The Bills wrapped up practice Sunday with two more starters injured, as cornerback Drayton Florence and offensive tackle Demetrius Bell suffered minor injuries. Florence sprained an ankle while competing for a ball in the end zone. He’ll miss several days of action, and has to be considered unlikely to play in Buffalo’s preseason opener Saturday in Chicago. Bell strained a shoulder, but it’s not considered serious. However, given Bell’s awful luck with injuries, any setback at all is scary.
Bell’s injury was made more scary by the fact that none other than Ed Wang stepped in to replace Bell with the first team offense. Unless Wang is a whole heck of a lot better than he showed last season, Bell getting injured is a terrifying prospect. If there’s another NFL-quality left tackle floating around unemployed, Buffalo should move to sign him.
Bell and Florence join an injured list that currently includes wide receivers Donald Jones and Marcus Easley, rookie cornerback Justin Rogers, rookie linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, and tight end Shawn Nelson. None are thought to have serious injuries, but all except Bell are in battles for playing time and/or roster spots, and any injury is a damaging prospect.
Fortunately, returning to the fold today were linebacker Shawne Merriman and rookie cornerback Aaron Williams. Merriman has apparently been very impressive in practice so far, but has been battling soreness. Given his horrific injury issues the past few seasons, you can’t blame the Bills for being very careful and deciding to hold him out of practice the past few days.
Also returning to the field was tackle/guard Cordaro Howard, who practiced for the first time this season Sunday after his activation from the Physically Unable to Preform list. Howard is coming off an off-season shoulder surgery and is not 100% yet, but he’s probably going to be thrown into the action earlier than expected with Bell’s injury.
The Bills did some game-speed 11-on-11 goal line work Sunday, and the run defense was able to shine a bit. The Bills offense managed two rushing touchdowns in 10 plays, but the run defense shined. Undrafted rookie linebacker Robert Eddins made his presence felt, picking up three straight goal line tackles to shut out the offense.
In other positive news, first down draft pick Marcell Dareus has been very impressive and certainly understands the rugged lifestyle of an NFL defensive lineman: “There ain’t too much technique. There ain’t too much running around. You can’t check. You can’t run away from me. You’ve either got to run through me or I’m going to run through you. I’m going to push you off and make the play in the backfield and this is where the men come to play.”
Well said, Marcell. Please be as awesome as I think you’ll be. Please.
The Bills return to action Monday afternoon.