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New England Patriots Crawl into Playoffs with Injuries and Defensive Struggles

Published: January 6, 2010

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It wasn’t pretty, but the regular season is finally over, and the New England Patriots have made the playoffs. 

With the return of Tom Brady and the addition of Fred Taylor and Shawn Springs, only 10 notches in the win column seems a little disappointing.

Last season, a Matt Cassel-led offense was able to put up 11 with no playoffs. 

Brady is banged up, and Wes Welker is gone. Time for Julian Edelman to step up and become the story of the playoffs. Brady’s offense loves a good slot receiver, and Edelman will have his opportunity to step up.

The question isn’t if he will be given the opportunity; rather, can Edelman answer the call? The former Kent State QB probably never imagined his rookie year taking a turn like this. He has the moves, the athleticism, and the fire (look at the block he laid on Bills defensive back George Wilson) of Wes Welker. 

Will he put up Welker-like numbers? No. Is he expected to? No.

Edelman will give the Patriots another slot receiver who can gain yards after the catch. His days as a scrambling QB at Kent State (where, as a transfer, Edelman walked up to starting QB Michael Machen and told him he was there to take his job) gave him the field vision he needs to avoid defenders for extra yards downfield.

In the limited action he has seen throughout the season, he has established himself as a rookie with great yard-after-catch potential. 

In the case of the Patriots’ defensive backs, there is no Edelman to save them. Blowing second-half leads is the theme of the year for New England’s mediocre defense.

Regardless of how many defensive players the Patriots lost this offseason, no defense can be allowed/expected to blow double-digit leads in the second half of games. They are the Achilles’ heel of this year’s New England playoff team.

There are small signs of hope in Brandon Meriweather, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Leigh Bodden, and Darius Butler (to name a few). However, inconsistent play has plagued this defensive unit all year. Jonathan Wilhite, Derrick Burgess, Springs, and Adalius Thomas need to step up. Burgess, Springs, and Thomas need to realize they have to become veteran leaders on and off the field.

This Sunday, the Ravens come to town, and as long as the Patriots defense doesn’t collapse in the second half, New England wins 28-14. It’s a bad sign when even a 14-point lead seems like no cushion at all—rather a gap that is waiting to be filled in the fourth quarter.

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Bengals’ Receiver Chris Henry Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries in Accident

Published: December 16, 2009

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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry has been involved in a serious accident.

As to be expected, rumors are flying across the web with details and accounts of what has actually happened.

According to WLWT in Cincinnati, Henry was arguing with his fiancee when she got into a pickup truck and started to leave the area.  Henry apparently jumped in the back of the truck and fell out as she drove away.  His injuries are considered to be life-threatening.

The incident occurred in Charlotte, where Henry’s fiancee lives.  The wide receiver suffered a broken arm and was placed on injured reserve on November 9th, ending his season.

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The Cleveland Browns’ Roster Is Dwindling Due to Injuries and Concussions

Published: December 2, 2009

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The Cleveland Browns have not only been experiencing what some have said is their worst season ever as a franchise, but now it looks like the injury bug is quickly catching up to them too.

With players like linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton, running back James Davis, tight end Steve Heiden, and defensive lineman Shaun Rogers just some of the names already on injured reserve, now it appears the list will continue to grow.

According to, running back Jamal Lewis was a no-show at Browns practice today, and despite the organization not giving a real reason, the website reports that Lewis had sustained a concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, along with safety Brodney Pool.

Pool has had four known concussions in his five years in the NFL, which means he really needs to consider his options for his own well-being after football. He may have to put his passion for football aside and retire early so that he does not do any further and serious injury to his head, which has bad long-term effects.

Lewis, on the other hand, has been fighting his way through injuries all year long, and if he indeed has a concussion, not only his season, but his career in the NFL will be over too since he announced his retirement earlier in the season.

Then there is also the question of the statuses of linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman, which have yet to be determined and clarified by the Browns.

So what does this mean for the Browns?

