2020 Week 7 Bills Injury Review- Jets

Are the Bills finally getting healthy?

A win is a win when at the end of the year no matter how easy or ugly the game may have been. An 18-10 score completes the season sweep of the New York Jets and first sweep since 2015. Behind a strong performance of 6 field goals from K Tyler Bass, the Bills found ways to move the ball down the field and score points despite the offense sputtering. The defense came up strong in the second half, only allowing 4 total yards to the Jets offense, finishing with a game-sealing interception. 

To top it all off, there were no publicly reported injuries. In light of the good news, there are still several topics to discuss below as upcoming decisions based on injuries will take place. Check it out below.

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen continues to deal with a left shoulder injury sustained in the Raiders game. Against the Titans and Chiefs, he has struggled for accuracy and has not looked himself while wearing a shoulder brace to protect the area. 

He came out sporting a new brace to protect the shoulder but it appears that this is less restrictive than his previous one. I was able to observe that under the shoulder brace, he did have kinesiotape which likely helped support the shoulder but allowed him change the brace without sacrificing stability. It’s also noted that he ditched the brace last week in the 4th quarter against the Chiefs in order to improve his throwing mechanics. 

I will expect to continue to see him wear the brace to protect the shoulder until the end of the season. 

CB Tre’Davious White (back)

White suited up on Sunday after being ruled questionable following Friday’s practice. White played in 100% of defensive snaps. The fact that he plays but is limited during the week indicates that this back issue he has is the pain centered with the goal of reducing activity through the week to be ready on Sundays. This is something to continue to monitor and I expect that this issue will not go away as the season progresses. 

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral) 

Milano played in 33% of snaps indicating that he was likely on a pitch count. I had thought he would miss two games and that appeared to be the case. He was also in on obvious passing downs which supports the notion that he is healthy enough to play but not quite there with regards to tackling fully. His playing time should ramp up for the Patriots game as he will be needed much more against a far better opponent. 

He was noted to be wearing a shoulder harness that limits shoulder abduction and external rotation with those movements placing stress on the healing tendon/muscle. He will likely not be 100% until after the bye, but healthy enough that his presence is greatly needed over the next 3 weeks in order to keep piling up the wins. 

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral tear)

Feliciano continues to wait to return to play following his pectoral tear back in August. I had originally thought that he would return around midseason in Week 8. While not confirmed, his 21-day practice window is closing on Wednesday with the team to make a decision on whether to activate him. It’s likely that he will be activated, but the team intends to use the full window before they make the decision. 

LB Tyrel Dodson (right hamstring)

Dodson was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring strain which indicates that the injury is possibly a Grade 2 strain which will take 4-8 weeks to fully heal. I would speculate that he is closer to the 4-week variety. It’s hard to say how long he’ll be out, but it’s likely that he will be out the next month as he rehabs. 

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)

Lewis was active Sunday following being deemed week-to-week with a wrist injury sustained in the Chiefs game. It still isn’t clear what he is dealing with, possibly a fracture due to the club, but it’s serious enough to not play against the Jets. It appears that he was available only in the event of an emergency. With the potential return of CB Levi Wallace from IR potentially this week, this could be a one for one swap if the team goes this route. 

S Jaquan Johnson (back)

Johnson popped up on the injury report Friday with a back injury but played on Sunday, appearing in 57% of special teams indicating that this wasn’t a concerning issue. He doesn’t have any known back injuries, but something to note as he has become an important special teams contributor. 

TE Dawson Knox (calf/COVID)

Knox was ruled out prior to Sunday’s contest but was placed on the COVID/Reserve list Saturday after testing positive, also forcing TE Lee Smith, TE Tommy Sweeney, and PS TE Nate Becker onto the list due to being close contacts. While it’s highly unfortunate that Knox contracted COVID, this may benefit Knox in the long run as he can rest for the next week which may allow him to return fully healthy once cleared. According to protocols, if he was asymptomatic, he can return after 10 days from the initial positive test and have two following negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

If he was symptomatic, he would have to wait 10 days from when the symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours from when he last experienced symptoms. So it’s possible that Knox could return by next week to play, but we won’t know that unless we know that he was symptomatic. This is a waiting game at the moment. Hopefully, Smith, Sweeney, and Becker test negative and can return to their respective roles quickly. To read more about the COVID testing, check this article out.

The team should be getting a lot of players healthy this week with the possibility of another name or two popping up on the injury report. Despite not having Knox for the foreseeable future along with potentially G Cody Ford, the additions of Feliciano and Wallace should help immensely in order to allow the Bills to take control of the AFC East next Sunday against the Patriots. 

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo News

2020 Week 7 Bills Injury Preview- Jets

The injury list is long, pick your poison.

The Bills 4-0 start seems like ages ago following two straight losses to the two best teams that the AFC had to offer last season. Sitting at 4-2, the Bills are still in a prime position to win the division and host a playoff game for the first time in a quarter-century. Despite being in the driver’s seat, it doesn’t feel like they can field a healthy team in order to keep the march going strong. 

In the time writing these weekly injury reports, this is one of the more taxing ones that have been completed. There are simply a lot of injuries. There have been other weeks within a season that have had a lot of designations, but the list thins out or guys get healthy. We are now feeling the effects of injuries piling on top of injuries with multiple guys already ruled out prior to Sunday’s matchup against the Jets. Fortunately, the depth that the Bills have is still sufficient in the short term to get through this week. Below is the extensive list of injuries.

OUT

G Cody Ford (right knee)

Ford is ruled out for Sunday after sustaining what appears to be an MCL sprain to his right knee as the result of getting rolled upon in the 4th quarter. He was able to walk off under his own power before requiring the cart to head to the locker room. I had thought he would benefit from a short term IR stay but the team has not elected to go that route quite yet. Considering he was playing through a groin, possible left shoulder/elbow, and now knee, he could use the break. Regardless of the IR decision, Ford will be out Sunday.

WR John Brown (left knee)

Brown was ruled out for Sunday due to a left knee injury sustained in the Chiefs game. This occurred in the first series as Brown was trying to catch a cross route when he fell onto the left knee. He was hobbled by it the rest of the game and was largely ineffective.

Based on the latest injury alone, he probably could play through it, but considering all the injuries he’s been dealing with including the previous knee injury along with calf and foot issues, he could use a week off and that’s what appears to be happening following a week of DNP’s. The week off should do him some good in order to get ready next week for the Patriots. 

TE Dawson Knox (calf)

Knox will miss his second straight game with a calf injury originally sustained in the Titans loss. The severity is unknown but considering he will now miss two games, this says that it isn’t minor. The literature does show that these can take some time to heal, on average, 17.4 days which means he’s not quite there yet. At this point, he will need full practices 2 out of the 3 days in order for me to be convinced he plays. The more time Knox misses, his 3rd game total due to a concussion, the less he can be relied upon as a weapon for Josh Allen.

Update: Knox has since been placed on the COVID/Reserve list along with Lee Smith, Nate Becker, and Tommy Sweeney.

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

Norman reportedly tweaked the same hamstring from training camp, which according to records, was the left side. He has since been ruled out and we do not know the severity of the hamstring which will make a timeline tough to establish. 

