With Shaq Lawson on the shelf and Manny Lawson not likely to see the field until just before the season opener, there’s an opportunity at outside linebacker for those players who are healthy and on the field right now for Buffalo.
That was Rex Ryan’s assessment heading into Saturday’s preseason opener against Indianapolis. But if his feet were held to the fire in a game that counted, and he didn’t have either Lawson, he knows who he’d start at that vacant outside linebacker position opposite Jerry Hughes.
“I think the battle for outside linebacker is wide open,” Ryan said. “Obviously you don’t have Manny Lawson ready to go yet. But let’s see who steps forward. You know? Sometimes we put Striker in there. Sometimes we put IK out there. He’s been primarily the starter, but if we were going to start a game today, I’d start 57. I’d start Zo [Lorenzo Alexander] at that spot. I can’t tell you the last mistake he’s made. I think he’s made one or two the entire camp. Veteran player, but it wasn’t the role that I wanted for him, and I’m not going to put him there. I want some of these young guys to see if they can’t step up and do it. [Bryson] Albright is another guy that’s shown a little bit.”
All those candidates mentioned by Ryan will get plenty of playing time Saturday night.
Tags: Bryson Albright, Eric Striker, IK Enmekpali, Lorenzo Alexander, Rex Ryan
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills Where has Lavar Edwards lined up? OLB or DE?
Brett Triplett @BrettsterBills
CB: Edwards has lined up exclusively at defensive end through the OTA practices. I think while Edwards has the ideal height to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 system at 6-4, it’s apparent that Buffalo’s defensive coaches believe they have other options with better coverage skills to play that position. Plus Edwards is built in such a way where he can hold the edge in the run game pretty effectively as I see it. So where they have him lined up makes sense to me at this stage.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills how big of a role will Jonathan Williams have year one?
Mark Sciubba @MarkSciubbaDoe
CB: As I mentioned in a blog post earlier this week, I think Jonathan Williams can give Karlos Williams a run for his money as the backup behind LeSean McCoy. Watching his game tape from Arkansas the thing that impresses me most is his contact balance. Just the way he bounces off that initial tackler almost every time and keeps his legs churning for extra yards. I think his thick build fools opponents into thinking he’s just a downhill runner.
He can do that, but he’s also got some elusiveness and speed to pull away from people. Now he’s probably not outrunning some of the faster safeties in the league should he reach the secondary on a play, but he knows angles and has a more diversified skill set than people realize.
The last thing about him is he’s a driven person. He handles adversity very well so I think the challenge of Greg Roman’s voluminous playbook won’t be much of a hurdle for him. That should lead to competent and consistent play and will enable him to push for a bigger role than some might be anticipating from him in 2016.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills Which players are poised to become major team leaders this upcoming season?
Matt Williams @SportingGlasses
CB: I would put players like Preston Brown in that category as well as Sammy Watkins. Those two have embraced the added responsibility of leading not only by example, but vocally as well. In my mind Tyrod Taylor became a major leader last season.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think the Bills will continue to move Sammy around like they did vs the Jets? Or do u think its game plan specific?
CB: While the opponent is always a factor in how offenses make use of their most dangerous weapons, I would anticipate moving Sammy Watkins around to continue. It makes him harder to track, thereby making it more difficult for opposing defensive coordinators to stick to a specific plan designed to neutralize him.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills where do you think eric striker fits on this defense if he makes the team?
Ser Davos Seaworth @matt_faso
CB: I think inside linebacker is the only place where he can line up in this scheme. He’s not tall enough to play out on the edge at outside linebacker. If he makes the 53-man roster, knowing how effective he was as a pass rusher I wouldn’t be surprised if he was utilized in some subpackages as an overload rusher off the edge in obvious passing situations.
But he’s going to make this roster because he’s an impact player on special teams, which I believe is certainly in the realm of possibility.
Tags: Eric Striker, Fan Friday, Jonathan Williams, Lavar Edwards, Preston Brown, Sammy Watkins
Posted in Inside the Bills