The NFL has managed to captivate its fans 365 days a year and yesterday was no exception! Brandon Beane has shown that he is willing to build a contender and move pieces to build for the future. This is evident with the Bills trading QB Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns for a 3rd round draft pick in the 2018 draft. Along with big moves like this, the Bills continue to stay active in free agency prior to the beginning of the official league year and draft.
Building off of signing of CB Vontae Davis last week, today’s post will further analyze the depth chart signings and injury histories of both RB Chris Ivory and DE Owa Odighizuwa. Unfortunately, both have had a variety of injuries throughout their college and NFL careers which may impact their ability to produce this upcoming season for the Buffalo Bills.
First up is RB Chris Ivory. The 8th year pro has played with the Saints, Jets, Jaguars and recently signed a 2 year deal with the Bills. Overall, Ivory has had an up and down career with highlights including the AFC rushing crown in 2015 along with a Pro Bowl nod to multiple injuries and being passed on the depth chart by more talented backs. Prior to entering the NFL, Ivory sustained a season ending injury to his knee during his senior year in which he tore his PCL and meniscus. He was able to successfully recover and was signed by the Saints in 2010 as an undrafted free agent.
Since then, Ivory has sustained a multitude of injuries which include: knee MCL sprain, concussion, shoulder AC joint sprain, multiple hamstring strains, Lisfranc fracture, sports hernia, ankle sprain, and rib fractures. While impossible to avoid injury, Ivory has had several serious injuries which has certainly affected his production. Most of these injuries have not forced him to miss significant time as they happened either late in the season such as the Lisfranc or were soft tissue injuries and forced him to only miss 2-3 games at a time.
The only concerning injury is the sports hernia which forced him to miss the first half of the season in 2011. Thankfully, as outlined in the Vontae Davis article, most NFL players are able to return to play with satisfactory outcomes of upwards to 90% which Ivory has been able to clearly demonstrate. Cumulatively, the injuries should not impact his production as each injury has been isolated to various events and not piling onto each other. While he is not the future Bills feature back, he still provides depth at a critical position.
Next up is DE Owa Odighizuwa who was signed to a one year contract Thursday. The 3rd year pro has been plagued by injuries throughout his short career with the Giants as a 3rd round pick in 2015. The athletic defensive end has dealt with foot and knee injuries along with a hamstring injury that forced him to the IR in his rookie year. In addition, he sustained a hip injury to the gluteus medius or hip abductor muscle in college which required season ending surgery. During his pro career alone, injuries have forced him to miss a total of 15 games over 2 seasons. In addition to the missed games, he sat out the 2017 season after violating the performance enhancing drug policy and was released shortly after. After an extended break from the game, Odighizuwa may have finally been able to give his body a chance to heal.
From my research, there is little detailed information regarding his knee injury and his foot injury has only been described as dealing with the muscle and that it was rare. The above mentioned article states that his feet are wide and flat with footwear possibly contributing to his complaints. What it specifically is, I suspect some type of issues with the arches in his foot. As for the exact injury, none of the muscle injuries in that area appear to be rare which leaves me stumped.
Both of these signings are strictly for depth and are overall beneficial to the team. Ivory is a great signing due for the fact that he has been relatively productive during his time in the NFL. While Ivory is backing up workhorse of the offense in LeSean McCoy, the 9th year back is also entering his age 29 season and a drop off in his production is expected. Having a proven back behind McCoy that can maintain the workload if he were to go down is something that the Bills have not had in several years. Any Bills fan knows that FB Mike Tolbert was not an acceptable replacement during any point of the 2017 season. While the contract is not team-friendly as it gives him top-20 money for running backs, it is still worth it in the event that McCoy goes down.
As for Odighizuwa, he has had injuries have costed him nearly a full season’s worth of games, was out of the league last year, and still has a lot to prove. This may be an individual that has been incredibly unlucky or has not quite figured out how to take care of his body due to the demands of the NFL. Although, it appears as though he is making the most of his second shot in this Instagram post from New Athlete. In the post, it clearly shows that he has been working out incredibly hard and preparing for the demands of an NFL season. As he is strictly a depth player, the injury risks may lessen which may allow him to get through a full season with reasonable production. My concern is if DE Shaq Lawson or DE Jerry Hughes go down with injury, I do not expect Odighizuwa to match the same production and see him as a liability being on the field if forced into a starting role. However, he appears to be healthy and on a prove it deal, so he may surprise many critics this season. Thankfully, the Bills are not tied to him long term and can cut him loose if he does not work out.
The front office is far from done this off season. I expect to see more players signed for depth, several long term needs addressed in the draft, and the possibility of moving up the draft board to find their franchise quarterback. While I do not like every transaction the Bills have made, I expect to see more moves like this in order to build for long term success. Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest news and injury analysis. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!