Due to the previous hamstring strain, he was at greater risk of re-injure the area with the literature showing a 33% recurrence rate. Hopefully, the injury was minor and he comes back in time for the Patriots game. If he can’t go, CB Levi Wallace will come off IR, giving the team some options.

LB Tyrel Dodson (right hamstring)

Had Dodson not been injured, we possibly would see Milano sit another week due to the lack of need. However, since Dodson injured his right hamstring on a punt return, Milano may be pressed into service Sunday. Dodson has already been ruled out and may miss the Patriots game as well. Hopefully, Dodson is not out too long to give this team depth and versatility in the second half.

Update: Dodson has since been placed on IR.

QUESTIONABLE

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral)

Milano continues to battle back from a left pectoral strain suffered against the Raiders in Week 4. He appeared to be on track against the Chiefs to play but the research didn’t support a return that quickly with him ultimately missing another week.

He is far more likely to play in the Jets game considering the lack of depth available at the linebacker position. With any injury, he would benefit from additional time off but he is probably healthy enough to play and be effective. I expect him to play with the shoulder harness and give the defense a needed shot to get right for the coming weeks. 

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)

Lewis continues to practice with a club on his left hand following Sunday’s injury attempting to tackle Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It’s not clear what he did to the wrist but it’s significant enough that he has to wear a club on his left hand and that he was ruled week-to-week. The one upside to his injury is that he can go out to perform all the duties of the cornerback position with the exception of catching interceptions. Considering the lack of depth, Lewis may be forced to be active but available only in case of an emergency. 

CB Tre’Davious White (back)

White appeared on the injury report again with his back injury that has been bothering him since the lead up to the Titans game. Outside of it being a pain-related issue, we still don’t have details as to what is flaring things up. 

While he is not playing quite at the level he was last year, he is still playing at an above-average level which makes him still one of the best options on the team even not fully healthy. I expect he plays or at worst, is active but only in case of emergency. It’s unfortunate that the team has to resort to suiting up injured players, but such is the case with the Bills this week. 

ACTIVE

QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Allen continues to practice in full with the left shoulder injury sustained in the Raiders game. I have thought his throwing mechanics have changed due to the injury which could explain some of the misses over the last two weeks. I expect him to come off the report soon but to linger on the report as long as he has is important to note later on. I still suspect he tore his labrum or injured his rotator cuff, but I will be looking to see if he continues to wear a brace on Sunday for stability. 

S Jaquan Johnson (back)

Johnson popped up on the injury report Friday with a back designation but practiced in full. There is absolutely no idea what he could be dealing with unless we get more information. Due to the issues in the secondary, any nick or bruise draws concerning responses from the fan base.

Other Injuries:

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral tear)

Feliciano has been discussed in the game plan this week for the first time since before his injury occurred. His 21-day window to practice without counting towards the active roster is rapidly closing and the team will have to make a decision by October 28th.

By the time you’re reading this, Feliciano will likely have been activated from IR. I do not expect him to take all the snaps in his first game back but he should see a decent amount to get live game reps to prepare for the second half of the season. A corresponding move to bring Feliciano back will either mean someone is cut or someone is placed on IR, hopefully, Cody Ford.

TE Tommy Sweeney (foot)

Sweeney is mentioned because he is now eligible to return from PUP following a six-week stay. The team has five weeks to activate him to practice and from there, they have a 21-day window to activate him to the roster. I had thought that he suffered a stress fracture and is still working back from the injury. Considering the struggles that Dawson Knox has had, Sweeney could be a nice addition in the coming weeks. I will be interested to see what the plan is moving forward.

Update: Sweeney has since been placed on COVID/Reserve list.

G Quinton Spain (foot soreness/released)

Spain was a surprise release following two games where he was declared inactive due to foot soreness. While he was a good player last year and had recently signed a contract extension, it simply did not appear to work out due to the team wanting to develop Cody Ford at the guard position. Details aren’t exact with regards to the reasoning of the release, but I would expect it was because he wasn’t happy with his playing time.

While it is not a great look to release a former starter, it is better to cut loose a player who does not want to be there rather than let any potentially negative attitudes fester in the locker room. Best of luck to Spain in his NFL journey as he looks to find a new home.

As a result of this move, the Bills elevated DT Justin Zimmer to the active roster and signed LB Ahmad Gooden to the practice squad.

Inactives:

TE Dawson Knox* COVID

CB Josh Norman

G Cody Ford

LB Tyrel Dodson* IR

QB Jake Fromm

WR John Brown

RB TJ Yeldon

Call ups:

CB Dane Jackson

CB Lafayette Pitts

The only upside is that the Bills are playing the Jets this week. Had we been forced to play another team such as the Patriots or Seahawks, this game could have been rough. Along with having a lesser team in the Jets, they are also dealing with their own injuries seen below. 

Those are some key players that are injured that could make an already depleted team even more susceptible to a loss. But according to Tom Pelissero, QB Sam Darnold is expected to play.

While there are questions about whether the Bills are the real deal following two losses, these are the kind of games where a winning team must come in and do their job, beating a lesser opponent. Ideally, the Bills take care of business and move onto the Patriots in addition to getting healthier as the team enters November and the second half of the season.

Top Photo Credit: BillsWire USA Today

2020 Week 6 Bills Injury Review- Chiefs

How did Ford hurt himself & when is Milano coming back?

Primetime is not an ideal time for the Bills to play in the year 2020. Two primetime games, albeit, an altered schedule with the end result being two losses. To keep things in perspective, the Titans and Chiefs losses come at the hands of the AFC finalists from 2019 & the defending Super Bowl champions. 

Either way, a 4-2 record and first place in the division is still nothing to scoff at. On top of it, the Bills continue to trend towards getting healthier after appearing to regress towards the mean in regards to total injuries. They continue to avoid the season-ending variety of injuries and progressing towards getting healthy for the second half of the season. Below are the known injuries from Monday night. 

In game injuries:

G Cody Ford (knee)

Ford went down at the beginning of the 4th quarter with 14:36 left as the result of a right knee injury. Looking back at the film, Ford actually injures the knee on the 3rd down play just prior with a pile of bodies falling on top of him. He stayed in during the 4th down play and injured the knee further when he got rolled up on from behind, forcing his knee to the ground. He reportedly was able to walk off under his own power but required the cart to get to the locker room.

By video, it appears he suffered a right MCL sprain due to the mechanism of the injury & the Bills designated the injury as a knee. I had originally thought he could have suffered a high ankle sprain based on having his leg rolled upon. Having an MCL sprain is a far better outcome than a high ankle sprain. MCL sprains vary by severity and it may appear that he suffered a Grade 1-2 sprain due to his week-to-week designation by the team. These can take 2-4 weeks to recover based on the literature and falls in line with what we have seen termed as week-to-week. That designation may have been made considering his other injuries as well.

Credit: PTHealth.ca

This is an injury that isn’t all that concerning as these injuries heal up well and do not have lingering problems once healed. While Ford may only miss 1-3 games, I question whether he wouldn’t benefit from a short IR stay from a pure injury standpoint. This is despite him playing some of his best football over the past few weeks. This would help the team in two ways. 

