The Buffalo Bills lost the offensive player they could probably least afford to lose, if the most recent report is true.
According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, the Bills will be without star running back LeSean McCoy against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday — and potentially for some time after that. McCoy injured his hamstring in practice on Wednesday, and had to sit out of Thursday’s practice because of the ailment.
The Associated Press reports, though, that McCoy -- rather than being declared out as of Thursday -- will be a game time decision on Sunday due to the hamstring.
Through the first six weeks of the season, the Bills running back has been phenomenal — rushing for 587 yards, six touchdowns, roping in 20 receptions for 97 receiving yards, and a total of seven touchdowns. He’s eclipsed 100 total yards in each of his last four contests, too.
The loss is quite obviously a big one, and it means running back Mike Gillislee would have to step up as the starter in McCoy’s place if he were unable to play.
The Bills (4-2) take on the Miami Dolphins (2-4) on Sunday.
Joe B’s Take
This is quite obviously a huge development that could shape the game against the Dolphins on Sunday. Is it awful news for the Bills and their fans? Yes, it absolutely is: McCoy was playing out of his mind in the weeks leading up to this injury, and without him, they lose the dynamic element to their rushing attack that they’ve had for the last four weeks.
However, is it the smartest thing to do?
By all means, yes it is. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said something on Thursday that likely reflects any decision to sit him out on Sunday, and admitted that what happened in 2015 with McCoy weighs into it.
“Sure it will. Last year, it was a week to week thing and I don’t want to do that anymore. I want him on the field healthy and ready to go. I want him to be LeSean.”
That being said, I agree with Lynn and the Bills decision to sit him down if there is enough concern that he could do additional damage to the hamstring by playing on it Sunday. From a game perspective, the Bills won’t necessarily change some things for Mike Gillislee, but the yards that McCoy got on a pretty regular basis won’t be as plentiful for Gillislee.
Not many players have the ability to spot a temporary weakness and have the speed to cut up the field and exploit it for a huge gain. The offensive line is playing well, and that will help the Bills against the Dolphins and potentially beyond for their rushing attack, but with due respect, Gillislee isn’t the same guy as McCoy — really not even close.
In the one game during the 2015 season where Gillislee was pegged to be the bell cow back, he rushed for only 28 yards on 24 carries. Now, he’ll likely do much better than that against the Dolphins, but there will be a big drop off from McCoy to Gillislee.