It means that their starting offensive and defensive lineups may look like this:



Quarterback: Brady Quinn

Running Back: Chris Jennings

Fullback: Lawrence Vickers

Wide Receivers: Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs

Tight End: Michael Gaines

O-Line: Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Alex Mack, Hank Fraley, John St. Clair



D-Line: Robaire Smith, Ahtyba Rubin, C.J. Mosley

Linebackers: Jason Trusnik, David Bowens, Kaluka Maiava, Matt Roth

Cornerbacks: Eric Wright, Mike Adams

Safety: Abram Elam, Mike Furrey


If this is indeed what the Browns’ starting lineup will look like for the last five games of the season, then it will be a very long five weeks for all Browns fans.


(Article also posted on Dawg Scooper)

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Not On Their Knees: Green Bay Packer Injuries Won’t Cripple Playoff Possibility

Published: November 25, 2009

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Losing a Pro Bowl player at any position is going to have an impact on your squad. Lose two, and you could be in serious trouble. Not so if you’re the Green Bay Packers.

Al Harris and Aaron Kampman are elite players, and neither will suit up for the Packers this season barring some minor medical miracle. But the impact may not be as bad you would think.

Bearwith me. I mentioned last week that I believed this defense might actually be better off with Brad Jones starting at outside linebacker instead of Kampman. Against Dallas, without big number 74, the Packers had their best defensive game of the season and Mr. Jones was a big part of that effort.

He is fluid, athletic, and is getting to be assignment-sure. He can make the plays in coverage Kampman couldn’t, and even if he’s allowing completions, Jones is in position to make a tackle to limit the damage.

Kampman has had his hand in the dirt more, and even got a sack this last week, but he’s not the same player he had been, and there’s no reason to believe that was going to change.

Cullen Jenkins is playing like a Pro Bowler, and the defensive front has been stout. Between Jenkins and the improved pass-rush from the linebackers, the Packers don’t lose much with Kampman off the field. They proved that against the Cowboys.

Losing Al Harris is a bigger issue. When Harris went down with that ruptured spleen last season, Tramon Williams made his presence known to the fans in Green Bay, and to some degree the NFL. Williams is an elite nickel back and will be a more than competent starter someday in this system, particularly if he continues to improve.

Williams is more fluid in coverage and has better speed. Not the physical player Harris is, Williams does have some deficiencies in the run game, but his ball skills and playmaking ability may actually be greater than Harris’. Expect him to be tested early and often by opposing offenses.

There’s the next big reason this won’t kill the Pack’s D: There just aren’t that many explosive passing offenses left on the schedule.

The Packers still have to play Detroit, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Chicago, and Arizona. Detroit has one banged up, if ultra-talented, receiver and either a banged up rookie, or a washed-out has been at quarterback.

Baltimore has a tremendously talented quarterback, but no receivers who really scare you. Pittsburgh has a talented receiving group and a dangerous tight end, but no one one you can point to and say, “This is a guy we have to look out for.”

Seattle is just terrible offensively and defensively, although Hasselbeck HAS been a Pro Bowler and he has a more than competent group of wide-outs. We know what Chicago has in JaMarcus Cutler, and that the group of receivers is one of the most anemic in the league.

The only group with more than one game breaker is Arizona with Boldin, Breaston and Fitzgerald. The weird thing is they’ve been terrible at home and Kurt Warner has been both horrific and unstoppable this season.

By the time the Packers play ‘Zona, they’ll have long locked up the division and won’t have much to play for, particularly if there is the potential for Packers, Cards first round match-up (Very possible).

Certainly, in the playoffs both of these injuries could be costly. Every division leader in the NFC has a Pro Bowl quarterback and a potentially explosive passing attack. The Packers have almost no chance of stopping the Saints or Vikings without two of their best defensive players, but just getting to the playoffs will be an important step for this football team.

In terms of age in the NFL, both Harris and Kampman are well passed their supposed prime, even if they are still top-tier players. But if Ted Thompson’s desire to stay young has any chance of winning football games, then his young and talented roster will have to fill the holes. Four wins in the last six does not seem out of reach, and five or six wins is certainly not out of the question.