This would allow Ford to address his groin, possible left shoulder/elbow injuries, and now right knee. This would also open the door for G Jon Feliciano to return to the active roster without having to outright cut someone. Expect Ford to miss the Jets game & possibly the Patriots game as well. 

LB Tyrel Dodson (hamstring)

Dodson left the game early in the 3rd quarter on the punt return with 10:37 left with what appears to be a right hamstring strain. He appears to injure the hamstring trying to slow down once the fair catch was called. He began walking to the sideline motioning to his right leg indicating something was wrong. His night ended as a result and he has also been deemed week-to-week. 

Credit: Orthoinfo.aaos.org

Considering this is a hamstring injury & we see how conservative the team is with management, he will probably miss at least the Jets game, possibly the Patriots game as well. We typically see these hamstring strains miss anywhere from 1-3 games based on previous management by the team.

The only upside to his injury is that LB Matt Milano will possibly be returning after a two-game absence which helps cushion the loss of Dodson as depth. 

CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)

Lewis had his night end early with a wrist injury midway through the 1st quarter. This was the result of a missed tackle on Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It is not clear what he injured, but he came back out to the sidelines with a heavy wrap to the area, but ultimately did not return. 

It’s hard to say what he exactly injured because he attempted to tackle Edwards-Helaire, missing the tackle and getting swung past him. The left wrist hits Edwards-Helaire and then Lewis falls to the ground. Looking at other angles doesn’t suggest he did anything differently. I don’t have clear information about the exact injury. As the week progresses, we will see in practice his availability or bracing he may have on the wrist. Right now, this one is inconclusive.

WR John Brown (calf/knee)

Brown can’t seem to get out of his own way this season when it comes to injuries. He has been dealing with the foot sorenesss/injury, likely calf strains, and recent knee injury. His lack of production Monday night could also be tied to injury as he appeared to tweak something early in the game on a catch going out of bounds. He never quite looked right in his play and finished with 0 catches on 4 targets. 

It’s difficult to identify what he injured on film early on due to the sideline being in the way, but All-22 shows that he appears to strike his left knee while he was falling to the ground to catch the ball. He came up walking gingerly, appearing to favor his left leg, the same one he appeared to injure in practice prior to the Titans game.

Regardless of the injury, he simply is not performing up to his standard of play and satisfying the needs of the offense. It appears that Brown’s injuries are not severe enough to outright bench him, but he is clearly not the effective player that he was last year. He may have to continue to battle through these nagging injuries until he gets to the bye week for some much-needed rest.

Other injury observations 

 LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder) & QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)

Both Edmunds & Allen both shed their respective shoulder braces at different times for Monday’s game which was an interesting decision. Edmunds shed the brace just prior to the game which is a good sign in his healing process. The team continues to acknowledge he is working through a shoulder injury, the fact that he has ditched the shoulder brace tells me that this injury is more of an AC joint sprain.

If he had torn his labrum, instability would still be present & the chance to partially dislocate or fully dislocate would still be there. I have no doubt it is still painful for Edmunds to play, but there are pain management strategies along with rehab available to help him as he continues to heal.

Allen removed the shoulder brace for the final drive of the game which ended in an interception. I’m not certain why he ditched the brace as I do believe there is some instability present in the shoulder due to the original injury. I have thought that Allen has been forced to change his throwing mechanics as a result of the injury the past two weeks, keeping his left arm closer to his chest during throwing which limits the ability to rotate the trunk. This is something I am going to continue to dig into and reflect back on as there is more data & film available. 

He may have shed the brace for the sheer fact that he wanted no restrictions in his ability to construct a game-winning drive. Allen did not come through in the clutch but he also avoided injury. It’s also important to note that he took more runs this game, but they appeared to be more designed runs, allowing him to follow his blockers & reduce the chances for an errant hit. This will be something to continue to assess as the season progresses. 

G Jon Feliciano (pectoral injury)

Feliciano continues to practice within his 21-day window to return to the active roster following his pectoral injury from July. He has until October 27th to become activated by the team or return to the IR for the season. Sean McDermott would not comment on whether he would be activating Feliciano due to not wanting to give the Jets any possible advantage in game planning. 

I see one of two scenarios play out. The team could activate him Saturday & cut someone in time for Sunday and he begins working back into the lineup. Or he misses Sunday’s game and is activated that Monday or Tuesday when the team has the possibility of putting someone on IR in his place like I had suggested earlier in the article with Ford.

Feliciano should come back & I had suggested a return date of the end of October in my Buffalo Rumblings article from August. The only way he doesn’t come back is if he had a setback, but nothing appears to be suggesting that. Look for the big man to play against the Jets or Patriots.

LB Matt Milano (left pectoral injury)

Milano has been sorely missed the past two weeks dealing with a pectoral injury sustained against the Raiders. He was questionable leading up to this game and there were hopes that he would play. But the research did not suggest it and unfortunately, it was accurate. Considering he was close to 50/50 on playing Monday, that opens the door to return in Week 7 against the Jets. 

We still have to see him practice in full this week, but considering he was limited with also a full practice in there indicates that he is progressing. A matchup against the NFL’s worst team could be a nice welcome back game for Milano as he gears up for the second half.

G Quinton Spain (foot soreness)

There still isn’t any new information on Spain’s foot soreness from Tuesday’s game. This is something to continue to monitor but not well-timed due to the fact that Cody Ford is dealing with his injuries. Hopefully, this foot soreness is mild and he can begin practicing more this week.

The team is getting healthier, the injuries they have sustained continue to be overall minor but have prevented the team from fielding an effective roster. A bounce-back game against the Jets is needed to move to 5-2 both in terms of confidence and health. The team will need both as the following 3 games against the Patriots, Seahawks, and upstart Cardinals are true tests if the Bills want to show that the first quarter of the season wasn’t a fluke. We will see what the rest of the week brings as the team prepares for Sunday against the New York Jets.

Top Photo Credit: Rochester First

2020 Week 2 Bills Injury Preview- Dolphins

Will the LB corps survive without Milano & Edmunds?

We knew that injuries during the regular season would be increased due to the lack of preseason, but injuries are taking their toll greater than most Bills fans would like. The big talking points of the week was Josh Allen running the ball along with the injuries to Matt Milano & Tremaine Edmunds. 

We will let the talking heads and Twitter debate the abilities of Josh Allen in the rushing game, but you’re here for the injury breakdown. 

There have been several new developments this week with the injuries that will be described below. The one thing that I want to impart to the readers is how drastically different doing this job is this year. What I’m seeing is not that the injuries change, we are seeing an increase in frequency that was expected, but in how the Bills are using the Injured Reserve designations and Practice Squad call ups. 

We are seeing injuries would normally be played through or that wouldn’t require extensive time missed get that IR designation or missing the game altogether. I have several theories on their roster management in how it pertains to each player, but this will continue to take time to get adjusted to interpreting properly. Make sure to come here for the latest Bills injury impressions.

