Happy week two, everyone! It is absolutely amazing to have football back, and last weekend was incredible. Here’s a small recap before I dive into the injuries to keep your eyes on: The Bills looked great despite not having a preseason and dealing with limited practices. I went into the game expecting some miscues and errors due to this, and we saw plenty (two Red Zone fumbles, a missed tackle on Crowder’s TD, etc.).
The Bills should continue to improve in all three phases, especially the running game, since the Jets defense is aggressive and tough up front, and Gregg Williams is a maniac. The final 27-17 score was not indicative of the performance. With Bass leaving six points off the board, two Red Zone fumbles from Allen, and a late garbage-time touchdown by the Jets, the score could and should have been more lopsided. However, I expected there to be errors and hiccups along the way, as this was the first live action since the Wild Card game.
Players who entered week 1 on the injury report included Josh Norman (who was placed on IR), Levi Wallace, and Vernon Butler. Wallace was able to dress and performed pretty well on Sunday, so he appears to be fully healthy. The surprise here was Butler being inactive after being able to be a full participant later in the week with his hamstring injury, and it just solidifies the caution this Bills’ staff takes with soft tissue injuries.
Players who went down with injury on Sunday: Wow, I had a gut feeling we’d see more injuries all around the league due to the weird offseason that included virtual OTA’s and minicamps, shortened practices in camp, and the cancellation of all preseason games, but I did not expect to see the Bills lose 4 LBs in one game. Matt Milano left in the 2nd quarter with a hamstring injury and was ruled out at halftime. Tremaine Edmunds left the game in the 3rd quarter with a shoulder injury and was ruled as questionable, but did not return. After Edmunds was evaluated in the medical tent, he was taken into the locker room and later returned to the sideline sans pads and helmet. LB’s Del’Shawn Phillips and Tyrel Dodson both went down as well but were able to return to action.
On Monday, coach McDermott was tight-lipped about both Edmunds and Milano, only saying they believe they won’t be long term injuries and is considering them to be “day to day”. It will be interesting to see what happens with these guys at the end of the week, practice-wise, to help determine the severity of their injuries and their game status.
Matt Milano: I’ll start with Milano here. It was disappointing to see Milano go down, as he is such an underrated piece to this defense against both the run and pass. Milano has a history of soft tissue injuries and missed games last year due to a hamstring injury. Unfortunately, Milano went down with another hamstring injury on Sunday. While the severity was not released to the public, the fact that he is “day to day” is promising. We can most likely be confident that he did not suffer a complete tear. However, coach McDermott had the same outlook for Josh Norman’s hamstring injury, and him being placed on IR means he’s missing at least three games, if not more. That is in addition to the two weeks of practices he missed at camp. With how cautious the Bills are when it comes to soft tissue injuries, I would not be surprised if Milano misses 2-4 weeks. Milano was held out of Wednesday’s practice and was receiving treatment at the facility, which was expected. If he does not practice Thursday and/or Friday either, don’t expect to see him active on Sunday.
Tremaine Edmunds: When Tremaine went down, I was fearful of a broken collarbone. It appeared to happen when he missed the tackle on Jamison Crowder’s TD catch, and he landed pretty hard on his shoulder. However, when he returned to the sidelines without any sling or ice applied, I became more optimistic. If anyone saw the video of the post-game locker room speech, Edmunds is visible in the locker room without any treatment applied as well. I became even more optimistic when coach McDermott listed him as “day to day” on Monday as well. Without any further information, I suspect Edmunds suffered either a bruised shoulder or a minor AC joint sprain (see Broncos WR Courtland Sutton). Edmunds might be able to play week two with some sort of brace under his pads, or the team may opt to sit him out and return him week three when he’s healthier to prevent further damage. He was spotted on the practice field for Wednesday’s practice in a non-contact red jersey, which does not give me much optimism. However, Thursday and Friday will be more telling about his status for Sunday.
John Brown: A surprising injury popped up on Wednesday, as John Brown missed practice. A mysterious foot injury was reported by multiple media outlets when Wednesday’s practice began, and Bills twitter flooded reporters with questions. This is mysterious because Brown did not miss any snaps during Sunday’s game against the Jets, and McDermott did not mention any foot injury after the game or on Monday. This could be something as simple as general soreness, and Wednesday practices are the ones to miss when you need a day to rest/recover. Thursday’s practice will be a big one to watch, and hopefully Smoke will be back on the field as a full participant. If not, I will become more concerned about a possible stress fracture or turf toe, as this can linger and take weeks to recover.
WR Devante Parker aggravated his hamstring on Sunday vs New England and did not return to action. Reports out of Miami are listing him as “day to day” and that he is focusing on “rehabbing”, so we should get a better idea about his playing status this week on Friday or Saturday. However, when Miami released their injury report on Wednesday, Parker was listed as a limited participant. As of now, things look better than they did initially for Parker, and he is trending up for Miami and will likely be active on Sunday for their home opener against the Bills.
CB Byron Jones has been battling an Achilles injury since training camp but has been participating in practice just fine. He played on Sunday and made it through the entire game just fine, but this will be something to monitor as it can linger and increase the risk of further injury. If you remember, CB Richard Sherman played through an Achilles injury with Seattle a few years ago before rupturing it early in the season. Jones was listed as a limited participant at practice on Wednesday.
CB Xavien Howard is returning this season from injury and missed the majority of last season with a knee issue. He was on a snap count last week vs New England, and coach Flores informed the media they will increase his workload this weekend. Returning from a knee injury is never easy, so this is something to monitor as well. He was listed as a limited participant at practice on Wednesday.
LB Elandon Roberts who came over to Miami from New England in the offseason is in concussion protocol and did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Concussions are tricky, and I do not expect him to be ready for Sunday’s game.
Stay safe everyone!