Tramon Williams and Brad Jones have potential to be impact players. But “potential” is a dangeruos word. We all have the potential to be great, but we are defined by our response to the opportunities we have to be great.

For Williams, Jones, and this young Packers team, that opportunity is now.

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Packers Injuries: Green Bay Starters Likely Played Their Last Game For Pack

Published: November 22, 2009

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Though the Pack was able to keep its playoffs hope alive with a win against San Francisco, today could be the last game Aaron Kampman and Al Harris play as Green Bay Packers.

Al Harris and Aaron Kampman were both carted off the field Sunday after sustaining serious knee injuries. It is reported that Harris has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Kampman is also believed to have torn his ACL as well.

Harris will need reconstructive surgery but at the age of 35 his career could be in jeopardy.

Aquired in a trade with Philidelphia in 2002, Al Harris has been a staple corner for the Green Bay defense. His aggressive bump-and-run style made him a perfect fit for the Packers’ man-to-man coverage. Harris attended the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2008 after being selected as an alternate the last three previous years.

Harris is mostly remembered for his overtime interception against the Seattle Seahawks where he picked off Matt Hasselbeck for the touchdown and the win in 2004. It was quite ironic due to Hasselbeck gloating after winnning the overtime coin toss, “We want the ball and we’re going to score.”

Kampman is likely out for the season and will become a free agent this offseason.

Drafted in the fifth round by the Packers in 2002, Kampman developed into one of the league’s best pass rushers. Over the past three years, Kampman collected 37 sacks, ranking third in the league behind DeMarcus Ware (45.5) and Jared Allen (37.5).

Though Kampman was an elite defensive end in the 4-3, he has been unable to make the transition to an outside linebacker in the new 3-4 defense. The likelyhood of him returning next year was already in question, but his trade value has taken a significant hit.

Regardless of what happens in the offseason, it is quite disappointing to see two Packer fan favorites that have likely finished their tenure in Green Bay because of injuries. 

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NFL Week 11: Running Back Injuries

Published: November 20, 2009

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NFL bettors need to be cognizant of the below NFL Week 11 injuries in order to make the best NFL picks for this upcoming weekend.

There are a lot of injuries to be reported for this weekend.  Here, my main focus is on the running backs, who are either doubtful or out for certain.

Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami Dolphins

Brown was hurt in last Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay.

On Wednesday, he was placed on season-ending IR with a foot injury. With a 4.4 yards per carry average, Brown rushed for 648 yards and was the key player in the Fins’ Wildcat package.

On Thursday, Ricky Williams will start against the Panthers, meaning Miami will not use the Wildcat often. In order to keep establishment, they’ll use rookie Pat White more often.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers

Against Miami, Williams is marked as doubtful for Thursday’s game and did not practice on Wednesday. Nevertheless, Williams played in Week 10 after being marked as doubtful and missing practice on Friday. Now, backup Jonathan Stewart is also marked as doubtful.

Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

During Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, in which he had only three carries for five yards, Westbrook suffered his second concussion in three weeks. Not only he is out this week against the Bears, but also the season. This Sunday, the Eagles will start rookie LeSean McCoy.

In the Windy City, the Bears beat the Eagles 24-20 last year, a game Westbrook also missed.

Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Benson left Sunday’s win over the Steelers with a hip flexor injury and has yet to practice this week.

On Sunday, he had just 22 yards on seven carries. He thinks he will be able to play this Sunday against Oakland, but at best, he might be a game-time decision. If he can not go, then rookie Bernard Scott, who rushed for 33 yards on 13 carries against Pittsburgh, would get his first start.

Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

In Sunday’s loss to Carolina, Turner suffered a high ankle sprain and has yet to practice this week. At the Giants, he is a near lock to sit out. This will be a substantial loss for Atlanta, as Turner had averaged 9.1 yards per carry over his past 47 carries.

Julius Jones, RB, Seattle Seahawks

For Sunday’s game at Minnesota, Jones is ruled out after injuring a lung. In his place, Justin Forsett will start. Forsett had a big game against the Cardinals in place of Jones, rushing for 123 yards on 17 carries and catching five passes for 26 yards.