OUT

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

Edmunds has been an interesting injury to assess this week. He injured it while trying to tackle Jets WR Jamison Crowder on the 69-yard touchdown late in the 3rd quarter. The only contact that he made was with the ground falling into the turf. His right shoulder hit the turf hard with his arm close to his body. He played in the extra point play but didn’t appear in distress.

He was assessed in the blue medical tent for a while, later coming out without pads, signifying his day was done. Later in the locker room, he didn’t have any ice, bracing, slings, anything to allude to the severity of the injury.

He then practiced in a limited fashion in mostly individual drills Wednesday and Thursday. Typically limited practices translate towards a player likely suiting up on Sunday. Edmunds was ruled out Friday morning even before practice took place. 

Either this injury is way more severe than we thought, which is entirely possible. Instead of the contusion/minor AC joint sprain, there still is the possibility of a labrum or rotator cuff tear. That is a scary proposition, but if the labrum is torn, I expect to see bracing used next week on the right shoulder. This was not something I observed this week from video available below.

You can also use bracing for a rotator cuff tear, but it is not necessary as we saw with G Jon Feliciano last year. I have thoughts that the shoulder is still a painful shoulder contusion. This is something that he could have played through, but the team is allowing him to be fully healthy and miss a winnable game instead of laboring through the next few weeks with it. If it’s worse, then maybe a trip to the IR would do him good now that it’s 3 weeks in duration instead of 8 weeks. 

The fact that the coaching staff did not get the opportunity to get preseason looks at their other guys may have played into this decision as well. If they know they can be without him, then they can get their backups some of the vital game time reps that they needed to improve as players. Add in the practice squad call ups in with both LB Deon Lacey and LB Andre Smith available, why wouldn’t you want to protect your top assets with other guys who can at least fill in for the time being?

Until we get more information, I don’t believe my eyes are deceiving me. I wonder if this is more of the coaching staff maximizing the new roster rules to a competitive advantage.

LB Matt Milano (hamstring, possibly right)

Since his injury on Sunday, he has been a long shot to play. He had 3 straight DNP’s which usually equate to being ruled out for Sunday. I’ve seen various percentages for return to play, anywhere from 13-18 days on average for a Grade 1 hamstring strain, but Milano would not have fit that timeline anyway. He will miss Sunday, but his absence can be withstood as Miami still doesn’t appear to be a threatening team yet. The hope is that the hamstring was truly minor and he can return next week against the Rams. That’s a big hope for me right now. If not, a matchup in the desert against the Raiders may be more likely.

Before I can be sure of a true timeline, he will have to have at least 1 full practice but would do better with 2-3 before I could say he’d be out there. If he continues to miss & be limited, then it was likely more severe and he’s looking at 3+ weeks, similar to what the team has done in the past. There is a possibility that he goes on IR which Sean McDermott had alluded to in Friday’s press conference, but now it’s too early..

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (quadriceps)

Phillips is out with a quadriceps injury after missing 3 straight practices. He only played in 7 special teams plays according to snap counts. He did not appear in the game again following the kick-off which resulted in a touchback following the score that sent the Bills to a 14-0 lead. On broadcast, the camera pans towards the location of the ball, unfortunately away from the Bills running down the field. For All-22, that play does not exist. For whatever reason, there were glitches and delays for All-22 this week and that play may have been a casualty. 

Until he resumes practicing and getting full practices in, we are left to guess the injury and when he returns. Considering this was a touchback, this leads me to believe it may have been more of a quadriceps strain sprinting or slowing down rather due to the lack of contact. This could also be from a previous play that he could not continue to play though. I didn’t see any major contact for him, but some injuries are virtually impossible to spot on film.

ACTIVE

WR John Brown (foot)

Everyone was quite worried about Brown missing practice Wednesday with a foot ailment. Little information is known other than Stefon Diggs had no idea he wasn’t at practice. 

Brown could have had some general soreness from Sunday due to getting actual game reps, he could have had it stepped on, he could be dealing with plantar fasciitis with sudden overloading of the tissues due to the loss of reps from preseason. There could be a Morton’s neuroma where a nerve in the foot between the metatarsals is irritated, leading to pain. 

He could have strained some of the musculature in the foot, he could have stubbed his toe at home, there’s just so many possibilities that it’s impossible to pinpoint without Brown or the team noting what he’s dealing with. 

Film review didn’t show anything definitive but he may have been limping a little after plays in the 4th quarter. Could have been fatigue, could have been the foot, but there was not anything definitive on film to suggest an injury. 

He did practice in full on Thursday and Friday, not receiving an injury designation for Sunday. This will be one to watch in case he has issues later. Right now, I don’t have any reason to believe that this is a huge concern. He will be someone to watch closer on Sunday. 

WR Vernon Butler (hamstring)

Butler missed last week with a hamstring strain despite being questionable. While the weather is supposed to be much warmer and still wet, the extra week to recover along with full practices all week only made him more available. I’m excited to see how he will perform. There is still concern he could re-injure the hamstring, but after 3 weeks since the original injury, the risk continues to lessen, but not eliminated. Keep in mind, every injury is unique and responds differently to treatment.

LB Tyrel Dodson (neck)

Excellent to see Dodson cleared to play for Sunday following exiting the game late with what we now know was a neck injury. Looking back, he may have suffered a generalized neck strain or whiplash when he completed his tackle. There may have been more soreness and limited movement rather than outright damage. 

He is taking over starting for Tremaine Edmunds on Sunday which will be a huge test calling out plays for the defense. This is his opportunity to show why the team stuck by him last year following his domestic violence issues last year and keeping him on the roster this year. 

DE Jerry Hughes (calf)

Hughes was a surprise addition to the injury report Thursday with a calf ailment. He was limited on Thursday but able to practice in full on Friday. He may have had some calf soreness that he missed some drills for, leading to the limited designation, he may have injured it Thursday, little is known. 

This is yet another soft tissue ailment that we expect to see early in the season. With the calf, I am slightly worried about his ability to explode off the line with that first step and get around the edge. He might have a little less explosion, but to the casual fan, may not be noticeable.

Whatever it is, Hughes will play through it, we saw that last year with his wrist and groin. Right now, I consider this to be something to note, like a timestamp, in case issues occur later. 

WR Isaiah McKenzie (hamstring)

Like Hughes, McKenzie was limited Thursday but with a hamstring. He may have been feeling something and pulled himself out or injured it the day before. Considering he is cleared for Sunday makes me think it’s not a glaring concern. 

But hamstring strains don’t just disappear. We will have to watch if this is recurring. I also did observe last year that despite an injury, players were still active but played little or not at all due to the Bills not being able to field a full roster otherwise. I don’t believe this to be the case, but sometimes injured players have to be active. 

Once again, something to note and reference in case of injury later.

Inactives:

LB Matt Milano

LB Tremaine Edmunds

LB Del’Shawn Phillips

G Ike Boettger

RB TJ Yeldon

QB Jake Fromm

Final thoughts:

It’s easy to worry about all the soft tissue injuries and the linebacker corps. This was going to happen when the preseason did not allow guys to prime their bodies to game time action. The Bills also have a lot of depth available to withstand most of these injuries. They have also been churning the bottom of the roster and practice squad bringing in free agents weekly, trying to find out who else they can bring in if further injury occurs. 

