Nearly everyone expected running back LeSean McCoy to be on the field for at least a couple of drives with the rest of the first-team offense on Thursday, but Buffalo’s most explosive player wasn’t even on the field for a single play. Head coach Sean McDermott explained the team’s decision:
“You know, I’ve been around LeSean, as you guys have heard me say, for a long time and I like where he is at this point in training camp in terms of getting himself ready to play for the season,” he said. “I wanted to get a good look at the other backs and I was impressed with the way some of those running backs performed.”
Bills finished with 24 carries for 127 yards vs the Vikings. Jonathan Williams led with 4 carries for 39 yards.
By all accounts, McCoy has picked up right where he left off from last season on the practice field this summer, and it is probably the smart decision for the team to not risk injury, while also seeing what kind of depth they have beyond McCoy
Courtesy of Joe Croom.
McDermott also explained his decision to give Gerald Hodges
second team reps in practice for most of the summer and during the first preseason game on Thursday.
“Gerald has done some good things. He’s shown an ability to handle more than one position on the defense and in our base packages and also our sub-packages, third down packages and whatnot, I love his toughness. He communicates well [and] he’s a veteran player,” McDermott said. “Reggie’s a young player who’s coming off of an injury and is only going to continue to get better. He’s working extremely hard. I thought he did some good things in the game tonight. Played downhill, played physical, so that will be a fun position to watch moving forward.”
Reggie Ragland finished the game with 3 solo tackles, 2 assists, 1 stop and a +1.5 PFF Grade
McDermott also added that, while he would consider moving Ragland to one of the outside linebacker spots at some point, it is in his “best interest” to compete for a job at the inside position. Ragland, for his part, said that this was essentially the first time he has played in an actual football game since the 2016 National Championship with Alabama and that he is focused solely on himself.
“It’s never a setback. I’m out there playing. Still getting reps, still getting better. I mean it’s been a year since I got done playing but I got to do whatever the coaches need me to do. For me I got to keep getting better and I think about that.”
The biggest concern for coaches in preseason games is the threat of major injuries. For the Bills, it appears as if they escaped without any on Thursday. Jonathan Williams
appears to be alright after being pulled from the game, and linebacker Tanner Vallejo’s shoulder injury doesn’t seem to have any long-term consequences. However, things looked bleak for a split second in the first quarter when quarterback Tyrod Taylor
stayed down on the field after getting sacked. His knee was examined by the trainers, but Taylor remained in the game, much to the relief of his head coach.
“I am always concerned any time a player goes down, in particular a quarterback in this case. He’s a tough young man and I love the fact that he bounced back and lead the team a little bit and showed some mental toughness.”
Taylor said after the game that he was feeling no ill effects from that play, and that it actually feels good to take a hit from time to time.
Finally on the injury front, McDermott added that Shaq Lawson
and Cordy Glenn
sat out Thursday’s game mainly as a precaution in hopes that neither injury lingers any longer into the preseason.