The Buffalo Bills‘ injury-struck receiving corps could soon be getting a boost.
After a 2-0 start, the Bills ran into some early adversity with a spate of injuries leading up to Sunday’s matchup with the Miami Dolphins, then watched even more players go down during the game played in sweltering heat. The Bills came out of the game missing a key receiver, but could have a chance to bring back a speedster who may be nearing a return after spending several months recovering from an injury.
Bills Receiver Could Soon Return
The Bills got only a brief look at rookie wide receiver Marquez Stevenson last season. The sixth-round rookie showed flashes of his potential during the preseason but suffered a foot injury near the end of training camp and was placed on injured reserve until November.
He came back to limited duties on special teams, returning 14 punts for a 9.4-yard average and seven kick returns for a 23.6-yard average. But Stevenson also had two fumbles and lost the confidence of head coach Sean McDermott, heading to the bench during games in inclement weather as the sure-handed Micah Hyde took return duties.
Stevenson again went on IR to start this season, but could be eligible to return after Buffalo’s game against the Baltimore Ravens on October 2.
As WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio noted, an injury to wide receiver Jake Kumerow in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins may create an opening for Stevenson.
“With Jake Kumerow sidelined with an ankle injury, wonder if Khalil Shakir suits up for Bills Sunday in Baltimore,” Capaccio tweeted. “Also, looking ahead, WR/KR/PR Marquez Stevenson is eligible to return from IR one week from today, if the team feels he’s ready and chooses to do so.”
But just because Stevenson is eligible does not mean the Bills will rush time to return. He remained on injured reserve several weeks beyond the four-week designation last year.
If the Bills do call on Stevenson, they may also need to find another player to fill Kumerow’s role in the third phase of the game. He is seen as one of the team’s most important special teams players, only recently taking on a larger role in the offense. Prior to this season, Kumerow had 372 total receiving yards, but already has four catches for 64 yards through three games this season.
Bills Lean on Another Receiver
With a number of other receivers ailing during Sunday’s game — including Stefon Diggs, who frequently had to go to the sidelines with cramping and heat-related ailments — the Bills leaned more heavily on third-year pass-catcher Gabe Davis. As Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News noted, Davis played 88 of the team’s 92 offensive snaps in the 21-19 loss. His production didn’t match the workload, as Davis finished with just three catches for 37 yards.
But Davis was also coming off an ankle injury that had kept him out of the previous game, and said he didn’t feel any restriction.
“Felt pretty good,” Davis said after the game. “Was out there able to run, do well, so felt like it was a good turnout for the ankle.”