There was a lot made of the Bills’ inability to remain healthy under the Dick Jauron regime. Jauron was known as a player’s coach, one who let the players be more responsible for conditioning themselves. He scheduled only three two-a-day practices, well below the league average of eight. There was hope that Chan Gailey’s new tough-minded approach, and installing a new training staff, would help the Bills become more tough-minded and ultimately more physically prepared. So far…not so good.
The Bills put 21 players on injured reserve last season, a figure that led the NFL. Jauron’s approach of allowing the players to ease their way into the season shouldered much of the blame. However, Gailey’s training camp may be showing that maybe the Bills just have an injury bug they can’t get rid of.
Already the Bills have suffered major injuries to rookie OT Ed Wang, and, most recently, to rookie WR Marcus Easley. Both players are rumored to be in danger of missing their entire rookie seasons due to injury. Gailey has already deemed rookie LB Danny Batten’s shoulder injury as “significant” and he is still a ways off from participating in any physical team activities. One of last year’s players assigned to the DL, TE Derek Schouman, has been sidelined for almost a week of practices. WR Felton Huggins has a “severe”, as noted by buffalobills.com, shoulder injury and is not expected back anytime soon.
While Dick Jauron was an easy target to blame for all of the Bills’ problems, and rightfully so on many issues, I think the moral of the story is that injuries are usually flukey things that happen in a violent game. Gailey has come in with a totally different approach than Jauron. He’s had the players practicing in pads, and been mandating that all offensive lineman wear knee braces. However, the injuries still continue to pile up for the Bills. Let’s hope that the Bills are getting these injuries out of the way early this offseason so they can avoid a repeat of last season’s disabled list parade.