The news of Kiko Alonso's torn ACL is still sinking in for fans of the Buffalo Bills, but the injury may not plague the team as much as initially thought.
Third-year linebacker Nigel Bradham was a guy that the Bills thought was going to be a secret weapon behind Alonso, and will now get the chance to excel in the spotlight with Alonso sidelined for the season.
“The one thing I like about Bradham is I feel he can sit in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense, but I think he can be a solid 4-3 strong side linebacker,” Peter Damilatis of Pro Football Focus told the John Murphy Show, reported by Buffalobills.com. “He has a fearlessness in attacking the run at the point of attack. We would see a lead blocker like a fullback coming in to clear the way and Bradham would stick in there and stonewall him and blow up the entire play."
Though Alonso's intensity and mobility allowed him to thrive in his rookie season, and will be missed, Bradham actually showed last season that he can help stop the run, which is something the Bills know they have to improve on.
“Despite playing a quarter of the snaps of a lot of other guys like Kiko Alonso and Mario Williams he actually had the best run defense grade of any linebacker on the Bills roster and the eighth best run defense grade of any inside linebacker in the NFL, which is pretty remarkable for someone who played just 26 percent of the team snaps,” Damilatis told Buffalobills.com via The John Murphy Show.
Losing Alonso is an obvious hit to Buffalo's defense, but it can be overcome. The Bills are stacked with talent defensively, especially with their front-four, and the addition of Brandon Spikes serving at the linebacker position. Alonso will become a force for the Bills when he returns, but for this season, the Bills will need to excel without him, and they just might be prepared to do so.
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