rest him until he has no complaints or concerns. Barkley will eventually get figured out by opposing defenses which supports the idea that Allen should start, but at least the Bills have options moving forward. Personally, I would like to see Barkley or Allen starting Week 12 against the Jaguars, Anderson tutoring Allen as the 3rd QB, and QB Nathan Peterman cut and brought back on the practice squad to develop and be available if things go south.

As a fan, I am looking forward to having a week off from football. I do love the Bills, but they are mentally fatiguing at times and we all need rest. I suggest you all do the same. Over here at Banged Up Bills, continue to look for new content to help gear up for the remainder of the season. Feel free to ask questions or engage in discussions, I want you, the reader, to learn and understand these injuries so that you are a more educated fan and not a mindless lemming that is confused by clueless media reports regarding the health of the Buffalo Bills.

Continue to follow for the latest news and updates coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Reddit u/BangedUpBills, and online at www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 10 Bills Injury Preview- Jets & Why Josh Allen Shouldn’t Play

Read the latest Bills injury prior to the Jets game including why Josh Allen shouldn’t play this week despite being listed as questionable.

The bye is rapidly approaching and the Bills are welcoming it with open arms. Over the past month, injuries have been rapidly piling on, the team is on a 4 game losing streak, and analysts openly questioning whether the Bills could even beat Alabama in a theoretical match up. As fans, while we do support our team though thick and thin, we need a break. Having a showdown against a Jets team that is also having a down season could allow the Bills to secure their 3rd win and rest up for the final 6 games to gain some respectability going into 2019. Today’s article will detail the injuries going into the Week 10 showdown, why QB Josh Allen shouldn’t play, and how things may look after the bye.

Those already ruled out of the Jets game include QB Derek Anderson (concussion), TE Charles Clay (right hamstring), and DE Trent Murphy (right knee). The veteran QB Anderson is still working his way back from a concussion suffered in the MNF loss and has been unable to practice since then. As we have no video of his presence in practice, I can only assume that he is still in Stage 1-2 of the concussion protocol. This would mean that he’s still not at baseline cognitive testing or if he is, he would be in stage 2 which would be a light aerobic graded exercise program which is possibly still bringing on symptoms. It has been noted he has been working with trainers off to the side, but that has been the extent of his activity so far. Until he is able to tolerate his exercise program, he will not be able to progress in his protocol. It is too early to tell whether he will end on IR with his concussion but it is not trending in the right direction.

Murphy is missing his 3rd straight game with a right MCL knee sprain suffered late in the loss to the Colts. While he has not practiced since the injury, it is expected that he is rehabbing daily and working hard to return to the field. The team is taking it slow with his recovery as he has dealt with a multitude of injuries since training camp and do not want to experience further serious injury. When healthy, he is effective, but he must rehab properly in order to be available. Barring any setbacks or unknown information, he should be back after the bye for the final stretch of the season.

Clay is ruled out due to suffering a right hamstring injury early in the 1st quarter of the loss to the Bears. He appeared to tweak his hamstring decelerating, then attempting to change direction, eventually limping off the field. While it is difficult to identify the severity of the hamstring strain on video, it appears to be minor as he did have it stretched out and at one point have his helmet on during the game, implying that he may have wanted to return. As a precaution, not practicing all week along with the bye should allow him to return fully healthy.

To note, WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) appeared on the injury report with a knee injury but was limited only Wednesday, but practiced in full Thursday & Friday. He did suffer a shot to the right knee in the Bears game but only sat out 1-2 plays before returning. This does not appear to be anything more than soreness and should not be a factor in his abilities to play this weekend.

Those ruled questionable are: RB Chris Ivory (left shoulder), WR Andre Holmes (neck), LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion), and QB Josh Allen (right elbow). Reviewing injuries, Ivory suffered a separated shoulder or AC joint sprain during a failed goal line plunge in the 4th quarter and was ruled out the remainder of the game. While Ivory was limited the past 2 days, it does not appear that he should be ready to take the brutal hits of the NFL. Plus, being limited in practice on Friday is typically not a good sign to play Sunday.

Holmes was dealing with a neck injury that was not apparent in Sunday’s game but it worth noting that he suffered a neck injury that sent him to IR at the end of last season. There was nothing on video that stood out so it is rather difficult to identify specifics of his malady. This may be an injury we have to watch moving forward and see if it limits his reps or abilities on the field. However, the fact that he was able to practice in full the past two days indicates that this may be a minor injury and should suit up come Sunday.