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Browns 4th Timeout Of The Half Allows Josh Cribbs to Sustain Injuries

Published: November 19, 2009

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The Browns were down 16-0 with 0:03 seconds left in the game, and they called a timeout. They did not have a chance, yet they ran an incredibly risky play, that puts both the quarterback, running back, and the entire team in jeopardy. As Josh Cribbs lay motionless on the field, people wondered what the Browns were thinking when they called the “hook and lateral” play.

I believe that Eric Mangini and Brady Quinn are at fault for calling the play; however, I would also have to blame the officials. With 1:55 seconds left in the game, the Browns called their third, and what should have been their final timeout. One minute and fifty-two seconds later, the Browns called another timeout.

The officials granted the time out, effectively giving the Browns their fourth timeout. If this timeout had not been granted, the Browns never would have been able to call their last play, the “hook and lateral”, which left Josh Cribbs injured.

So why were the Browns given a fourth timeout? Apparently, the NFL officials forgot how to count. According to Mike Pereira, the head of officiating, “Well, I mean, it happened because we as a group, as a crew, failed to record. . . .  Everybody on the field basically forgot to record the penalty—I mean the timeout.”

The NFL has decided to implement a rule change due to this error, “When a team uses all their timeouts we now—the referee has to go over and tell the head coach.”

While this seems like a logical solution, the officials did not even realize they gave the Browns an additional timeout until they were confronted a few days later. Even the official NFL Game Summary did not include the timeout called with 1:55 seconds left on the clock.

I can understand one official mistakenly forgetting to record the third timeout; but, I cannot understand an entire crew’s, nine officials, failure to realize the Browns had used all of their timeouts.

I do not believe that the officials are the only individuals that should be held responsible, as Eric Mangini called the play, and Brady Quinn executed it. However, if the officials could just count to three, Josh Cribbs never would have had a chance to run that play, and never would have faced sustaining a serious neck injury. Lucky for everyone involved, Josh seems to be okay, and has no serious injuries.

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NFL Week 10: Injuries Galore

Published: November 16, 2009

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It seemed the chic thing to do this weekend was get hurt. Here’s an early look at how some of the trendiest players have responded the morning after.

It sounds like Cedric Benson (hip) will be able to play this weekend, which is great news for Benson owners because he faces Oakland, Cleveland, and Detroit over the next three weeks.

Look for Bernard Scott to get plenty of action as well as the Bengals put a hurtin’ on these floor mats.

How crazy is it that the Bengals could easily be 10-2 when they face the Vikings in Week 14? 11-1 if the Broncos didn’t win on that miracle tip in Week 1.

Speaking of the Bengals, Larry Johnson is rumored to be signing with them as an insurance policy. Character isn’t their bag so he shouldn’t have a problem with the team or the fans. It remains to be seen if he has anything left in the tank.

Ronnie Brown most likely would miss a game this week if the Dolphins played on Sunday, so the fact that they play on Thursday all but seals that fate. At least you don’t have to worry about the dreaded game-time decision.

Julius Jones is bleeding in his lung, which sounds extremely painful. That injury should cost him a couple of games. Justin Forsett will fill the void, though.  I expect the Seahawks to be pass happy.

The is reporting that Kyle Orton will give it a go this week despite his ankle injury. While this is good news for Brandon Marshall owners, I’d cancel the victory parade. Orton will likely be limited, and San Diego is tough against the pass.

Michael Turner suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss at least a couple weeks. Turner was in the midst of a phenomenal season. There is no replacing his production. You have to hope you had early success or this injury could derail your fantasy season.

Brian Westbrook suffered another concussion in the Eagles’ loss to San Diego. At this point in the year, I’d say it’s safe to cut bait on Westy and go in a different direction. I don’t see him playing any time soon.

Originally published at .

