In the 2014 offseason it was quite evident that the Buffalo Bills were not happy with the state of their linebackers. Even with both Kiko Alonso and Nigel Bradham on the roster, the team signed two free agents with the mentality to start both of them.
The additions of Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers gave the Bills a starting combination — or so they thought. Before they set foot on the St. John Fisher College campus, the team learned that their best young linebacker would not be available to them in 2014.
Alonso suffered a torn ACL during an offseason workout in Oregon which left the Bills with just another question to answer at linebacker. They found the answer — at least for 2014 — in Bradham, a former fourth-round selection that has yet to crack the starting lineup consistently in his young career.
Midway through training camp, the Bills had yet another query to respond to with their lineup. Bradham, who was cited for a marijuana charge in August of 2013, finally received a suspension from the National Football League for his actions. Banned for the first game of the season, head coach Doug Marrone and defensive coordinator needed to come to a decision on which young player would be entrusted with the vacated responsibilities.
Barring any other setbacks, the Bills have found their man in rookie linebacker Preston Brown.
“Right from the beginning when we were in there, for me when I first watched the film, my impression was that this reminds me of Kiko last year,” Marrone said. “He’s a very good tackler, obviously. He has all those tackles and played very well.”
“It's something that I really probably didn't think of when I first got drafted,” Brown said of making his first start in the first game of his career. “I mean, I'm dreaming every night about the game so it's kind of like a big starting to set in right now that you're gonna be out there the first game.”
Brown won’t be filling in for Alonso and Bradham in the truest sense. The main responsibilities of that duo was as a weakside linebacker, but the Bills plan to utilize a more practiced hand at that specific spot with the veteran Rivers.
Instead, Brown, a bigger and stronger build of linebacker, will take Rivers’ usual role as the strongside linebacker against the Chicago Bears. He’s listed that way on the team’s unofficial depth chart, and he confirmed that it would indeed be his role on Sunday.
“It's more tight end based, but on the strongside of course,” Brown said of the differences. “Just being more physical on the tight end, make sure you set that edge on the strongside.”
It’s a big spot for a rookie on a team that believes they are close to contending for a postseason berth. While Brown admitted that he’s expecting some nervous energy, he also knows it will subside once the game finally gets underway.
“Yeah, it'll start building up,” Brown said of the anticipated bus ride over to Soldier Field. “I only get nervous right before kickoff, that's the big thing with me. I'm cool throughout the whole week right before the kickoff, when I get that first tackle, then I'm good to go.”
Due for a matchup against one of the toughest offensive opponents they’ll encounter all season, the Bills will surely need him to kick the normal rookie nerves to the curb — and quickly.
Brown and the Bills will take on the Bears Sunday at 1 pm.
Did anyone in the Queen City “Boobs” management staff watch the 2014 Seasonal Race for the Lombardi opener and witnessed the Seattle SEAHAWKS beat down of the upstart challenger Green Bay PACKERS? Did anyone in that staff pay attention, take notes to just exactly HOW a winning organization operates? Did a light bulb of understanding or realization get turned on somewhere within the blank empty minds of the current band of seriously football challenged leaders of One Bills Drive? Or were they once again in a self-induced stupor of deniability that they are the epitome of what a well-oiled machine is in the NFL? Look at any winning organization, at any level, in any line of work or trade and you can very quickly break it down for what it is… a Dynamic operation COMMITTED from the top echelon down to do the right thing for every facet connected to it. The Buffalo Sillies leadership miserably failed to grasp to understand that the decisions they make has a direct impact not only on the quality of product they want to be associated with, but the psyche on the immediate area is also affected by their decision making as well. From 1996, the decision making of the Bills senior level leadership has been non-existent. Since the turn of the new century 2000 they have to show only 81 wins for their football guru minds and efforts while vacuuming MILLIONS of dollars from the founding owner’s wallet for a very shoddy at best product. This band of idiots of One Bills Drive have miss-managed this organization so badly that ONLY 3 bidders were willing to humiliate themselves in public to try and buy it. 3???? THIS IS AN NFL FRANCHISE, worth hundreds of millions in profits and yet only 3 offers have been committed. This is proof evidence as to exactly how badly it has been operated or managed by the Clowns of One Bills Drive. To make it even worse and have the proverbial salt openly rubbed into an open wound, the FORMER NBA Buffalo Braves out performed them with a $2 BILLION dollar bid????? Committment to build a winner means determination is the base root for success. Determined to make it right, stay focused and never be willing to waiver. I can only hope and pray that the new owner will absolutely clean house at One Bills Drive at every level of management, instill a new dream, resurect the old pride, a goal and a course of action and start building a dominant winning organization that the area can truly be proud of and no longer have to hold their heads in shame and face the sympathy of others when they say they are from the Western NY region.
brown will do just fine thankyou.
What we are looking for is our defense to be all over the culter. If that happens and culter is on his back the whole game. it wont matter what brown has to do but stop the run. I rather think positive of our game plan than negative of it. The bills knowthey cant afford for any qb that they face. just stand in the pocket and tear us up. Not even bradey. Lets go ruff buff.
I hope Brown does well- so well that he takes that spot for the rest of the season- Nigel Bradham does not deserve to be on this team - didn't he have a problem last year? and now this year? he might have the tools to play but no brains- find players who want to play and play along with the responsibilities of a Professional Football Player
Had the stop for weed in the summer of 2013 and charges were dropped. He had no more problems and the coach actually commended him for being more mature and more of a pro with taking his job more seriously. The league did not suspend him for that incident last year so they decided to suspend him this year for last year's incident even though it was dismissed by the courts. Bradham appealed to the NFL but lost. Bradham is becoming a good LB and I want him and kiko to start on the outside LB spots next year and spike inthe middle. Bradham and kiko are our most athletic LB's onthe team and I think in the nickle they would be great as well.