Edmunds is dealing with a concussion suffered at some point in the first half of the MNF game against the Patriots. He did take several shots to the head, most notably against FB James Develin which may have brought on a delayed response in concussion symptoms. As he did not practice last week and was limited this week, he is truly a questionable decision as he will need to be cleared by an independent neurologist before returning to the field. He has been practicing without a red jersey which prohibits contact which is a good sign but no guarantee for clearance. I would estimate that he is in stage 5 of the concussion protocol but has not been cleared yet. We have seen concussions cleared the day before or day of the game such as in the recent case of RB LeSean McCoy. This will truly be a game time decision and whether he clears protocol.

Finally, QB Josh Allen as we all know, injured his right throwing elbow during the Texans game. His absence during the past 3 games along with his rehab has been intensely scrutinized on when he will be ready to return and how he will perform. It was only this week that he began throwing, albeit with a brace and on a limited basis. During the limited video available, he was making a variety of throws around the field which is fantastic to see. However, while he does appear to be ahead of schedule with his rehab, it does not mean that returning to game play ahead of schedule is always recommended. We hear all the time how this player and that player are doing well in their recovery and ahead of schedule. We hear timelines with recovery from injury and always expect to take the under on weeks for them to return. As fans, we then get upset when they’re not back by what could be perceived as unrealistic outcomes for that player as every injury is unique.

Most protocols do state that this particular injury takes 6-10 weeks to heal, much less play at full efficiency. Coming off the bye will be 6 full weeks of recovery. While I have stated he appears ahead of schedule due to his throwing program, this doesn’t mean he is ready to fully play. He does have the advantage of highly skilled doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers treating him daily which may explain why is moving faster plus his youthful age does help.

Despite performing the ability to throw and go through all his motions, Allen still has not completed a full practice which means he has not gone game speed consistently. We have also have not seen him throw without a brace which currently provides stability and compression to the affected area. Most players do not want to wear any bracing on game day as it affects their movement. The bracing that he is currently wearing in practice would be limiting the ability to naturally move during throwing and could alter his throwing mechanics if he plays long term with it on. Rushing back into the game with a brace may do more harm than good as he may perceive that he is protected from injury from the brace and do more than he should.

From a therapist perspective, it is important to load the injured area and slowly stress the tissues to build up tolerance towards the activity before going full speed. Going too hard, too fast can and does lead to further injury. At this point in his healing process, he would not severely damage the ligament with his current activities unless he were to sustain similar trauma such as the original injury or a fall onto the elbow or outstretched arm, both of which are uncontrollable at game speed. Unfortunately, he could irritate the still healing ligament in his elbow or injure other areas of his arm attempting to compensate for the elbow if he returns too soon. This could lead to a potentially chronic complaint rather than the acute injury that it is currently.

He would benefit from another two weeks off, his body will be two weeks healthier and stronger to withstand the demands of his position to reduce his injury risk. If this were not his throwing elbow, he would have been back much sooner. As a physical therapist, I would want to see that he can make all his throws, that he can make the throws without bracing, that he has no pain up to several days after throwing, and that he has no compensation patterns as a result of the injury. I would also want to see consistency in all areas over a set timeline. One day things can look great, another day, it can be awful. In the video above, we may have just seen a great day; we’re typically not privy to the bad days during practice. At this point in time, there is just too many questions surrounding his abilities and a full week of participation in practice would prove that he’s ready to come back 100%.

This is already a lost season and rushing the future of the franchise out there in meaningless games does nothing for Allen. This would be a prime way to ruin a young quarterbacks development and set the stage to rush back from future injuries before he really understands how his body recovers from injury at the NFL level. I believe the Bills only listed Allen as questionable was due to the public relations angle plus forcing the Jets to consider game planning for him which may get them to overthink their strategy. Just because he looks good, doesn’t mean he is good yet. I expect the Bills to roll out their 4th starting quarterback of the season in QB Matt Barkley with QB Nathan Peterman as backup with a heavy emphasis on the running attack by RB LeSean McCoy & Co.

To add facts on facts, so far through Week 9, 53% of players listed as questionable on game day have been ruled inactive by the Bills. So based on those listed as questionable this week, theoretically, just over half will be ruled inactive; my bets are Ivory and Allen. Edmunds is a wildcard and could go either way but I’m leaning towards him playing. Based on what we know about everyone’s respective injuries, the extra week of rest during the bye will allow everyone in today’s article to come back to play in the Jaguars contest. As for the game prediction, I believe the Bills will get a much needed win over the Jets, moving to 3-7 which will allow them to regroup for the rest of the season.