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Colts: Key Defensive Injuries Force Rookies To Step Up and Respond

Published: November 11, 2009

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The Indianapolis Colts have been hit by the injury bug and hit hard, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

With season ending injuries to key personnel including strong safety Bob Sanders and cornerback Marlin Jackson, the Colts have been forced to count on their rookie players to step up into the starting roles.

We’ll start at the corner position where rookie Jacob Lacey has been making a name for himself among the Colts players and opposing teams.

Lacey, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Oklahoma State, has filled in for the injured Kelvin Hayden and exceeded anyone’s expectations so far this season. He is seventh on the team in tackles with 35 (27 solo, 8 assists) six passes defended and one interception returned for a touchdown on the year through eight games.

The rookie, who was called on to defend one of the best wide outs in the game last week against the Houston Texans [Andre Johnson] held him to a lot of underneath passes from Schaub limiting his normally aggressive downfield play making capabilities.

Johnson did not catch a touchdown pass in the game while Lacey was defending him. Although he did have 103 receiving yards in the game, for the most part Lacey held him in check only allowing the short stuff in front of him and never gave up the big play.

Now we’ll go across the field to the Colts other rookie starting cornerback due to injuries in Jerraud Powers. Powers a third round draft choice by the Colts out of Auburn took over when fifth year man Kelvin Hayden went down with a knee injury in week two against the Dolphins.

Powers has only turned this into a huge positive for himself and the Colts. He is third on the team in tackles with 40 (33 solo, 7 assists) has forced a fumble, picked off a ball and has five passes defended.

Powers and Lacey have given the Colts a much needed lift on defense in the secondary as first year starters than anyone could have possibly imagined. This outstanding play has helped the Colts to be the number one scoring defense in the NFL through week nine allowing only 13.5 points per game.

Though the rookies are playing well now for the Colts, this Sunday will prove to be a different test all together for the young duo.

Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker and the high powered New England Patriots offense come to Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis for a Sunday Night Football showdown between arguably the best two quarterbacks in the game in Manning and Brady.

Both Powers and Lacey will have their skills, and I am sure their last nerves, tested to the brink and beyond when they peer across the line to see Randy Moss or Wes Welker looking back at them.

It will surely be a trial by fire of their skills, mental toughness, and muster when they go up against these two deep threats for the Patriots.

One thing is certain for both of these young talented players and for the Colts. If these two young corners can continue to play and develop as they have so far this season, the future is certainly very bright for them and the Colts to be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.

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Buffalo Bills’ Injuries Require More Shuffling to Starting Lineup

Published: October 29, 2009

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As the Buffalo Bills enter final preparations for their Week Eight home contest against the Houston Texans, injuries are continuing to be a major factor in the Bills’ game planning.

Here are some observations along with the latest news position-by-position regarding this weekend’s decisions.


Defensive Secondary

It was hoped that Donte Whitner would be returning this weekend, after missing last week’s contest against Carolina. However, he continues to miss practice, and it now seems likely that he will not play this weekend. 

Terrance McGee has been banged up a little, but should be okay to play. His fellow cornerback Leodis McKelvin is out for the year. Drayton Florence and Reggie Corner have come in and played pretty decent ball. They still need to provide better run support, but that should not be a pressing issue for this particular Sunday.

Rookie safety Jairus Byrd, fresh off being named as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month (October), needs to be on the field full time against the pass-oriented attack of the Houston Texans, led by QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson, TE Owen Daniels, and RB Steve Slaton.

Just as he did last weekend in sliding over to help out on Carolina WR Steve Smith, expect Byrd to slide over towards Andre Johnson, wherever he is lined up. The Byrd streak (three straight games with an interception) going up against a talent like Andre Johnson (NFL’s No. 1 receiver) makes for a very exciting matchup.

We should note that although Andre Johnson was hospitalized for coughing up blood last Sunday, his bruised lung is not expected to hold him out of this Sunday’s game.

Who plays the other safety position for Buffalo? Bryan Scott had missed the Panthers game, but he is now back practicing with the team. George Wilson, just like fellow safety Byrd, is riding a consecutive-game interception streak. Wilson has racked up at least 10 tackles in each of the past two games.