The Bills are still in great shape heading into Sunday with the Dolphins not having starting linebacker Elandon Roberts out with a concussion. DE Clayton Fejedelem is doubtful with a pectoral injury and WR DeVante Parker is questionable with a hamstring. 

A doubtful designation isn’t a great chance to play and considering the weather mentioned above being warm and wet, I don’t believe Parker plays, especially after injuring last Sunday. If he does play, then I expect him to be limited and increase the potential for this to linger all season. Not the best idea for your top receiving option.

The Dolphins are better than the Jets, but this is an opportunity for the Bills offense to take control now that the defense is not at full strength. With the rain, I expect to see some injury incidence reduce due to the poorer footing, but the risk isn’t totally eliminated. I expect a Bills win and hopefully to write a much shorter article postgame.

2020 Week 1 Bills Injury Review- Jets

How serious is Edmunds & Milano’s injuries?

The Bills showed up and did their job. That’s the most important take away of Sunday. But there were several injuries that really had the fan base shook up, specifically at the linebacker corps. There were also some concerns about the Bills ability to pull away in the second half, letting the Jets get back into the game, albeit briefly. Below are the injuries & severity.

S Micah Hyde (left ankle)

Hyde went down late in the first quarter while attempting to change directions to bat down a Sam Darnold throw & came down with a lower leg injury. Video isn’t the best, but an explosion of rubber pellets as Hyde jumped from the turf shows him attempting to bat the ball to his right. He came down and was having issues with his left ankle, hopping off briefly before returning. He later had it heavily taped up for the second half.

He may have tweaked the ankle just prior to jumping by quickly changing directions. It appeared it was more of a pain issue than anything else because he was moving fairly well the rest of the game. This appears to be a garden variety sprain, whether its lateral or medial, based on how he was jumping, possibly medial. This could change though with other video angles. This is probably not an injury that will end up on the injury report; he may feel the effects of it for a few games but it’s not something that typically causes long term issues despite his position unless he suffers a re-injury which I am not concerned about. 

LB Matt Milano (right hamstring)

Milano was a surprise addition to the injury report during the game with a hamstring due to him being shown on the sidelines talking to trainers and then walking slowly into the tunnel later. The initial incident wasn’t apparent until going back to the game footage. With just under a minute left in the 2nd quarter, Milano managed to tackle Jets WR Jamison Crowder out of bounds with his body swinging towards the sidelines as he took down Crowder. He attempted to stay on his feet, keeping his right leg up, landing in a half kneeling position. Considering he was trying to stop the forward momentum, it’s possible this is when he injured the hamstring trying to stop. This may be more of a proximal strain, which means that it’s closer to the buttocks.

The other possibility is the next play where he once again took Crowder down but the tackle doesn’t appear to suggest that he would have strained the hamstring on this play. He may have felt it starting to tighten up and pulled himself out. 

Considering the game was just about out of hand, it appeared wise to pull him out of the game. This was also an opportunity to get some of the backups vital reps that they simply did not get during the preseason. 

He has since been classified as day-to-day and it’s very possible that Milano misses the next game against Miami. He could return as soon as after 1 game or could miss 2-3 based on severity. Once he strings together some limited and full practices, then we will know how severe the injury was and when he will return. If I had to pick a game to miss, I’d be alright with this one. I’d expect LB Andre Smith to be called up from the practice squad for Sunday. 

LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder)

The entire fanbase grew really concerned when Edmunds went to the injury tent midway through the 3rd quarter following the Crowder TD. He fell hard on his right shoulder while trying to make the tackle. He was in on the extra point but didn’t have to do much in the backfield. 

He had to remove his shoulder pads to receive a full assessment, eventually going to the locker room before returning without his pads. Based on video, it looks like he suffered a hard fall onto the shoulder. His arm wasn’t out to brace the fall, he didn’t require immediate attention and he did not require any wrap or sling on the shoulder. 

He was also observed later in the locker room with the arm at his side but not supported or in obvious distress. He may have fell hard onto the shoulder and it simply be a contusion or it could be an AC joint sprain. 

A contusion is more pain limiting, same goes for a mild AC joint sprain. He could get an injection for the AC joint if it’s bothering him next week but it’s something that can be played through.

There are other possibilities such as a labrum tear or rotator cuff sprain, but that won’t be known without further information. The only way we know if there is greater damage is if he’s wearing bracing or reports stating otherwise. 

Right now, it appears that Edmunds dodged a bullet and is currently day-to-day. 

LB Tyrel Dodson (not specified)

Dodson was the last linebacker to go down with an injury though it isn’t quite apparent what he was dealing with. From the video, it appeared that he simply got the wind knocked out of him trying to complete the tackle. He was down while trainers tended to him but he was able to get up under his own power. This may have been more of a scare due to the lack of depth at the position by that point, but unless more information is released, this doesn’t appear to be of any concern. Once again, he is also day-to-day.

LB Del’Shawn Phillips (quadriceps)

Little is known about Phillips, reports came down shortly after Hyde’s ankle injury that he was questionable to return with a quadriceps injury in the 2nd quarter. It is not readily apparent on broadcast when he suffered the injury. Typically I’ve seen quad injuries as either a strain or contusion. This is just a very meaty portion in the upper leg that can absorb some contact. He has since been listed day-to-day. I believe practice will tell more of his availability for next week. 

Injury Roundup:

CB Josh Norman (left hamstring)

A lot changed from my last article when Norman was ruled out of the game to when he was placed on IR. Fortunately the rules are different and allow a player to return after 3 weeks rather than the normal 8 weeks. Had this occurred in a normal season, the team likely doesn’t make this move. 

He will have the time to rest & rehab at this point. If this hamstring was more of a Grade 2, then 6 weeks total is more appropriate for him to return closer to 100%. It must be noted that Grade 2 hamstrings can take up to 8 weeks to fully heal. If it was a Grade 1 with reaggravation, then he could also get healthy within the timeframe which could be the more ideal situation. I am concerned for re-injury regardless of each scenario. We will have to see when he gets reactivated & his practice participation to when he can realistically play.

DT Vernon Butler (hamstring)

Butler was held out of the season opener likely as a precaution due to the weather since the rain could have exacerbated the hamstring. He did practice in full last week which is a great sign, but this also likely means that he should be able to play next week in Miami. The big thing for Butler will be to stay hydrated in order to avoid a re-injury due to the heat.

Final Thoughts:

Each injury in itself wasn’t all that concerning when isolated, but seeing 2 out of 3 starters and 4 of 6 total linebackers go down with injury is expectedly scary. All with the exception of Milano should return to play Sunday. Despite the team being conservative with hamstrings, there may be a possibility that Milano suits up. Impossible to determine until the practice report comes out later this week. Even with these injuries, the Bills still have excellent depth to overcome these brief deficits as they head into Week 2 against the Dolphins.

Photo Credit: AP

LB Tyrel Dodson Injury Profile

#53 Tyrel Dodson

Position: LB
Height/Weight: 6’3/220 lbs.
Age: 22
College: Texas A&M
Year joined Bills: 2019
Acquired: UDFA

College Injuries:

No publicly reported injuries.