This wraps up another Bills injury preview here at Banged Up Bills. Continue to follow for the latest updates and news coming out of One Bills Drive. Follow on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Reddit u/BangedUpBills, and online at http://www.bangedupbills.com. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Week 9 Bills Injury Preview- Bears

Read up on the latest Bills injury news & why Josh Allen is still not ready despite practicing this week.

The Bills enter the 2nd half of the season in the friendly confines of New Era Field with 5 of their next 8 games at home and hopes that the 2nd half is better than the first. We all knew that this season would be a step back, but none of us are ever truly ready for the enormity of the situation when a season goes off the rails. However, with a favorable schedule and home field advantage, this is the opportunity that the Bills can use to regain some respect and build for the future. Today’s post will break down the injuries prior to Sunday’s game.

The past several weeks has been tough dealing with several key injuries which has made this season harder to digest. Ruled out already as a result of Monday’s loss include QB Derek Anderson (concussion) & LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion). Anderson suffered his late in the 4th quarter with the game essentially over and Edmunds sustained his sometime in the first half. Both were unable to practice during the week which is standard protocol while in the concussion protocol until they have worked their way up to tolerating mild exercise without symptom reproduction. The fact that they haven’t practiced doesn’t always equate to a more severe concussion, but rather that each concussion is unique and is on its own timeline. As it was a short week, both players will have another week to recover. It stands to reason that they could be ready next week against the Jets. Starting in place is QB Nathan Peterman & LB Julian Stanford, respectively.

Others ruled out include DE Trent Murphy (knee) & QB Josh Allen (elbow). Murphy suffered a right MCL sprain in the waning minutes of the Colts loss and has not practiced in two weeks. He may be practicing on a limited basis at best this coming week but I really don’t expect to see him return until after the bye. These types of injuries take 2-6 weeks to heal and considering his previous contralateral ACL injury, the training staff is not rushing him back. Thankfully the defense is playing lights out and can absorb his loss until he is ready to return.

The biggest change in the injury report is by far that QB Josh Allen is practicing on a limited basis. If you are reading my articles, you will have seen that he will not be ready until after the bye. This still stands true at this time. The reason he is limited is due to the fact that he is cleared for conditioning as outlined in rehab protocols for conservative management. He is most likely not having pain at rest or with simple movements which would let him to run with a normal motion, allowing the upper body to move naturally. In between this conditioning, he still continues to perform activities and exercises that encourage strengthening of the wrist and shoulder with healing to the medial elbow.

Within the next two weeks, Allen will ideally begin a throwing program, allowing him to slowly ramp up the speed and distance of his throws. If he begins having pain, training staff would back him off and reduce activity until pain is gone with activity and resume the program when ready. At no point will there be an opportunity for Allen to air it out to “see how it feels”. There is a systematic approach towards his recovery and the training staff will not deviate from this. I expect the rookie signal caller to be practicing on a limited basis into the bye. Pending his progress, he could be ready to play but not be 100% for the Jaguars game. The team may also continue to limit him until they are comfortable that he can perform to his maximum ability potentially causing further missed time. Overall, I believe he will return after the bye and regain his starting job.

It does not appear that there are any other injuries that were not on the injury report but could limit player effectiveness. RB LeSean McCoy is still recovering from his cracked rib cartilage from earlier this season, but his ineffectiveness is more due to the offensive line and play calling rather than his maladies. Many other players are dealing with minor injuries that they continue to play through, minimizing their time missed.

The Bills have to get through the bye, heal up a little bit, and can hopefully attack the rest of the season to end on a high note. Injuries are a part of the game, but thankfully we continue to avoid the ACL’s, Achilles, fractures, and freak accidents that can destroy a season. The Bills will get through this, they always do. As the front office build for the future, these losses now will begin to turn into wins in future seasons as their core players continue to gel and they get players to execute the game plan. This season will come to define “The Process” when we look back years from now, hopefully with a Lombardi trophy in view. I believe the Bills will snap this 3 game losing streak and send the Bears to a 4-4 record. Despite its offensive shortcomings, the Bills still have talent that can produce.

This completes another Bills injury preview. Continue to check back for the latest Bills injury 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 8 Bills Injury Review- Patriots MNF

Read up on the latest injuries and news coming out of the Bills loss to the Patriots on MNF.

