Aug 26, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Jonathan Williams (40) is helped off the field by trainers against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Bills’ rookie Jonathan Williams exited last Friday’s game with a rib injury and will not be used in Thursday’s preseason finale. Should we be worried?
It has become an epidemic with the Buffalo Bills. It seems every time our boys step on the field, someone is getting injured.
That scare continued last Friday when the Bills squared up with the Washington Redskins for their third preseason game. First, we saw Jonathan Dowling and Chris Gragg both tear their ACL, ending both of their seasons. Although they weren’t expected to give big contributions this season, they were a part of the little bit of depth we had at their positions.
That wasn’t the only scare we saw on Friday, as rookie running back Jonathan Williams also left the game early. It was reported as an injury to his ribs after he was “thrown to the ground” following a run play. Although it was first reported as a non-serious injury, Bills’ fans remained skeptical about his status.
After the game, he went through a couple of tests to determine the severity of the injury. Buffalo received good news as Ian Rappaport reported that the initial tests didn’t come back negative in any way.
A couple of days after the game, we learned of more good news. It seems as though Williams had dodged a major injury and will be fine. However, the Buffalo Bills have announced that he will sit out of Thursday’s preseason finale against the Detroit Lions, noting that it is more of a precautionary decision. It’s apparent that the Bills aren’t going to take any chances that could worsen the issue.
Aug 26, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Jonathan Williams (40) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Williams has had a pretty decent preseason so far, proving to be a consistent rusher. On Friday, before leaving early, he was given the ball and made good use of the opportunity as he ran it for a 37-yard touchdown. He finished the game with 42 yards on 11 carries. Being a rookie, he can be a valuable part of this offense for years to come — especially learning behind the likes of LeSean McCoy and Reggie Bush.
So, how will this affect his role with the team this season?
Well, with the depth we have at the position, he wasn’t set to see a lot of action this year anyway. However, he has shown that he can be one of the better options for the Bills when it comes to goal-line carries and short yardage opportunities. His physical nature and ability to run through defenders seems to have more upside than McCoy and Bush — who would rather move around the defense.
If this injury keeps him sidelined longer than expected, then it will open the door for Mike Gillislee to see more opportunities on the field. He will have a good opportunity to show more of what he is capable of on Thursday, with McCoy and Williams both sitting out. James Wilder Jr. and Daniel Herron will also have a last chance to prove themselves — since they are on the verge of getting cut soon.
As of right now, our running back core seems very solid. If McCoy can stay healthy, we could have one of the better backs in this league. If Bush can show a revamped game, we could have one of the better one-two combos for running backs in this league — much like we had last year. Add in a rookie that can pound the ball (Williams) and another back that seems to only run for touchdowns (Gillislee) and we could be seeing an even better rushing attack than last year.
The fact of the matter is, Jonathan Williams’ rib injury isn’t serious — according to reports so far — and the Bills’ sitting him on Thursday is strictly to give the running back some more time to rest and recover before the season kicks off.
The Bills open their season against the Baltimore Ravens on September 11th, a date that is coming a lot quicker than we think. It’s nice to finally see an injury that isn’t serious.
Hopefully, we can just avoid injuries all-together from here on out.