The Buffalo Bills absolutely need LeSean McCoy healthy down the home stretch to have any real chance of a postseason run in 2016. That’s why it was not smart for the team to have let him play over the weekend against the Miami Dolphins after he tweaked his hamstring during the week.
Rex Ryan said after the game that he thought McCoy was “100 percent” and that he shut him down because he was sore during the game.
Then on Monday, Ryan continued to defend playing his star running back.
Ryan on McCoy: "He got clearance from our medical personnel. That's tons of tests. LeSean wanted to play. He felt like he was ready."
— Jay Skurski (@JaySkurski) October 24, 2016
It’s worth pointing out that McCoy was nowhere near himself on the field before he was taken out of the game, having picked up just 11 yards on eight carries.
The biggest issue we have with Ryan’s statement is that everyone knew — from fantasy owners to NFL scribes to the league’s top insiders — that McCoy was iffy to play.
It was known that he was not 100-percent healthy and that he’d be available on a limited basis Sunday in Miami, if at all. Heck, even his agent, the famous Drew Rosenhaus, made it clear the back would be “a game-time decision.”
Now, after McCoy aggravated the injury during the game, Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting the Bills are going to be in exactly the same spot with the running back this week as they were on Sunday.
After LeSean McCoy aggravated hamstring Sunday, one source said Bills RB “will be same position this week, probably questionable” for Sunday
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 24, 2016
That the Bills might be inclined to play McCoy in this one is a real concern. Ryan tends to take a short-term view on things more often than not, and he’s about to go up against his nemesis, Bill Belichick. This means he wants to throw the kitchen sink at the New England Patriots this Sunday in Buffalo.
But in reality, the worst thing the Bills could do right now is keep throwing McCoy out on Sundays until his hammy is fully — and we mean truly, 100 percent — healed.
Hamstrings are notoriously tricky. McCoy’s 2015 campaign was hampered by a nagging hammy, which is why he finished with just 895 yards and three touchdowns. When healthy, this is a player who ranks among the elite at his position.
And that’s the point. Buffalo is going to need him to be at his best to make a playoff run. It’s been since 1999, for crying out loud, that this franchise has made it into the postseason. Thinking short term about a long-term issue will almost guarantee the Bills will once again fall short.