I want to be upset, but let’s face it, this loss was expected, even if it was on the national stage. The 25-6 loss to the Patriots leaves the Bills at 2-6 and with one of the worst records in the NFL. One of the bright spots of the night was former Bills great RB Thurman Thomas getting his #34 retired forever. It was an incredible ceremony for a truly special player. Unfortunately, along with the less than stellar record, the Bills suffered several key injuries which put the offense in even greater doubt heading into a Week 9 showdown with the Chicago Bears. Today’s post will review all the recent roster changes, injuries, and how these impact the Bills moving forward.

Recent personnel changes include P Corey Bojorquez (shoulder) and RB Taiwan Jones (neck) were sent to IR with their respective injuries. Bojorquez, if you recall, suffered a right shoulder injury in the failed field goal fake in the win over the Titans. I had suspected that he suffered a SLAP lesion which is short for superior labral tear from anterior to posterior. Basically, he tore his labrum which explains the shoulder brace that he had to wear the next several weeks. Expect him to get surgery to correct the tear and miss the rest of the season. This may have also been a way to stash a player they like on the roster for next season without releasing him. Jones continues to be a mystery, suffering a neck injury in the loss to the Texans, but as mentioned before, there was no mechanism of injury that I was able to observe during his time on the field which makes me wonder what he exactly did. It appears that this is a serious enough injury to warrant IR and I do not believe that he would be expected that he would be able to return. If new information is available, you will hear it here first.

As a result of the above mentioned going to IR, the Bills signed QB Matt Barkley, P Colton Schmidt, and WR Terrell Pryor. As you may recall, Schmidt was a member of the Bills from 2014-2017 until his release in 2018 prior to Week 1. As the result of Bojorquez’s injury, Schmidt comes back to a familiar special teams scheme. Barkley comes to the Bills as a free agent and will act as a backup in the event that QB Derek Anderson is not available. With Barkley’s signing, the team released CB Dontae Johnson who appeared in one game with no stats.

Finally, WR Terrell Pryor comes to the Bills via free agency after being released from the Jets with an injury settlement with a groin injury in Week 6. Over the past 2 seasons, Pryor has been injured with a deltoid ligament tear located in the medial ankle that eventually forced him to IR during his time in Washington. This injury led him to eventually sign with the Jets in the off-season. During off season workouts, Pryor broke his ankle which cost him most of training camp which eventually led to his limited role with the Jets and eventual release due to the previously mentioned groin strain. Pryor immediately upgrades the WR corps and adds a 3rd weapon for whoever is behind center come Sunday. While I do not believe his time in Buffalo will be long, he will hopefully add a new dimension to the offense in order to provide a spark. In the event that the Bills QB situation continues to be murky, he could provide another option behind center as he came into the league as a QB from Ohio State in 2011.

Reviewing injuries sustained in Monday’s loss include: LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion), suffered a helmet to helmet hit on FB James Devlin with 10 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. He was able to finish out the half but had concussion like symptoms upon entering the locker room which led to his removal from the game. It may have been the Devlin hit or it could have been another routine play as he was heavily involved in the 1st half. Once he goes through the concussion protocol, he will be cleared but considering we are unable to identify the severity on film, only time will tell how he responds to recovery. In the event that Edmunds cannot start, LB Julian Stanford will get the start.

QB Derek Anderson (concussion) suffered his concussion with 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter on a sack from LB Kyle Van Noy with a clean tackle that forced Anderson’s head to appear to whiplash coming down which would have led to the concussion rather than a direct blow to the head. Similar to Edmunds, time will tell how he responds through the week. The above mentioned signing of QB Matt Barkley is insurance in the event that Anderson is not available Sunday. QB Nathan Peterman is slated to start in Anderson’s absence.

Finally, T Dion Dawkins suffered some time of ankle injury midway through the 3rd quarter according to the initial radio broadcast; however, reviewing film did not reveal any injury along with missed time and he was able to finish out the game. He did not show up on the injury report and this may be non-factor moving forward.

Overall, the Bills did have minimal injury coming out of Monday’s loss, however the uncertainty of the concussion’s of Edmunds and Anderson leaves the leaders of the defense and offense, respectively, in doubt. This team will have to scrape and claw for each and every win the rest of the season in order to just stay competitive. As a fan it is tough to see the front office staff punt this season away but their long term vision is much greater than one season and should lead to long term, sustained success.

Continue to check back for the latest 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- LB

Assessing the LB positional injury review from the 2017 season.

