GREEN BAY, Wis. -- As television cameras circled LeSean McCoy's locker stall in the underbelly of Lambeau Field after a 22-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, he initially told reporters he did not believe there was much to talk about following the Buffalo Bills' first shutout defeat since 2008.
Then, as McCoy began to field questions about a game in which he rushed only five times for 24 yards, he attempted to close the top button of his dress shirt. After about 40 seconds of trying, he let out a sound of frustration and gave up on the endeavor.
It was yet another afternoon in which little seemed to work in McCoy's favor. In his first game since suffering cracked rib cartilage on Sept. 16, McCoy touched the ball only eight times and gained 37 yards as part of an offensive effort from Buffalo that yielded only 145 total yards, its fewest since 2006.
With a quarter of the season gone, McCoy has only 85 rushing yards, 41 receiving yards and no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Kelvin Benjamin caught only one of his six targets Sunday -- for a 34-yard gain -- and has only seven catches for 92 yards through four games.
At 1-3, the Bills should begin to consider the possibility of trading either McCoy or Benjamin, or both, in advance of the NFL's Oct. 30 trade deadline.
That leaves the upcoming four games for the Bills to turn around an offense that will likely enter Week 5 as the NFL's second-worst. However, even a short-term rebound would do little to secure the long-term futures of either McCoy or Benjamin in Buffalo.
McCoy, 30, is the NFL's eighth-oldest running back and has failed to gain more than 50 rushing yards in eight of his past 12 games. That can partly be attributed to injuries, problems along the offensive line and poor quarterback play that has resulted in pass-heavy approaches while trailing.
Sunday was the latest example of why the situation around McCoy in Buffalo is unlikely to considerably change before he either reaches a point of physical decline or the end of his contract with the Bills.
"I’m not used to [the lack of usage]," McCoy said. "I’m used to getting the ball a lot. But when the game is kind of getting out of hand, we’re getting down early -- we got to throw the ball. I understand it. I’ve been around the league a long time. Sometimes this happens."
Similar frustration was sensed from Benjamin at his locker Thursday when he was asked to react to his stat line to that point (six catches for 58 yards).
"God damn, [have] we been throwing at all?" Benjamin said.
The throws have come to Benjamin. They have just not always been accurate or caught. After Benjamin had himself to blame for a pair of drops through the first three games, there was not much he could have done better Sunday.
A third-quarter pass from rookie Josh Allen led to Benjamin's colliding with Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who came down with an interception. Benjamin, who had to be walked to the sideline by medical staff, was later evaluated and cleared of a head injury. Allen took blame for the play, saying he should not have led Benjamin into the oncoming defender.
Benjamin has 12 more games until he will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. Common sense would suggest Benjamin will want to examine his options outside Buffalo, and that the Bills will be leery of paying Benjamin on par with his 2014 draft counterparts after he has averaged only 2.3 catches and 30.9 receiving yards per game since being acquired in a trade last October.
Because of the approaching end of Benjamin's contract and the expiration date looming on McCoy's career, both become logical trade candidates, at least on a surface level.
McCoy has an ongoing legal situation that any team acquiring him would want to vet, as well as a contract that would pay him the balance of his $6.075 million salary this season and a non-guaranteed $6.175 million base salary next season. Meanwhile, Benjamin's lack of production could prevent Buffalo from recouping the third- and seventh-round picks it spent last year to acquire him from the Carolina Panthers.
Neither move would cause a large financial hit to Buffalo's salary cap, but the Bills would be only further depleting an already-struggling offense by trading McCoy or Benjamin. That could expose Allen even more during the second half of the schedule.
The upside for Bills general manager Brandon Beane would be acquiring draft assets in the same way he did by trading away defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, cornerback Ronald Darby, linebacker Reggie Ragland, quarterback Cardale Jones and cornerback Kevon Seymour last season.