At the end of the month the Buffalo Bills will reconvene for training camp, in what will be a crucial time for a team that has playoff aspirations in 2016. There are a plethora of questions facing the team as we get closer to the start of camp at St. John Fisher College.
Through the weeks leading up to camp, 7 ABC will examine the 20 most pressing questions the Bills have for the upcoming season.
It wasn't a big question until last week, when Karlos Williams and Jonathan Williams both got themselves into trouble. However, it paved the way to this:
10) Who backs up McCoy the first four games?
Bills running backs certainly have not done a great job of staying out of the headlines this offseason. First it was LeSean McCoy, who was later issued no charges over a brawl inside a Philadelphia nightclub. Then Karlos Williams showed up to minicamp overweight, and we thought those were the worst of the problems.
Luckily for the Bills, McCoy won't be facing any sort of reprimanding from the National Football League -- and they'll certainly need him based on how last week went. First, fifth-round rookie Jonathan Williams was arrested and charged with DWI in Arkansas, then later in the week, Karlos Williams was issued a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Karlos Williams was looked at as the backup runner to McCoy, but the Bills will have to do without him for a minimum of four games now, which makes room for another player to have a bigger role early on in the season.
So, who might that be?
While there are some reports that the Bills are interested in signing the 31-year-old Reggie Bush to the roster, fans should look no further than Mike Gillislee in the first four games. The mid-season pickup in 2015, Gillislee performed admirably for the team when pressed into the duties of the backup running back late in the year.
He's a smaller player, which puts him at risk of taking more punishment from opponents. Gillislee ran well during the offseason practices, which in my opinion, gives him the leg up to win the job this summer. You can expect the Bills to be plenty patient during training camp with McCoy, and not put him at risk of injury, which will give Gillislee plenty of chances.
Past him, there's James Wilder, Jr., Boom Herron, and Jonathan Williams that could factor into the equation, although you'd have to expect Williams to be in the doghouse with the coaching staff at the start of camp. Herron got an opportunity to run the ball in this offense last year and gave a rather uninspiring performance.
The name here to keep an eye on, outside of Gillislee, is Wilder, Jr. He has the bruising running style that the Bills will be losing when Williams is away from the team for four weeks. However, he has failed to hook on anywhere in the league thus far, and he'll be fighting for his NFL life this summer.
Even if Bush or another veteran signs with the team, I wouldn't expect that player to be McCoy's immediate backup unless an injury or two occurred. To me, this is Gillislee's to lose.
Bills Training Camp 20 #TC20
10) Who backs up McCoy the first 4 weeks?
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