Continuing this off-season is the positional injury review’s of this past season for the Buffalo Bills. Today’s review focuses on the LB position. This was a position of weakness during the 2017 season which was horrendous against the run. Whether this is good or bad, most of the unit returns along with some new faces which allow for greater depth. There was a total of 6 players to suit up at the position with a wide variance of statistical success.

First man up is LB Lorenzo Alexander. The elder statesman of the corps managed to stay incredibly healthy during this past season. He was a frequent participant on the injury report requiring weekly rest days but never for a specific injury. The 34 year old, undrafted free agent out of California has spent 11 years in the league playing a variety of positions which may explain why he has such staying power. His ability to adapt to a variety of positions including offensive tackle, tight end, defensive tackle, linebacker, defensive end, and fullback along with special teams. This has forced him to pay close attention to his body and how it operates to adjust to the demands of the positions which I believe has allowed him to stay in the league as long as he has. Despite being one of the older players on the field, he is still able to produce with 3 sacks, 53 tackles with 12 assisted, and 3 forced fumbles. Unless there are a number of linebackers that impress the coaching staff, expect Alexander to remain on the roster in 2018 and continue to be productive.

Next up is LB Preston Brown. The 4th year LB had an incredibly productive season, leading the NFL in tackles with 144 total tackles, 84 solo and 60 assisted and adding in 3 forced fumbles. Brown also thankfully avoided the injury report which is why he was able to be so productive. Despite his availability and production, the Bills did not resign him in free agency, allowing him to sign with his hometown Cincinnati Bengals. While his production is lost, the Bills at least addressed the positional need through the draft with LB Tremaine Edmunds.

Adding the veteran presence of LB Ramon Humber brought mixed opinions from pundits as the veteran has been around the league for 10 years now playing for Indianapolis, New Orleans, and most recently Buffalo. As a 30 year old linebacker, he was able to produce 56 solo tackles, 27 assisted with 1 forced fumble while playing in 13 games and starting 9. Humber only suffered a broken thumb in the win over the Falcons in November, had surgery to stabilize the area, and then proceeded to miss 3 games. During that time, rookie LB Matt Milano stepped in and overtook his starting position, leading Humber to be a depth player, typically what he has been his entire career. The thumb won’t cause any issues coming into the 2018 season but due to his age and ability, he may find himself a camp cut unless he impresses the coaching staff.

Speaking of LB Matt Milano, the rookie 5th round pick out of Boston College impressed many this season with his ability to step up in place of the injured Humber. The rookie saw time in all 16 games and started 5. Milano was able to collect 29 tackles with 14 assists along with a forced fumble with return for a TD and added in 1 interception. While he is not the linebacker that McDermott envisions to run his defense, he has shown the ability to be aware on the field as evident by the statistics he collected this season. Injury wise, Milano stayed relatively healthy, only suffering hamstring injuries early in the season in September and then a more severe injury to the hamstring which kept him out of the playoff loss in Jacksonville. It is unknown whether this was the same side or two separate injuries. As hamstrings are soft tissue and can heal fully, he should not have any setbacks going into this season. He is still a young player and adjusting to the NFL which could put him at risk to develop further hamstring or chronic injuries, but as he sat out the last game and was able to rest, I do not believe this to be the case. Expect Milano to pick up where he left off and continue to produce in 2018.

Rounding out the linebacking corps is LB Deon Lacey and LB Tanner Vallejo. Lacy was largely ineffective, totaling only 1 tackle and spending most of his time on special teams. During his rookie season, he suffered hamstring early in the season and did not appear to re-injure it later. The coaching staff will most likely decide his fate as he was primarily special teams player. As for Vallejo, his rookie season got off to a slow start with a knee injury late in the preseason. After that, most of his playing time was in special teams with no stats recorded on defense. As he was a draft pick of this regime, I expect him to find a place on this roster for next season.

This finishes out the players who suited up at linebacker for the Bills in 2017. The LB position demonstrate significant turnover with my picks of Alexander and Milano locks to return to the roster and Humber and Vallejo competing for backup jobs. Lacey will find himself out of a job unless he impresses in camp. Add in 1st round draft pick LB Tremaine Edmunds out of VA Tech along with UDFA LB Corey Thompson out of LSU, free agent signing of LB Julian Stanford, and practice squad member LB Xavier Woodson-Luster will help reshape this position drastically.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest news updates and articles on the Buffalo Bills. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!