Posted: Monday, January 28, 2019 9:22 PM Quote
Bills starting linebacker Matt Milano will miss the final three weeks of the season with a broken left leg , while the status of running backs LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory are considered more promising.Milano had surgery for a broken fibula on Monday, a day after being hurt in a 27-23 loss to the New York Jets.Coach Sean McDermott said the initial prognosis for Milano's recovery was positive, though he didn't provide any timetable of when the second-year player might be cleared for practice in the offseason.Milano was hurt when his leg became twisted in a pile after he stopped quarterback Sam Darnold from scoring at the Buffalo 1 on third-and-goal from the 4 with 1:22 remaining.Milano has been a valuable every-down player on one of the NFL's top-ranked defenses. He entered the game Sunday tied for second in the league with six takeaways, and was second on the team in being credited with 72 tackles.As for McCoy and Ivory, McDermott listed them day to day with Buffalo (4-9) preparing to host the Detroit Lions (5-8) on Sunday.McCoy did not return after hurting his hamstring when he was stopped for no gain on first-and-goal from the 6 during Buffalo's opening drive. Ivory did not return after hurting his left shoulder following an 8-yard run early in the fourth quarter.McDermott said he'll have a better idea regarding their availability to play once the team returns to practice Wednesday.With both out against the Jets, Buffalo finished the game with just one healthy running back, Marcus Murphy. Receiver Isaiah McKenzie has been used in running situations, and scored on a 15-yard sweep against the Jets. Buffalo also has rookie running back Keith Ford on its practice squad.The injuries to McCoy and Ivory place more of a strain on a sputtering running attack getting most of its production from scrambling quarterback Josh Allen.The rookie has combined for 335 yards rushing in the past three games, and now leads Buffalo in yards rushing, 490, and has five touchdowns rushing. Allen has moved past McCoy, who's managed just 479 yards rushing and two touchdowns in essentially 10 games. He missed one with a rib injury and has now twice been injured on the Bills' first possession.McCoy's drop in production comes a year after the 30-year-old topped 1,100 yards rushing for the fifth time in his first nine NFL seasons.The blame falls on a combination of factors.The Bills feature a patchwork offensive line after losing starting center Eric Wood and starting left guard Richie Incognito this past offseason. Another issue is McCoy being tentative and failing to find openings."We're trying," offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said. "It starts with me. We just need to do a better job of blocking it, whether it be with the up-front guys or receivers."As much as the offense is enjoying a boost with Allen running, concerns are arising that the rookie is exposing himself to too many hits, especially after recently missing four games with a sprained right throwing elbow."We've got to take a hard look at that," McDermott said. "I know that when the quarterback is your leading rusher, it's not a healthy thing week in and week out."With 101 yards rushing against the Jets, Allen became just the second quarterback in NFL history to top 90 yards in three consecutive games, joining Tobin Rote , who did that with Green Bay in 1951.He also joins elite Bills company in becoming Buffalo's first player to top 95 yards rushing in three straight games since Fred Jackson in 2011. Allen also became Buffalo's fourth player to enjoy such a streak along with Jackson and Hall of Famers Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson."It's probably going to be an ongoing conversation," McDermott said, referring to how often Allen should run. "Mobile quarterbacks, there's a conversation about them every week: Are they running too much? Are they not running enough? At the end of the day, we've got to keep Josh upright."McDermott was unhappy with Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson's blindside hit on kicker Stephen Hauschka on the final play of the first half. After Anderson blocked Hauschka's 49-yard attempt, the Jets player then bowled over the kicker from behind.Hauschka continued playing despite sustaining a hip injury."There's no place in football for it," McDermott said. "I thought that should've been called. But (the officials) didn't see it, obviously." NFL officiating was not a hot topic in the formal owners meetings that ended Wednesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell noted."There was talk on several occasions in the context of what the competition committee is looking to propose and implement and how to adjust to those rules," Goodell said.But there were no formal discussions on the floor during the two-day meetings.Officiating has been a super-tense issue this season, in part because of several rules changes or points of emphasis, particularly regarding roughing the passer and helmet use in tackling.Criticism of calls has come from almost everywhere: players, coaches, owners, media and fans. They reached a fevered pitch in September when Clay Matthews drew two flags for roughing the passer and reaction ranged from rage to describing the calls as "textbook tackles."Overall, roughing-the-passer calls are down since the competition committee clarified to game officials the techniques used in such hits during a conference call last month. There were 34 roughing calls through the first three weeks and 19 in the three weeks since the call."They always want consistency," Goodell said, "but we will always have calls that are not clear. The focus of trying to protect defenseless players is something very important and we have a tremendous commitment to that."These meetings were far from as frenetic as a year ago, when the NFL was dealing with widespread player demonstrations during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice."The focus has been on the efforts the players have brought in their communities and they are working on the issues to make their communities better," he said.A policy requiring the players to either stand on the sideline or wait in the locker room or tunnel leading to the field during "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been in limbo almost since it was unilaterally invoked by the NFL and heavily criticized by the players' union. Goodell gave no indication anything would change with that policy this year.Goodell and many owners spoke in glowing terms about the product on the field, stressing the record-setting offenses and close games through six weeks. Goodell also boasted about NFL games being one of the "few contents that are growing" in TV audiences. Ratings are up this year."The safety of the game is better and the quality of the game is better Seahawks Germain Ifedi Jersey ," Goodell said.He also explained that the removal of a rule barring cross-ownership of sports franchises in different markets could be a boost to the league.Previously, while an owner could have multi-sport franchises in the same city — the Patriots' Robert Kraft owns the Revolution in MLS, for example — that was barred beyond the local region.This change could lead to the likes of, say, a Steve Ballmer, who paid $2 billion for the NBA's Clippers, looking to own the next NFL franchise that comes onto the market. Or Kraft, for instance, purchasing another sports team outside of New England."This has been debated for 38 years," Goodell said. "It's about doing everything possible to attract the best ownership and to maintain the quality of ownership in the league."The owners also were updated on the stadium situations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but not on where the Raiders might be playing next season. They will be leaving Oakland for Las Vegas for the 2020 season and are in negotiations for a home for 2019.Goodell said out of respect to the family of Paul Allen that now was not the time to discuss the future ownership of the Seahawks. Allen died on Monday.Cowboys owner Jerry Jones insisted , "I can't imagine the Seahawks not in Seattle. That hasn't even been a thought."The compensation committee, which approved Goodell's new contract last year that drew the ire of some owners, went through a change. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was selected, while Clark Hunt of the Chiefs and Bob McNair of the Texans were removed. Also on the committee are New England's Robert Kraft, Atlanta's Arthur Blank, Pittsburgh's Art Rooney, and the Giants' John Mara.