Marquise Goodwin bristles at the notion of being injury prone.
The mounting evidence, however, is making it difficult to convince the court of public opinion.
Goodwin is likely to miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury when the Buffalo Bills play the New York Jets on Sunday. If he does, he’ll have sat out three of Buffalo’s first eight games – he also missed a Week Four loss in Houston because of a concussion.
“I’m a little frustrated, but at the end of the day, that’s just part of the game we play,” Goodwin said. There is a “100 percent injury rate. We’re the only sport that’s like that. There’s not much too much, really, I can do about it. Being frustrated is not really going to help me get better, so I’m just going to try to move past it.”
Goodwin has been mostly a non-factor in the Bills’ offense, with just one catch for 42 yards. That one reception, though – a deep ball on a go route down the right sideline against Detroit – showed the explosiveness he provides when healthy.
“You miss the element of being on the outside and being able to clear things out,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. “We still have some guys with speed out there … but with Marquise you miss that guy that can take the top off of a defense.”
Goodwin also missed four games as a rookie last year.
“I think it’s tough for any player. Availability is a big thing,” Marrone said. “It’s very difficult, especially when they occur early in your career, to continue to get better and better.
“It’s almost like when those things happen – I don’t want to say you start back at square one – but there’s definitely a move back before you can start working to move forward. He’s definitely frustrated with it. … One of the things that’s not a secret that you talk with players about all the time is availability. He hasn’t been available as often as he would like to be or as we would like him to be.”
Goodwin likely being out Sunday also will force the Bills to adjust on special teams. He would have served as the team’s kick returner with C.J. Spiller going on short-term injured reserve, but now the team will pick from three candidates mentioned by Marrone – receivers Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins, or cornerback Leodis McKelvin.
“I can only worry about myself. I can’t really worry about what people say or think about me,” Goodwin said. “People may think I’m prone to injury or whatever, but like I said, it’s just the sport we play. It’ll happen. All I can do is just try to work through it.”
Goodwin was joined by running back Fred Jackson (groin) and linebacker Ty Powell (ankle) as non-participants at Thursday’s practice.
Limited were safety Aaron Williams (neck) and receiver Marcus Easley (knee), while defensive end Mario Williams (thumb), linebacker Brandon Spikes (ribs) and Watkins (groin) were full participants.
The Bills’ most recent addition to the roster, running back Phillip Tanner, made it clear Thursday he welcomes just about any job assigned to him.
“Wash jerseys, clean helmets,” Tanner said, “whatever the team needs me to do to make this a better team, that’s what I’m here for.”
The laundry will continue to be handled by the team’s equipment staff. Tanner, though, can expect to get his jersey dirty Sunday – at least on special teams.
“I’m comfortable with that,” he said. “I also feel comfortable in the offense. I’m in a good situation being able to go in at quarterback with Kyle Orton, somebody that I’m real familiar with.”
Tanner and Orton were teammates in Dallas over the past two seasons.
“I know the things he wants,” Tanner said. “I know the things he needs, what he likes and dislikes. That’s a huge advantage, coming in with a quarterback I’m comfortable with.”
Tanner, who has been working at his alma mater, Middle Tennessee State, after being released by the Cowboys at the end of training camp, said effort is his No. 1 strength.
“I’m going full speed every play,” he said. “I’m able to pick up on pass pro and things like that. Smart and tough – that’s what kept me around.”
University at Buffalo product Josh Thomas has bounced around the NFL a bit this season since being released by Carolina at final cuts.
The cornerback had a three-game stint with the Seattle Seahawks, but was released by the defending Super Bowl champions on Oct. 8. Thomas, though, wasn’t out of work long, signing with the Jets on Oct. 13.
He sat out New York’s Week Seven loss to New England, which came on a Thursday night, but could make his debut Sunday against the Bills.
“We’re going to go through this week and find out what he knows about our system and, really, where he can fit in, where he can help us,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “He may get his chance this week to play some, so we’ll see how he prepares during the week.”