While much is being made of the Bills being down their top two receivers in Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods for today’s game with the Jets, what’s been forgotten is how much different Buffalo’s defensive backfield looks with the unit much healthier than the first time they faced New York back in Week 3.
In that first meeting, top corner Stephon Gilmore was out due to wrist surgery, number two corner Leodis McKelvin suffered a hamstring injury in the first half forcing Aaron Williams to move from safety to corner. And Jairus Byrd was out of the lineup with plantar fasciitis. Now all three are back in the lineup for the divisional rematch today.
“They beat us on some plays down the field obviously and we didn’t have our two starting corners and Jairus Byrd wasn’t back there so we have three players back there now that we feel comfortable with,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. ”So going into this situation we feel a whole lot better in what we have back there than we did the first time played them, even though the first time we played them our guys did the best job they could back there.”
Buffalo’s defensive backs did have one interception off Geno Smith in the first meeting with Jim Leonhard snaring a pass over the middle. Kiko Alonso had an INT as well.
Having all three of those playmakers back in the lineup on the back end will allow defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to be more varied with his looks and more aggressive.
“You can do some different things now when you have those type of players out there that can potentially just lock somebody down,” said Marrone. ”We’ve got Aaron Williams back at safety position again and he has man-to-man coverage ability, which he showed at corner. I think it gives us more options and opens up the playbook a bit more.”
Jairus Byrd has four career interceptions against the Jets, the most against any opponent.
Tags: Bills-Jets, Doug Marrone, Jairus Byrd, Leodis McKelvin, Stephon Gilmore
Posted in Inside the Bills