Bills RB Zack Moss Clears Protocol, May Still Not Play: Insider

Zack Moss

Getty Zack Moss celebrates after scoring a touchdown in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss is through concussion protocol and eligible to play in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. Whether he actually takes the field against the AFC East rival could be another story, an insider speculates.

Moss was injured in the 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 7, leaving the game in the second half and being placed into the league-mandated concussion protocol. The team announced on Saturday that he had cleared concussion protocol, but his production on the field could still put his status in jeopardy.

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Moss Ready to Return

Moss is tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns this season with three and ranks third on the team with 233 rushing yards, but he has struggled in more recent games. As Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News noted, Moss and fellow running back Devin Singletary have combined for 182 yards on 54 carries over the last four games, and were particularly ineffective against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The two had just 22 yards rushing on nine carries as the Jaguars defensive line dominated.

After the game, Bills head coach Sean McDermott made it clear that the running game needed to improve.

“That’s a huge issue right now for us,” McDermott said, via the Buffalo News. “You’ve gotta be able to run the football when it’s handed off. I think we were at nine carries for what, 22 yards with the backs? That’s not good enough.”


Moss Down the Depth Chart

Even with the concussion protocol now in the past, Moss could still see a diminished role on Sunday. Matt Warren of SB Nation’s Buffalo Rumblings suggested that he may not end up taking the field against the Jets as the Bills test whether another backfield tandem is more effective.

“Moss may still end up being inactive, however, as Buffalo’s run game has stagnated this year. If the Bills are looking for a spark, veteran Matt Brieda could be in line for a game on the active roster while Moss is inactive,” he wrote. “Devin Singletary could also find himself on the outside looking in with Moss now being available.”

Bradley Gelber of USA Today’s Bills Wire suggested another option — practice squad running back Antonio Williams. The undrafted free agent had a breakout performance in the team’s season finale win over the Miami Dolphins last season, rushing 12 times for 63 yards and two touchdowns, but has yet to play this season.

The Jets have already made it clear that shutting down the rushing game is a priority this week. Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich told reporters that they hope to squash out running plays and put the Bills into longer third-down situations.

“Make them one dimensional,” Ulbrich said, via SI.com’s Jets Country. “We have to play the run well. We have to make the play action not as valid. When we play the run really, really well, it creates longer third downs, longer second downs, where we have an opportunity to pressure and play more coverage-based defenses where we can manipulate the backend a little bit, help with the matchups, hopefully cause a little bit of confusion.

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