So who do the Bills sit against Houston, Wilson or Scott, or do they rotate them so they stay fresh?

Could the Bills devise a hybrid scheme to play all three safeties—Byrd, Scott and Wilson—at the same time on obvious passing downs to try to confuse Schaub? You could let Byrd play centerfield, something he excels at, and let his instincts take over.



Chris Draft has seemingly pleased everyone with his play after signing on as a free agent two weeks ago. In that short period of time, he has apparently got a handle on the defensive schemes, and is pleasing the coaches with his play, leadership, and maturity.

Keith Ellison is currently ranked second in the NFL in tackles. This stat suggests several things, and the truth lies somewhere within these statements:

The Bills are on the field for too many plays every week. Somebody has to be credited with making the tackles out there, so why not Ellison?

Ellison is the only starting linebacker that is still healthy enough to have started every game.

The defensive line is letting so many running backs through that the LB’s have to make more tackles than they should.

Ellison is underrated, and is really coming in to his own.

Paul Posluszny looks like he is coming around again after missing some games due to the broken arm. Had a huge play on fourth down last week when he combined with Chris Draft to stop a drive and get the ball back for the offense.


Defensive Line

Kyle Williams has a sprained knee. At least it does not sound like he needs to go under the knife, but expect that he will miss some games.

How many? Too early to tell, but for each game he is out, he will be sorely missed. Williams is one of the best interior linemen the Bills have.

So, filling his role on Sunday will be a combination of Spencer Johnson and John McCargo. Johnson made some plays last week and McCargo hasn’t done anything real special yet. Hopefully one of them can step up on Sunday because the line needs to put heat on Schaub.

The whole defensive line needs to come up big on Sunday. Perry Fewell needs to devise some blitzing schemes to get in Schaub’s face. If the Bills can do that, he can then let his secondary take advantage of any errant or tipped passes to create some turnovers.

The Bills are tied with the Saints for the NFL lead in interceptions. Look for them to come up with some more on Sunday, as the pass-happy Texans should be throwing the ball often at Ralph Wilson Stadium. I have not heard any weather news yet that suggests the elements will prevent the ball from being thrown all over the place.


Injuries to the Offense Impacting Sunday’s Game Plan

Quarterback : Ryan Fitzpatrick will still be the man for at least one more game. How he performs at home this weekend will probably be a major factor in Dick Jauron’s decision as to who his starting QB will be in the long term. 

The Bills come back after the bye week to travel to Tennessee to face the winless Titans, and there is a wide debate as to who should be the starting QB that day—Trent Edwards or Ryan Fitzpatrick?  

Many people operate under the premise that a starter should not lose his position due to injury. That axiom appears to make sense, but then you realize the Bills were 1-4 with Trent, and 2-0 with Ryan, so how much stock do you put in results? 

The decision will probably cause Dick Jauron to lose some sleep during the bye week.  

For what it is worth, Trent Edwards has already been ruled out for this Sunday due to his post-concussive injuries. Gibran Hamdan will once again be the backup, and expect Roscoe Parrish to be the emergency QB once again. 

Running Backs : Corey McIntyre has a sprained knee and will probably miss the game. On the surface, this injury would not cause many Bills fans to pause. But after a closer examination of the alternatives, consider that this is going to force the Bills’ hand into doing something different. But what will they do? 

For starters, McIntyre was the only fullback on the Bills roster.

So, if you don’t have a FB on the field, how do you alter the attack? Here are some options to consider, and I expect the Bills to use some combination of these:

a) A two-running back formation with Marshawn Lynch and Freddy Jackson on the field at the same time. Many fans have been wanting to see this specific alignment used, and this may be the time to finally roll out this unique look.

For example, I could see a screen pass play where most of the line swings out to one side with Marshawn set to catch the screen, taking most of the defense over to that side of the field with him. But then after Fitzpatrick fakes a toss to Marshawn, he goes back to the opposite side where Freddy Jackson is there with only one lineman and a TE left to provide an escort. 

