Jerry Sullivan: Will Shady McCoy be all-in after the Watkins trade? - The Buffalo News

Share this article

print logo

Jerry Sullivan: Will Shady McCoy be all-in after the Watkins trade?

Column as I see 'em, Preseason:

You don't have to be a psychologist to figure out what triggered Sean McDermott's tongue-lashing of his players during Monday's practice.

Richie Incognito, speaking after the new head coach's rant and the practice scuffles that followed, had the money quote. Incognito said McDermott had the impression that there were "guys feeling a little sorry for themselves."

It sounds as if McDermott was worried about his players' morale after the trades of Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby. He and Brandon Beane admitted they needed to sell it to the team. Surely, some players are wondering privately if the Bills are fully committed to winning this season.

That's only natural. You can't fool NFL players. They know it's a business. But it can be a problem if they perceive that management is playing it both ways, preaching unity and the all-for-one concept while making moves that hurt the team's chances in the short term.

Players need to know that the organization is all-in. That's why Doug Marrone yanked EJ Manuel from the starting quarterback job three years ago. He wanted his veteran to know that he wasn't a slave to company politics, and that putting Kyle Orton on the field was the best thing for his team.

You can't blame players for being wary after the deals. It'll be interesting to see how the season unfolds, especially if they get off to a bad start and it's evident that Watkins (the healthy one) and Darby are sorely missed.

Guys might not be so inclined to lay it on the line for the new coach. I can't imagine that Tyrod Taylor is happy about losing his best wideout and being left with a glut of slot receivers. But I'm especially curious about running back LeSean McCoy, who must have another huge year if the Bills hope to have any kind of success.

McCoy was a warrior last year, easily the team MVP. He took a lot of big hits while rushing for 1,267 yards and averaging 5.4 yards a carry, the most of any NFL player who carried 10 times a game. He played hurt, most notably in the loss at Miami that ended the Bills' four-game winning streak.

Shady will lay it on the line when he feels it's warranted. But he strikes me as a guy who will hold back if the organization isn't all-in. I thought he checked out late in the 2015 season, after the Bills lost two in a row to fall to 6-8 and out of playoff contention.

McCoy came to camp in terrific shape. He said he could play at a high level until he's 32 or 33. Might he be more inclined to preserve his body if he feels the team is looking two years down the road? He's entering his ninth season, closing in on 2,000 carries and 400 pass receptions.

On the day of Watkins trade, McCoy was reticent when asked if he felt it would hurt the offense.

"Don't know," he said. "The good thing about that is that's past my pay grade. Guys make the decisions for our team. As players, coaches, we just coach and we play, that's how it works."

He sounded like a player who was feeling more like an asset than the best player on a team that expects to make a playoff run. I don't question Shady's heart, but his willingness to take another full season of punishment for a team that just delivered a blow to its own playoff chances.

****

Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn recently traveled to Wisconsin to seek a second opinion on his sore left foot from Dr. Robert Anderson. He also got an injection, which the team hopes will resolve the issue and get him back on the field soon.

Glenn has injection that Bills hope will 'knock out' foot soreness

This doesn't sound good. Glenn's left foot has been troubling him since last season. It's hard to imagine shooting it up with magically make the problem go away. We don't even know the exact nature of the injury. Is it the ankle or the foot? McDermott said it's too early to rule out surgery.

We learned from the Watkins drama how troublesome these foot injuries can be. Maybe it's not the same thing, but when a 345-pound athlete is moving around on a lingering sore foot, it's a major cause for concern.

Glenn is the second-highest paid tackle in the NFL with a cap hit of $14.2 million this season. It's hard to envision him warranting that kind of money if he's 100 percent healthy. It's a financial albatross if he stays hurt.

***

Discouraged Bills fans can draw some solace from the fact that the rival Dolphins continue to be ravaged by injuries. The latest to fall is cornerback Tony Lippett, who suffered a torn Achilles in practice Monday and is out for the season. Lippett was projected as a third corner, but he started 13 games and led Miami in interceptions last season.

The Dolphins have quarterback Ryan Tannehill and linebacker Raekwon McMillan on injured reserve with torn ACLs. McMillan was expected to start in the middle as a rookie. Guard Ted Larsen is also on IR with a torn biceps. Tailbacks Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake are recovering from concussions.

Bills fans have little respect for Tannehill, but he came on strong before getting hurt last December, rating at 100.9 for his last nine starts.

Veteran Jay Cutler, who came out of a brief retirement to sign a one-year deal last week, is expected to get his first start Thursday against the Ravens.

Cutler, who had taken a TV gig with FOX, will be back with head coach Adam Gase, who was his offensive coordinator in Chicago. Cutler doesn't inspire a lot of confidence at this point, but he has a lot more receiving weapons than, say, Tyrod Taylor.

Mark Gaughan's Power Take: Bills fans shouldn't underestimate Dolphins

***

It's a little early for my "Is He Owned?" fantasy football feature. But it's not too early for fantasy freaks to give consideration to owning Bengals rookie Joe Mixon, who looked very good in his preseason debut Friday.

Mixon rushed six times for 31 yards against the Bucs. He also caught a pass for 11 yards and looked good in pass protection. He looked more dynamic than starter Jeremy Hill, an ordinary back who averaged 3.6 and 3.8 yards a carry for Cincinnati the last two seasons.

Some felt Mixon was the best pure runner in the draft. But he dropped to 48th overall after video surfaced of Mixon striking a woman in a 2014 assault. Most teams wanted no part of him, but he might replace Hill as the featured back and he's bound to see a lot of action.

***

Peter King must have good sources at One Bills Drive. King wrote in Monday Morning Quarterback that Darby "hadn't bought into the new administration of Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott."

Darby, who wasn't a good fit for McDermott's zone schemes, wasted no time impressing his new employer in Philadelphia. Darby picked off a pass in one-on-one drills Monday and batted down a pass in the end zone.

Darby is expected to start at right cornerback in Jim Schwartz's defense. That would make two ex-Bills starting for Buffalo's former coordinator. Nigel Bradham is the right outside 'backer in the Eagles' 4-3.

Bills' Boldin: 'Not that diva mentality in our receiver room'

There are no comments - be the first to comment