The Buffalo Bills entered Sunday's Week 5 game with just three active running backs. Unfortunately, they're now down to only two.
Cierre Wood was carted off the field in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans with a knee injury and has been ruled out for the remainder of the game.
LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Karlos Williams (concussion) are both dealing with injuries of their own and were forced to miss Sunday's game, leaving just Boobie Dixon and the recently-acquired Boom Herron as the only healthy backs.
It's unknown how severe Wood's injury is, but any time a player is carted off, it's possibly serious, the story pointed out. Although it's not always the case. While McCoy will likely be out through the team's Week 8 bye, Williams should return sooner rather than later. Herron carried 9 times for 28 yards and Dixon just seven times for 19 yards.
The Bills picked up free agent RB Dan Herron on Tuesday and he’s quickly acclimated himself to Buffalo’s rushing attack. It’s all translated into what will likely be a noticeable role in Sunday’s game against Tennessee.
Herron, who came in the door armed with a measure of familiarity with the offensive system, blended in well on offense this week. His fresh legs were also evident as his burst through the hole in team practice was probably the best of the group that’s currently healthy (Boobie Dixon, Cierre Wood).
That’s why offensive coordinator Greg Roman believes he’ll be making use of Herron against Tennessee.
“I think Boom is going to…you know there’s a good chance that he’s going to be a part of the game plan,” said Roman. “I really like what I see out of him, like what I hear out of him and he’s picking things up pretty quickly.”
Herron’s familiarity with the system is due to the similarities between Colts OC Pep Hamilton’s offense and Roman’s. The two coached together at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.
Herron is a risky play in just about any format with his workload such a mystery. Dixon is battling a calf injury so there's definitely a chance Herron is involved, but he's not a solid fantasy play outside of very deep leagues.
It wasn’t fully recognized by even Karlos Williams himself, but late Monday night the Bills running back wasn’t feeling well. After an examination it was discovered that Williams sustained a concussion in the Bills loss to the Giants Sunday. GM Doug Whaley announced the news Tuesday morning in his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.
Whaley said that Williams is going through the league’s concussion protocol. Williams status for playing on Sunday is certainly up in the air and with starting RB LeSean McCoy also a major question mark for the Titans game, the Bills have just Boobie Dixon and Cierre Wood as healthy running backs.
“We have confidence in the guys that we have in Boobie Dixon and Cierre Wood, who have been here,” said Whaley.
Whaley admitted they will take a look to see what is out there to find replenish the depth at the position. Former Bills RB Bryce Brown is an available free agent and Whaley admitted that he would be a possibility. The team did not rule out Williams playing this week so it's a situation for owners to keep an eye on.
What you have to know about Jonas Gray, the Patriots' new running back:
*He's 5-foot-10, 230 pounds, the biggest tailback on the New England roster.
*Gray had a sensational senior season at Notre Dame in 2011, rushing for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 114 carries before tearing his ACL on Senior Day. He took the starting job from running back Cierre Wood when the Irish were 4-3. When he injured his knee, Notre Dame was 8-3.
*Gray earned his spot on the Patriots roster after a strong preseason, which included a 12-carry, 98-yard performance against Philadelphia.
*Gray rushed for over 2,600 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior at Detroit Country Day School. It's also the same high school that produced NBA players Chris Webber, Shane Battier and JaVale McGee.
*There were 18 running backs drafted in 2012. Gray was not among them. He signed futures contracts with Miami and then Baltimore, and hasn't carried the ball in a regular season game since his final game at Notre Dame in November, 2011.
It's telling that the Patriots elected to play Gray ahead of veteran Brandon Bolden on a short week. Shane Vereen led the running backs in touches with 16, while Gray saw three carries and Bolden had one catch. We would expect Gray's role to increase as he has more time to run with the first team in practice. Perhaps a role of 6-8 carries per game is in his future. Vereen's role expanded significantly in Week 7, but again, it was a short week of preparation.