Pro Injuries:

2019 Bills:

No publicly reported injuries.

2020 Bills:

Neck strain, Week 1, missed 0 games.

Right hamstring strain, Week 6, went to IR, missed 4 games.

General links:

2020 Bills Injury Preview- Linebackers

Bills 2020 Training Camp Injury Preview: Linebackers

Will Milano suffer another hamstring strain?

This is Part 9 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 9 consists of the linebacker room.

Not Returning

LB Lorenzo Alexander 

16 games, 7 starts, 9 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 2 sacks, 50 combined tackles, 31 solo, 19 assisted, 4 TFL, 9 QB hits

Newly retired, Lorenzo Alexander brought a lot to the Bills during his four years in Buffalo and really helped set the stage for hopefully long term sustained success. He was an effective leader, willing to do the dirty work on special teams, and guide young players as they entered the league. 

Despite his age and willingness to play anywhere asked, Alexander did not suffer any known injuries during 2019. In fact, he barely showed up on the injury report during his time with only a partially torn hamstring and ankle injury back in 2016. Since then, Alexander has not appeared on the injury reports with the exception of veteran rest days. 

While Alexander certainly suffered injuries that were not reported, he walks away from the game on his own terms, especially coming in as a UDFA, carving out a 15-year career. This was evident by his most recent post where he is wearing a surgery gown, ready to go into surgery for an unspecified procedure. Considering he has the NFL insurance & documentation from the injuries, it is wise to get any ailments addressed now while it is covered.

Bills Mafia thanks him for all that he brought to the area and we wish him well in retirement. 

LB Maurice Alexander 

7 games, 8 combined tackles, 6 solo, 2 assisted

Alexander did not quite have the season that he likely envisioned when he signed with Bills. He came in to compete for a backup job and contribute on special teams which he earned out of training camp. Unfortunately, he suffered a number of injuries and was pressed into playing on defense which likely led to his season-ending on IR.

During his 7 game stint with the Bills, he suffered knee, left hip, and calf injuries, with the knee injury originally occurring against the Bengals. He was questionable for the Patriots game but eventually played. He then suffered a left hip injury filling in for the injured Matt Milano playing against the Dolphins. 

He was later ruled out against the Redskins with a knee injury and then placed on injured reserve the next week with knee and calf injuries. The specifics of each of the injuries were never really divulged but whatever the injuries were, they were severe enough that he ended his season early. He has yet to find a job in 2020 but could find something if injuries occur if rosters expand due to the pandemic.

LB Julian Stanford 

16 games, 1 fumble recovery, 3 combined tackles, 2 solo, 1 assisted

Stanford, a crucial special teams contributor leaves the team following the Bills not signing him to a new contract for 2020. He contributed throughout his time with the Bills & at times was effective when called upon for defense, specifically in the season finale against the Jets. During 2020, he did not suffer any known injuries. He will also be forced to find a new team for 2020 in order to stay in the NFL.

Returning Players

LB Corey Thompson 

12 games, 5 combined tackles, 2 solo, 3 assisted, 1 TFL

For a player that is a backup and mainly special teamer, Thompson was oft-injured throughout the season. Despite all the injuries, he was still able to appear in 12 games and perform well on special teams, with his only defensive performance in the season finale against the Jets. Thompson continued to battle to be relevant on the field this year, but the injuries did take a toll on him.

Thompson’s injuries below:

    • Groin strain

He suffered a groin injury midway through training camp that may have been minor, but he still sat out as a precaution against the Panthers in the preseason. He did not appear to have any recurrence of the injury later in the preseason or regular season, but if not addressed properly, those injuries can linger and cause missed time in chunks as the injury becomes more chronic.

    • Ankle surgery

It was initially reported that Thompson suffered an ankle sprain just prior to the Bengals game which left him designated as questionable. It was also never revealed which side he injured. He ended up playing in the game, recording his lowest snap count of the season with 6 plays, indicating that he was not fully healthy to contribute. 

He missed the next 4 games requiring ankle surgery that was never fully explained why he required the procedure. At the time, it was thought that he may have bone chips or loose bodies floating around in there, causing the ankle to lock up. There are many other possibilities that it could have been, but considering there wasn’t a clear mechanism of injury and lack of reporting regarding the specifics, truly hard to say what he was dealing with.

Whatever it was, it was minor enough to only miss 4 games and then return to play later in the season. My initial guess is that this injury will not linger into 2020, but without more details, I am not 100% certain.

LB Tremaine Edmunds

16 games, 16 starts, 1 INT, 9 passes defended, 1.5 sacks, 115 combined tackles, 66 solo, 49 assisted, 10 TFL, 4 QB hits, 1 safety

Edmunds really can do it all. He has morphed into the middle linebacker that the Bills thought he could be when they drafted him in 2018. He also doesn’t appear to be stopping peaking anytime soon with his best football still appearing to be ahead of him. 

Thankfully he continues to stay healthy, suffering no known injuries in 2019. While he does play an incredibly physical position and is not immune to injury, the fact that he has avoided missing time due to concussions, strains, and sprains bode well for the linebacking corps going into 2020.

LB Matt Milano

15 games, 15 starts, 9 passes deflected, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1.5 sacks, 100 combined tackles, 64 solo, 36 assisted, 7 TFL, 7 QB hits

Matt Milano continues to outplay his original draft position which could set him up nicely for a payday when free agency arrives next year. He started off slow during his rookie year before coming on strong in the second half. He followed that performance in 2018 until an ankle fracture with dislocation stopped him from likely making a Pro Bowl that year. 

Milano came back strong from the injury and had quite a complete season, missing only one game due to injury. 

Below is Milano’s injury breakdown:

    • Left hamstring strain

He suffered the left hamstring strain while trying to catch Titans TE Jonnu Smith on the long reception in the second half. He began to decelerate before grabbing at his left hamstring as he ran out of the frame. He ultimately took 2 weeks to recover from the hamstring strain while only missing 1 game along with a well-timed bye week.

He returned to play against Philadelphia and did not appear to have any issues the rest of the season indicating the strain was mild to moderate. He also dealt with some hamstring issues during his rookie year which is concerning that this may become a more frequent injury for him. Recurrence rates for hamstring strains from year to year can be as high as 30% but vary based on the grade of injury.

It is also interesting to note that the Bills do treat hamstrings incredibly conservatively in order to ensure that they return to play at 100% instead of pushing them and risk re-injury. Considering his history and position he plays, there is concern that he suffers yet another hamstring strain either in training camp or early in the season as everyone adjusts to the abbreviated offseason.

LB Vosean Joseph 

Spent 2019 on IR with a torn labrum in the right shoulder

Joseph, unfortunately, suffered a shoulder injury after getting drafted in the 5th round of the 2019 draft. While Joseph wasn’t a lock to make the roster, the shoulder injury he suffered certainly didn’t help things. It appeared that he tore his labrum at some point during the 2nd preseason game which resulted in going to IR with season-ending surgery. Labral tears are typically full recoveries & the re-tear rates are anywhere from 13-26%. 2020 will hopefully allow Joseph to step up to the active roster and show why the Bills drafted him in the 5th round. 

