Unfortunately for the Bills, the extra day wasn’t enough for a few key players.
Defensive tackles Marcell Dareus (groin) and Corbin Bryant (shoulder), along with wide receiver/return man Brandon Tate (concussion), will miss the trip to Seattle for the pre-bye week tilt. For Dareus, this is the third separate cause of missed time after a four-game suspension and a hamstring injury that shelved him for three weeks after that. He looked strong in limited action against the Patriots, but now he’ll leave his team short-handed yet again.
It’s especially troublesome considering the injury to Bryant, who had been the starter in Dareus’ place. Even though he has struggled at times and stood out only on rare occasions, he was still a quality piece of the rotation alongside Kyle Williams. The injuries likely mean a hefty increase in playing time for Jerel Worthy, who has had some good moments this season but was inactive for Dareus against the Patriots. Leger Douzable (the probable starter) and Adolphus Washington should also see some time inside.
Tate, who took a jarring hit against New England that put him in the concussion protocol, will likely be replaced in one or both of his roles by “newcomer” Percy Harvin. Rex Ryan stated his confidence in Harvin’s readiness after practice today, and the impending return of Marquise Goodwin from a concussion should keep his workload light in his first action in over a year. Tate only saw 21 offensive snaps against New England; in a worst-case scenario, Harvin should know enough of the playbook to match that effectively. He can also handle returns, although if Rex wants to keep his workload light early on that role can be filled by Walter Powell, who filled in as the primary returner after Tate’s injury and is a safe bet to hold on to that role if Harvin doesn’t fill it.
The slew of players listed as questionable includes two key offensive weapons that have spent quite a bit of time on the injury list as of late. LeSean McCoy is still listed as questionable, but should be good to return to action after missing the last game with a hamstring injury that was limiting him even in the previous week’s loss to the Dolphins. Mike Gillislee effectively filled in for Shady, and has hopefully earned enough confidence from the coaching staff to demand an increased workload regardless of McCoy’s health.
Woods, who missed the loss to Miami with the foot injury that hobbled him for most of last Sunday, was limited in practice all week. If the coaching staff feels Harvin is ready to contribute with the offense, they may limit Woods or even hold him out entirely to let him come back to full health during the bye week.
On the defensive side, the two starting outside linebackers are both listed as questionable for the second week in a row. Lorenzo Alexander, still the NFL’s sack leader with nine, missed a good portion of the Patriots game with a hamstring injury, keeping him from recording a sack in his eighth straight game. He missed practice on Thursday, but has been limited the last two days. He should be good to go for Monday, although the coaching staff might want to keep him off the field for special teams this week.
Jerry Hughes is on the report for the second straight week with a hand injury. He was ineffective against the Patriots, only playing in 65% of the defensive snaps and making a cameo appearance on the stat sheet with a pass defense. The injuries gave a bit more playing time to Lerentee McCray and Brandon Spikes, but McCray is also questionable this week with a knee injury. If any of the linebackers can’t go, it’s likely that special teamer Ramon Humber will work his way into the defensive rotation in their place.
Cordy Glenn is questionable with the same ankle injury that’s had him on the list all season. He’s been very effective when he’s played, for the most part, and should be good to go for Monday. If he’s not, Cyrus Kouandjio is capable of filling in, and it’s likely that Seantrel Henderson will be active for the first time this season to play on the right side if need be.
Charles Clay, another injury report mainstay, has been limited all week with a knee injury. He’ll play.
Finally, we have backup running back/return man/lightning rod for criticism Reggie Bush, who is questionable with a groin injury that kept him out of practice Thursday. The combination of McCoy, Gillislee, and Jonathan Williams will probably be effective enough that Bush might’ve been inactive even without his injury, so his presence on the injury report is a good sign that he won’t play.