The Buffalo Bills enter Week One of the NFL season in good shape when it comes to health.
Defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (concussion) and rookie linebacker Tanner Vallejo (knee) were the only two players ruled out Friday in advance of the season opener against the New York Jets. Worthy and Vallejo were the only two players to appear on the final injury report, meaning defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (hip), safety Colt Anderson (foot) and running back LeSean McCoy (illness) will all play after being listed as limited participants for at least one practice earlier in the week.
According to ESPN, the Bills enter Week One tied with four other teams for the third-lowest number of injured players. Not counting McCoy, who returned to practice Thursday after briefly dealing with a stomach bug, but was required to be listed by NFL rules as limited, Buffalo has seven injured players. Quarterback T.J. Yates (concussion), tight end Keith Towbridge (ankle) and wide receiver Jeremy Butler (concussion) are on injured reserve, joining Dareus, Anderson, Worthy and Vallejo.
The Dallas Cowboys have five injured players, while the Philadelphia Eagles have six. The most injured team, according to ESPN, is the New England Patriots, with a total of 19 players.
With Worthy out, second-year veteran Adolphus Washington is likely to be the top backup behind starters Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus.
The weather forecast for Sunday – perfectly sunny, high of 67 degrees – is ideal, but the first game of the regular season always brings about an increased risk of soft-tissue injuries or cramping.
“I think we do a good job of trying to acclimate the guys through our training camp schedule. That said the first game is the first game,” coach Sean McDermott said Friday. “We have some guys we’re keeping an eye on with managing reps the best we can.”
That list includes left tackle Cordy Glenn, whose playing time in the preseason was limited to just 15 snaps in the final game as he managed a foot injury.
“There’s a lot of communication that needs to happen from the field to the sideline and vice versa with our trainers,” McDermott said. “We’re fortunate that it looks like a good weather weekend on tap here.”
According to the Bills, if Glenn joins Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, John Miller and Jordan Mills in starting along the offensive line, it will be the first time since 1987-88 that the team started the same offensive line in Week One of back-to-back seasons. The starters at that time were, from left to right, Will Wolford, Jim Pitcher, Kent Hull, Tim Vogler and Joe Devlin.
As expected, McDermott confirmed that EJ Gaines will start opposite at Tre’Davious White at cornerback. … The Jets ruled out tight end Jordan Leggett (tight end) and safety Rontez Miles (eye). ... Milestones in reach, per the Bills: If the team rushes for a touchdown, it will have done so in 13 straight games, extending the longest active streak in the NFL and tying a team record set in 1980. Kicker Stephen Hauschka has made at least one field goal in 19 straight games, the longest such streak in the league.