While the Buffalo Bills’ playoff hopes hang in the most delicate of balances, the team’s brutal injury situation seems to be improving.
Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, Robert Woods, Lorenzo Alexander, and Cordy Glenn all practiced today, moving yet another step closer to adding to a threadbare unit that blew a golden opportunity last week in Oakland.
While it is entirely possible that the team’s newfound health will be too little, too late, there is still hope that a 10-win season could lead to Buffalo’s long playoff drought finally (perhaps mercifully, for long-suffering fans) coming to an end.
At the very least, having both Woods and Watkins available should help to jump-start the NFL’s worst passing attack. As our EIC Chris Trapasso noted on Monday, Tyrod Taylor is infinitely better with both of his top targets available in the same game. He has taken 16 fewer sacks, averaged 1.7 more yards per pass attempt and thrown twice as many touchdowns (21) when both play as opposed to when they don’t (10).
For what it's worth, Rex Ryan and Anthony Lynn seem optimistic that Woods will play this week.
While Darby has struggled this season, his presence certainly adds depth to a secondary that looked overmatched last week. Kevon Seymour has worked hard in his rookie campaign, but plays like Derek Carr’s touchdown on a sweet double move by Amari Cooper showed that the rookie has a lot of room left to grow.
Lorenzo Alexander’s hot start has cooled a bit, and he has been surpassed on the depth chart by rookie Shaq Lawson, but the Lorax is certainly still a valuable member of the defense and the coverage units. Glenn has been sitting out on Wednesdays fairly frequently, so his return on a Thursday is of no real surprise.
Rex Ryan also clarified the situation regarding the team’s open roster spot. With linebacker Lerentee McCray still in concussion protocol, the head coach noted that Bryson Albright is a candidate to replace him for this week.
In other interesting roster news, Ryan noted that EJ Manuel and Cardale Jones split reps for the scout team, and some reports suggested that Jones was excellent against the Bills’ first team defense in practice. The timing suggests that the team is looking towards next year in at least one regard; with Manuel unlikely to return, Jones will likely be the backup quarterback in 2017.