It’s never an ideal situation for a team to be in when their consensus number one receiver goes down with an injury. However, the preseason injury has become somewhat of a yearly tradition for the Buffalo Bills‘ Steve Johnson, and the timing and severity of this years injury may turn out to ultimately be good for the team.
With reports from both head coach Doug Marrone and Johnson himself that the injury will keep him sidelined for about a week, the benefits from Stevie’s injury may well outweigh the cost. For one thing, it seems likely that Johnson will be back for the start of the Bills preseason (on August 11) and worse case scenario he would be able to join the team for week two. On the other hand, there are plenty of young, relatively inexperienced receivers on the team who could greatly benefit from the increased number of reps they are likely to see in Johnson’s absence.
Any other wideout on the Bills would be stupid to assume they have a guaranteed spot on the team at this point. TJ Graham and rookie Robert Woods are probably the strongest locks to make the final roster, but behind them, there is very little certainty surrounding the wideout position in Buffalo. If nothing else, Stevie’s injury will provide the opportunity for rookies like Marquise Goodwin and Da’Rick Rogers, as well as some savvy veterans such as Brad Smith and Marcus Easley, to flex their proverbial muscles and measure their proverbial genitalia (strictly in the play-making sense.)
The Bills roster is purposefully loaded with young, fast, athletic receivers, and with a limited number of reps to go around, it could be exceedingly difficult for one wideout to distinguish themselves from the pack.
Stevie Johnson’s injury, while not ideal, will provide the Bills coaching staff with the opportunity to more thoroughly evaluate the young talent on the team before the start of preseason. If Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett are serious about making sure that they have the best play-makers on the field at all times, then this injury will help them do just that.