As this year continues for the Bills we all have seen positives that everyone could look forward to. Individual players, coaches, schemes and also the new mindset of this organization have brought new hope to fans and the Buffalo area. A complete transformation of the front office and coaching staff has been a pleasant surprise as this team continues its season. That said there has been some bumps in the road and injuries have been a big part. Looking at what this team has had to endure can anyone really say injuries are always bad?
I want to take a look at three separate injuries and see what it has done for this team. Injuries too many are believed to be a setback that has players in a backup role coming in to just fill in until the starter returns. The Bills are a team this year that has guys that proved they can play in this league and possibly start sometime. Here are the three injuries I had in mind.
First off I want to take a look at the Bills 6th round pick of this past draft in Dustin Hopkins. A team that takes a kicker in the draft in my mind is very high on him. Not needing to waste a selection on one as they could pick up one anytime had me keeping an eye on Dustin a little more. Having a real good training camp paved the way for him to beat out long time Bill Rian Lindell and begin his time with the organization. That time would only be short lived as a groin injury has kept him out basically all season. In need of a kicker the Bills turned to Dan Carpenter. Carpenter kind of known as a journeymen going from team to team (three in a year) had been signed and has done nothing but kick field goals and a great job at that. No one I believe really thought much of the guy but when you look at how well he’s done you have to wonder how come no else scooped him up. Hitting 22 out of 24 field goals with a long of 55 has been big for this team. Kicking in the elements and also some big time kicks especially against one of his old teams in Miami has been great. Not knowing what’s going to happen next year at least we know we have a kicker that is dependable and also has the leg.
Next is an injury that kind of occurred a few weeks back and also this past week. Regarding the wide receiver position I think this team has great pieces for different schemes but one player I have in mind is Marquise Goodwin. Another player we got in this past draft has definitely showed he can play in this league. His speed being the part of his game were teams need to watch has also showed he has hands to. Pegged as the fourth receiver behind Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and TJ Graham don’t leave him a lot of playing time. Injuries to this team’s top two guys paved the way for Goodwin to finally get some playing time. He has not disappointed and has showed he belongs. In no way am I saying I want him to replace Stevie or Robert but this will hopefully show this coaching staff he should be higher on the depth chart. TJ has had his time to produce and play but hasn’t taken advantage of it. He’s unreliable and hopefully this gives Marquise his chance.
Lastly I wanted to talk about an injury that was the opposite and in my eyes really hurt this team. Stephon Gilmore has had to deal with his wrist injury from the beginning of the season and this was absolutely something we could have done without. This primary injury along with others in the secondary opened up a spot for Justin Rogers to play. He being one of the last players available played a good amount and in that time hurt this team horribly. Getting burned game in and game had this team always playing catch up. His ball skills were not very good and also to me his field intelligence lacked that of a proven player. That mess along with this coaching staff not going out to get anyone, had people wondering what was going on. Knowing this team likes to find within to promote is good but in that situation I’d like to think they would want a do over.
With these examples I think when people hear injuries it doesn’t always have to be a bad thought. Although it isn’t always going to happen for the better the chance that someone could rise and become a player that the organization didn’t even know much about is possible. These players are pros and sometimes just need their chance to prove what they got.