Facing just a lone defender or two, and lots of wide open space, he could go a long way.

This is just one example of a play that makes sense with both guys on the field at the same time. When you don’t use them together, this kind of play has no chance of seeing the light of day.

b) Utilizing Xavier Omon as a blocker for Lynch or Freddy, or bringing a TE back in to the backfield as an H-back. I don’t know if Omon’s blocking skills are sufficient to hold up in that arrangement, and Fine’s blocking skills are only so-so at best. This seems like a less desirable option.

c) Go with a four receiver, one running back set. This would mean more of a short, quick passing attack. You can run draws with the one running back, or screens, or let Fitzpatrick do some pre-planned QB draws. This would also mean more snaps for players like Stevie Johnson, and could get Roscoe Parrish on the field as well.

It also means limited pass protection, so figure that the deep ball is not really an option in this arrangement, unless Texans only cares to rush three defenders. This could be a fun or interesting option with Evans, Owens, Reed, and then either Parrish or Steve Johnson as your fourth receiver.

Another thought would be to set up trip receivers on one side, and then isolate either Terrell or Lee as a single receiver on the opposite side. Just think of the possibilities with that kind of set. This would allow receivers to take advantage of their ability to run with the ball after the catch, as Lee Evans did on the quick slant for the touchdown against the Jets.

d) Maximum pass protection with two running backs and a tight end. Employ only two wide outs, looking for the occasional home run ball, and if nothing is there, have either Marshawn or Freddy slide out as a last resort on the swing pass.

Whatever Alex Van Pelt decides to do, he has to come up with a scheme that will generate longer drives and more time for the offense to stay on the field. Better overall production on first and second downs would go a long way towards making that happen, as well as being less predictable.


Tight Ends

The concussion that Shawn Nelson suffered against the Jets has now turned in to bad migraine headaches. Nelson has not practiced this week, so is probably not going to suit up. That means with Nelson out, and Derek Schouman already out for the year, the Bills only have Derek Fine and practice squad activated TE Jonathan Stupar as options.

Stupar almost came up with a nice long catch last weekend off of a Fitzpatrick scramble, but the defender hit him with a perfectly timed collision and jarred the ball away. Fine did recover a key fumble on a special teams play, but the TE position has not resulted in much production since early on this season.

Nelson did score a touchdown in Week One, but has not been on the field as much as the Bills were hoping. He needs to come on in the second half of the season and give the quarterback another option.


Wide Receivers

No major injuries to report.

Terrell Owens had a press conference that demonstrated that he is at least aware and appreciative of the issues that the offense is faced with. He is not pleased with his personal performance, and seemed to be in reasonable spirits in spite of all the naysayers that are concluding that the end for T.O. is near or is already here.  

I gained more respect for T.O. after he made an admission in the press conference. When T.O. signed, the city of Buffalo awarded him with a key to the city. In return, Owens promised a trip to the playoffs and boasted that he would personally score 10 touchdowns.

Terrell admitted that if he does not come up with the 10 touchdowns he promised,  that he would give back the key to the city. Maybe this year is more about his personal growth and less about his personal achievements. Perhaps it has been a good thing for Terrell’s ego to be a little more removed from the national spotlight, and as a result, he has matured in the process.

James Hardy is getting closer to be ready to play, but it won’t happen before the bye week.

We were expecting to see and hear more from Stevie Johnson by now, but it hasn’t happened yet. Look for the Bills to get him more playing time as they need to find wide receivers that are going to make plays on a consistent basis outside of Lee Evans.


Offensive Line

Not much news to report, but Jonathan Scott is getting closer to being ready to play again. So, that leads us to question if the Bills should insert Scott back in to the starting lineup, or whether they should continue to let the rookie Jamon Meredith play at tackle and gain some experience.

Based on how Julius Peppers handled Meredith last weekend, I would say that the Bills will go with Scott and let Meredith rotate in and out as needed.


That appears to cover the latest injury news. Please take a second to vote on the offensive scheme you want to see the Bills employ this weekend, if Corey McIntyre can’t go. 





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