Inside The Bills

Bills offseason pickups producing on ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on October 15, 2013 – 1:16 pm

The Bills free agent additions of Alan Branch and Manny Lawson were not headline grabbers nationally. Neither was the trade Buffalo made to acquire Jerry Hughes. But through the first six games all three have been significant contributors for the Bills defense.

That production is getting some attention. ProFootballFocus highlighted the performances of both Branch and Hughes this past week against Cincinnati. Lawson left the game early with a hamstring injury. PFF in reviewing the game praised both Branch and Hughes for their efforts. Here’s their synopsis.

Hughes’ Redemption Continues in Buffalo
After failing to make his impact in Indianapolis, Jerry Hughes has got a second chance in Buffalo and, aside from one performance, he is grasping that opportunity with both hands. Featuring in a career high 76 snaps off the bench, Hughes had an impact as both a pass rusher and run defender, overcoming his early missed tackle on Marvin Jones’ long gain on a reverse. He recorded three pressures as a pass rusher against the Bengals’ tackle pairing, one of the better in the league, while also drawing a holding penalty from Andrew Whitworth on a spin move that would have negated a key third-down conversion for the Bengals had A.J. Green’s left foot landed just infield. The theme with all of Hughes’ pressure was working to the inside of Whitworth and Andre Smith. It can be easy for pass rushers who come in as speed rushers to get too concerned with trying to tear past opposing tackles every play, but Hughes used that speed to set up his inside work this week. Hughes also added a batted pass and three stops in probably the most complete performance of his career to date.
Branch Maximizes his Run Snaps
He may be a fairly one dimensional defender but when he plays that one dimension as well as he did yesterday and the Bills can juggle his snaps as they did to exploit that strength you can always find room on your defense for a player like Alan Branch. Of his 48 defensive snaps Branch was defending the run on 31 of them (64.6%) and responded with five stops against the run, his most since Week 15 of the 2011 season in Chicago. Branch worked on both sides of the line getting the better of every member of the Bengals’ line except for Andrew Whitworth. This is Branch’s second “impact” game as a run defender having matched his +2.0 run defense grade against the Jets in Week 3, if he can provide more consistent displays like this then the Bills will be much tougher to run on.
 

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