Good morning, all. Here are three quick Bills thoughts to start your A.M.
Lighter McCoy. It's never easy to predict when a top-tier running back will start to decline. They typically hit the wall without warning. As one NFL personnel director said on LeSean McCoy over the off-season, "Once his quickness goes, that’s it for him.” Because quickness, footwork, the ability to make you miss is central to everything the 27-year-old does. Twelve games into this season, that quickness has not left McCoy. He's averaging 4.6 yards per carry, still able to gain the corner and create. "He can make you miss in a phone booth," Rex Ryan said on Monday. "He is just a rare guy. He made some runs yesterday against a good run defense that was, just leaves you scratching your head. Left them scratching their head, and picking something up off the ground."
How? His secret?
Bills RB coach Anthony Lynn points to the fact that McCoy is 10 pounds lighter. Strict with his diet and conditioning, McCoy was able to shed pounds and maintain his quickness. He's at around 206 pounds now (even getting as low as 202), which has helped McCoy continue to excel in that "phone booth," always squeezing out two, three, four more yards only he sees. Lynn still wants McCoy planting his foot and getting vertical more often but right now everything on offense can, and will, still run through "Shady."
Injury watch. Who's in? Who's out? The Bills are hoping to figure that out soon. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore (shoulder), inside linebacker Tony Steward (back) and cornerback Ron Brooks (shoulder) may all be hard-pressed to play this week, Ryan indicated, because they didn't finish the game against Houston. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson (illness) and running back Karlos Williams (shoulder) could both return. Guard John Miller and inside linebacker Nigel Bradham, who both have ankle injuries, sounded more doubtful to return.
Henderson will get his job back over Jordan Mills if healthy, Ryan said. Kraig Urbik has been holding up just fine at guard. He has, after all, started 57 games in his career.
The big question is at cornerback where Gilmore would've been able to follow a receiver like Philadelphia's Jordan Matthews outside and inside if needed. The Eagles like using their best receiver in the slot. Now, the 6-foot-3 wideout might be matched up with the 5-foot-8 Nickell Robey. On top of this, rookie Ronald Darby has been struggling the last two weeks and Leodis McKelvin has been training at safety all season.
Ryan usually sticks with a single-high safety in his scheme but he might need to start givings his cornerbacks more safety help if Gilmore is sidelined.
More than a game. Here's our podcast from Monday night in case you missed it. About midway through, with guest Joe Buscaglia, we dove into a deeper talk about the players as people. Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus opened up on just how traumatic the deaths around him in his life have all been. Everybody close to him continues to pass away, a burden he carries every day... and he's not the only player who has battled such personal demons. On a darker level, after playing, former Bills linebacker Andra Davis told The Denver Post he contemplated suicide. Fans, us in the media, and even teammates and coaches can never truly understand how individuals deal with tragedy and depression. But it's always important to remember these are not mere commodities on the field. They're human beings. And they're dealing with issues just like anybody else. So thank you to everybody for reading and reaching out on the Dareus story. Grateful the Bills' star was willing to share his story.