LB Tyrel Dodson

Dodson spent the season on the practice squad and suspended list due to the domestic violence incident he had with his girlfriend. He ultimately served a 6 game suspension on the commissioner’s exempt list before ultimately being waived and signed to the practice squad. As expected, Dodson did not suffer any known injuries during the season and will hopefully come in ready to play with all his personal issues behind him.

LB Del’Shawn Phillips

Phillips spent the second half of the season with the Bills practice squad before signing a reserve/futures contract following the season completion. He enters the 2020 season with no publicly known injuries in the past 3 years and could fight for a practice squad/expanded roster spot if the league allows it. To read more on Phillips, check out the article at Banged Up Bills.

New to the roster

LB AJ Klein

It feels like the Carolina connection is becoming repetitive at this point. Klein is yet another example of a player who found success down south & is reuniting with Sean McDermott. Klein comes in understanding the systems and has shown to be healthy as evidenced by the article over at Buffalo Rumblings. He is certainly a player that can fill the gaps and provide veteran leadership as some of the younger players continue to develop.

LB Tyler Matakevich

Matakevich comes to Buffalo as a special teams ace after 4 seasons in Pittsburgh. The only concern he has injury-wise coming in was a torn labrum several years ago. In the Buffalo Rumblings, it was mentioned that there is an 8-10% chance that he re-tears the labrum. But up above with Joseph, there is a 13-26% chance he re-tears. The difference being the first source is more general population, the second source is more specific to the NFL. Either way, his risk is minimal due to the injury being several years old. 

I’ve read multiple instances where it will not be a good thing if Matakevich is playing defense for the Bills and that still appears to be the case going into 2020. 

LB Mike Bell

Bell is a familiar face, having spent rookie minicamp with the Bills in 2019 as a safety before ultimately being cut. He was out of football in 2019, working on a position change to linebacker and adding 20 lbs to his frame in order to adjust. 

There is a hope that he could transition as Matt Milano did coming out of college, but there is no guarantee that Bell will be able to adapt fully until he spends some time with an NFL roster, whether it is training camp or practice squad. To read more on Bell, check out Banged Up Bills.

2020 Outlook

The linebacker corps come into 2020 fairly healthy with Edmunds, Milano, & Klein locks to make the roster. Between the three, a knee and hamstring injury cost them a total of 2 games last season. There is concern regarding a recurrence of the hamstring strain for Milano going into 2020, but hopefully, he comes into training camp in excellent shape to help mitigate his risks. 

Others that are locked to make the roster include Matakevich, Thompson, & Joseph if he has a healthy training camp. Dodson, Phillips, & Bell all are still in play and will likely be in the plan for practice squad or bottom of the roster decisions for depth insurance. Most of the injuries at the position belonged to Maurice Alexander who takes his baggage with him into free agency. 

I am slightly concerned about the overall depth at the position if the top 3 get injured at any point. It is not realistic that there will be starting-caliber players for depth purposes at any position, but a lot will be riding on the health of the unit to ensure its effectiveness in 2020.

Bills Season Injury Review-Linebackers

Read up on the returning & new faces of the LB corps going into 2019 including how injuries may impact them.

As training camp approaches, optimism is high for the linebacking corps in 2019. The spotlight is placed on this unit due to the lack of availability in 2018 that was apparent as key injuries occurred. During the off-season, Brandon Beane made it an effort to find more talent in order to create competition at the position in the event that starters go down. Today’s post will review the injuries from 2018 and if it will impact 2019.

First up is LB Corey Thompson. The rookie UDFA out of LSU appeared in 6 games with 1 start. During his playing time, he was able to rack up 1 forced fumble, 14 combined tackles, 8 solo, 6 assisted, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit. Injury-wise, he suffered a minor ankle injury during the loss to the Patriots. Thankfully, this was not an injury that appeared to be serious and does not have any repercussions going into 2019. However, Thompson will have a difficult time making the roster with all the additional depth and will have to make his mark on special teams to have a chance.

Next up is LB Deon Lacey. The veteran linebacker appeared in all 16 games with 0 starts, completing 7 combined tackles, 5 solo, 2 assisted. Most of Lacey’s playing time was spent on special teams where he did not appear to suffer any injuries but he will once again have to fight tooth and nail to earn another spot on the 53 man roster for 2019.

LB Julian Stanford makes the list as another primary special teams contributor from 2018. He appeared in 13 games with 1 start. He accumulated 1 forced fumble, 1 sack, 15 tackles, 13 solo, 2 assisted, 1 tackle for loss. While his contributions appear to be more versatile compared to his other special teams’ counterparts, he still is also not a lock to make the roster. Injury-wise, he suffered a broken nose during the last preseason game which caused him to miss the season opener. He also missed the last game of the season due to what appeared to be a high ankle sprain during the loss to the Patriots. This isn’t an injury that lingers but he will still have to fight in order to make this roster in 2019.

Next up is the ageless LB Lorenzo Alexander. Despite his age and time in the league, Alexander continues to produce, appearing in 16 games with 8 starts. During the season, he recorded 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 6.5 sacks, 74 combined tackles, 55 solo, 19 assisted, 11 tackles for loss, and 10 QB hits. On top of his stellar play, he continues to avoid injury through his rigorous recovery routine during the season. He is coming back to the team in 2019 as he is an incredibly vocal leader and will still prove to be valuable on both defense and special teams.

LB Tremaine Edmunds arrives next on the list with a solid rookie campaign but at times had injuries which limited his ability to fully showcase what made him a 1st round pick in 2018. His stats are as follows: 15 games, 15 starts with 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 sacks, 121 combined tackles, 80 solo, 41 assisted, 5 tackles for loss, 7 QB hits. While he was incredibly productive as the quarterback of the defense, injuries certainly impacted the ability to maximize his potential.

Edmunds suffered a concussion early in the season during the first Patriots game on MNF in where he collided with FB James Devlin and caused him to miss the next game against the Bears. Edmunds also suffered injuries to his right leg and low back during the season. The right leg injury was due to the foot getting caught in the turf and being hit by a falling body which could have caused some serious damage if he was falling the other way but thankfully he just tweaked things. He also suffered a back injury during the win over the Lions which did not cause him to miss anytime but he was labored in his movements following the hit from OL Frank Ragnow. None of the injuries were serious outside the concussion, but Edmunds has a lot of work to do to improve off his rookie season in 2019.

Finally, LB Matt Milano rounds out the linebacker group from the 2018 season. Milano was on pace for a Pro Bowl season appearing in 13 games with 13 starts accumulating 3 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 sack, 78 combined tackles, 52 solo, 26 assisted, 12 tackles for loss, 3 QB hits before injury struck. Reviewing all his injuries, Milano suffered a head injury during the first game against the Jets. Considering he had the bye week right after the game, it was unknown if he was officially diagnosed with a concussion, but it was not something that appeared to cause any long term issues.

Unfortunately, Milano’s season was cut short with a gruesome ankle injury in where he broke his fibula as the result of QB Sam Darnold falling onto his ankle and Milano getting hit from behind. There was and still is much concern regarding how he is progressing in his rehab which I have detailed in my article with Buffalo Rumblings. He should be 100% going into the season and this is supported by his full participation in OTA’s. He is another component that will continue to shore up the linebacking corps in 2019 and take the defense to the next level.

