When the Buffalo Bills signed Zach Brown during free agency it was widely regarded as a smart and necessary move. Rex Ryan’s defense struggled at the position last season and the former Tennessee Titans linebacker had just come off a solid 2015 campaign.
In fact, back in March Pro Football Focus named Brown as one of its six top bargain free agents in the league. A major part of that having to do with his speed and ability to defend all over the field, as he was ranked the third best coverage linebacker in the NFL. Tyrod Taylor witnessed that firsthand during week 5 last year as #53 made an impressive interception along the sidelines on a throw by the Bills QB.
Now that Buffalo’s defense is struggling with injuries to Manny Lawson and second-round pick Reggie Ragland, the move looks even smarter, as Zach Brown is set to take on a bigger role. He’s been getting more reps recently and based off this video from practice on Tuesday, it’s paying off:
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) August 9, 2016
In the above clip Brown uses a variety of spin moves, step backs and even utilizes a bull rush to get past the would-be blockers. I don’t expect Charles Clay (#85) or LeSean McCoy (#85) to be able to hold off the linebacker for long, but the former North Carolina standout blew by fullback Jerome Felton (#42) a couple times as well.
What makes this even more interesting is that one of Brown’s considered weaknesses is not being able to shed blockers from his body. From the looks of that highlight it’s something he’s actively addressing.
For a more thorough breakdown of Zach Brown’s game and expected role in the Buffalo Bills defense, check out Chris Trapasso’s article posted today at BuffaloRumblings.com.