New faces to the team include 5th round draft pick LB Vosean Joseph, UDFA’s Tyrel Dodson & Juwan Foggie, and FA Maurice Alexander. It’s likely that L. Alexander, Milano, Edmunds, Joseph, and M. Alexander all make the team with Dodson, Thompson, and Foggie possibly making the practice squad as they still have eligibility. As for Lacey, he still has a shot to earn a roster spot but as he is a veteran, there may be cheaper options on special teams. This will be a strong corps regardless who makes the final roster as McDermott has a penchant for linebackers and safeties on special teams. The top half of the linebackers is set, the bottom half will be fun to watch!

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!!

Bills Post Draft: UDFA Signings

Assessing the injury histories of the Bills UDFA signings and their injury histories.

Even though the Bills addressed a lot of needs through the draft last weekend, they were far from done, signing a slew of undrafted players to nearly fill out the 90 man roster. Today’s article will review the injury histories of each UDFA and whether they have a shot at making the roster come the regular season.

First up is QB Tyree Jackson out of University at Buffalo. The familiar face was reportedly one of the first players signed following the draft and appeared to be a priority for the front office to begin developing future signal callers. This is a far cry from past regimes that were looking for a quick fix through free agency or hoping to hit in the draft. Injury-wise, he was relatively healthy through his college career despite being a mobile QB. He did suffer a knee injury in 2017 that caused him to miss 4 games. Specifics were not given on the injury but considering the timeline, his mobility, and lack of reports indicating further complications lead me to believe he suffered an MCL sprain. This is not an injury that typically lingers and is supported by the fact that he played in all 14 games last season.

As for Jackson’s future in Buffalo, I expect that he’ll make the practice squad, soaking up what it means to be an NFL pro with the possibility of moving up to a backup role with the Bills or getting scooped up by another team to develop. Still, an excellent signing by Buffalo to identify future talent.

Next is WR Nick Easley out of Iowa. The productive WR out of the Midwest spent only 2 years with the Hawkeyes compiling 103 receptions for 1024 yards and 9 scores. During his 2 years, he suffered a collapsed lung with broken ribs during the regular season finale but recovered well enough to play in their bowl game which is incredible due to the pain alone of broken ribs. In 2018, he dealt with several nagging injuries for which I could not find specifics but he did not miss any games as a result. One article from 2017 revealed several injuries he stated that he had dealt with over his collegiate career included: turf toe, ankle sprains, two concussions, and a severe high ankle sprain from high school. The ankle sprains could have been something chronic over the past year in which he suffered a sprain but quickly recovers due to the scar tissue already present. However, most of these injuries are unfortunately common injuries players sustain but can vary in severity with regards to games missed. I am not certain that these injuries mentioned are what he dealt with this last season, but merely opens a window into what he played through. Future injury concerns moving forward, the broken ribs/lungs are not concerning but the concussions and ankle injuries can cause further worry as previous concussions increase the risk for future concussions. In addition, the ankle injuries could become chronic if not rehabbed properly, leading to more frequent injuries due to instability.

Considering he had to work his way up from Iowa Western Community College to D-1 football to the NFL, he has shown the ability to work and tough it out. While I don’t know how he will fit in with the WR corps, he may be someone who could sneak onto the roster with special teams play and an excellent training camp.

OL Blake Hance our of Northwestern demonstrated that during his time in Evanston, he was incredibly durable at a violent position. He at one point made 35 consecutive starts until an ankle injury forced him to miss one game early in 2018. Overall, he played in 51 out of a possible 53 games for the Wildcats demonstrating his health. He is yet another player that the Bills have placed a priority on with regards to avoiding major injury during college and being available. Considering the academic reputation that Northwestern has, he could be an intelligent developmental player on the practice squad that earns roster consideration in the future as the Bills continue to mold their offensive line.

Another local player that the Bills picked up as a UDFA was CB Cam Lewis out of Buffalo. It’s always said, you can never have too many cornerbacks. The Bills certainly understand this as it seems like while they have talent at the position, if an injury occurs, the quality of play goes way down and finding a CB4 that can be consistent has been challenging for this regime. While Lewis may not be the answer, he may be someone they can develop if he shows promise in training camp. He could also be someone that they put on the practice squad or cut but keep close by in the event of a shortage of defensive backs. Injury-wise, he did deal with several while in college but nothing that is likely to become a problem at the next level. In 2017, he dealt with a broken thumb and forearm that caused him to miss 5 games. In 2018, he suffered a leg injury which forced him to miss the Army game, but no specifics regarding the nature of the ailment could be found. This could have been something as simple as a contusion, pulled calf muscle, etc. that necessitated rest.

LB Juwan Foggie out of UNC-Charlotte continues the trend of effective, healthy players that the Bills have targeted in the draft. Foggie appeared in 47 games over his career, appearing to avoid injury which is remarkable in itself. As there are no injury concerns, he could be another player that sees practice squad time with an effective training camp or cut and brought back if injuries mount.

WR David Sills out of WVU appears to be an incredibly sneaky signing by the Bills during the UDFA period. The former QB turned WR has been a hot topic in past years, famously being given a verbal scholarship offer by then USC HC Lane Kiffin when he was 13. Unfortunately for Sills, he broke a knuckle on his throwing hand during his junior year of high school which altered his throwing motion which led to the position change. During his time at WVU and El Camino College, he did not suffer any reported injuries which is remarkable considering how much physical demand is required at that position. Sills will have a tough climb up the depth chart at WR, but could make noise with a great training camp and may warrant a roster spot to avoid losing him altogether.

LB Tyrel Dodson out of Texas A&M declared for the draft as a junior but that decision appeared to be short-sighted as he was not drafted and will have to work even harder to get an NFL roster spot. While has productive during his time in College Station, the one thing that he has going for him was that he did not suffer any major injuries. The only injury that can be found was in 2018 he suffered a minor sprained ankle against Ole Miss for which he did not miss any games. While the linebacking corps can always use extra depth, Dodson may be another player who makes an NFL training camp and nothing further.

Finally, K Chase McLaughlin out of Illinois rounds out the UDFA signings. McLaughlin was the 2018 Big Ten Kicker of the year, hitting 4 of 6 FG’s from 50+ yards out. As he is a kicker, special teams players are typically not known for getting injured and he was no exception. While K Stephen Hauschka continues to produce at a high level, he has begun showing his age along with suffering an injury last year due to a blindside block. I do not believe that McLaughlin will seriously challenge for the starting kicker role. However, the competition will certainly help keep Hauschka on his toes to produce.

Overall, these UDFA signing’s show some promise but are relative long shots to make the team. Bills fans know all about UDFA’s making their mark in the league with LB Lorenzo Alexander spending nearly 15 years in the league along with CB Levi Wallace and WR Robert Foster eventually making the roster and producing despite their starting position as a UDFA. This will be an exciting group to watch through training camp who can make their presence known. I believe at least 1-2 of these guys will find their name on the Buffalo Bills roster come 2019.

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!!