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Bills Today: Preston Brown studied the 2016 Carolina defense

Posted Aug 16, 2017

Preston Brown did a little reconnaissance in the offseason when it came to head coach Sean McDermott's defensive scheme.


Here’s the Bills news of note for Aug. 16th. 

1 – Preston Brown studied Carolina’s 2016 defense
Fourth-year middle linebacker Preston Brown told the Howard Simon Show that he reached out to Luke Kuechly about the scheme coach Sean McDermott uses on defense. Kuechly played under McDermott while he was the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. Brown said he simply wanted to learn about his new coach.

“I just wanted to learn about coach and the things that he expects,” said Brown. “I wanted to know what he expects from his linebackers and his players, and how Kuechley played. You know, just learning things about how he was so successful.”

Brown said that he went back and watched film of the Panther’s defense from the past couple years. He said that he wanted to understand how the linebackers were successful in the scheme, and carried the unit. He said that he was impressed in how they diagnosed formations, and understood schemes. Brown said that being a middle linebacker means that he carries the responsibility of calling out formations, and making sure that his teammates understand their assignment.

Coming into training camp, Brown certainly had to prove that he was the best player for the middle linebacker position. Through camp, Brown has done just that. At no point has any teammate challenged Brown for his position on the first team.

Brown stated that he made a concerted effort to improve his habits off the field. Not only has he spent time trying to understand the new defense, but he has also improved his attention to detail on smaller things such as eating habits, and working in the weight room. So far in camp, Brown’s renewed effort has certainly been evident and paying huge dividends. 

2 – Leslie Frazier happy with defense’s progress
As training camp at St. John Fisher comes to a close, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said that he saw a big improvement in the play of the defense. Coming in with a new scheme, McDermott and Frazier started the arduous process of installing a new defense during OTA’s. On the Howard Simon Show, Frazier said everything is finally coming together.

“The communication has improved,” said Frazier. “Guys are starting to be able to finish your sentences often because they’re starting to understand the language now and how we want to do certain things. You see incremental improvement along the way that really shows you that they’re getting it. They’re making the progress they need to make.”

The Bills largely played a 3-4 scheme last season under Rex Ryan. McDermott and Frazier have worked to install a 4-3 defense this year. Although the defense is less complex, Frazier has preached that the unit needs to be aggressive. 

The Bills attacking and fast defense was on full display against the Vikings during the first preseason game. The Bills starting defense created consistent pressure and swarmed the ball carrier. Frazier stated that as the players start to understand the defense better, they will only get faster, as they become more confident in their role. 

3 – Peterman grades well in first preseason game
Bucky Brooks, of NFL.com, graded several player’s performance in their first preseason game. Brooks looked at the first NFL snaps of rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman. Entering the game in the third quarter, Peterman led the Bills offense effectively as the game waned.

Nathan Peterman, QB: The fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh continues to make a favorable impression on his teammates and coaches with his work on the field. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings, directing one 13-play, 79-yard TD drive that showcased his ability to manage the game. Peterman showed nice touch and anticipation as a rhythm passer, particularly on his 1-yard touchdown to Dezmin Lewis.

Brooks gave Peterman an overall grade of a B. In his first action in the NFL, Peterman looked calm and relaxed in the pocket. Not only was he effective through the air, the noted pocket passer also used his feet. Eluding pressure on many occasions, Peterman effectively led his unit down the field several times.

Although the offense was only able to score once while he was on the field, he certainly made an impression on the Bills coaching staff. Peterman has been taking snaps with the second team this week at camp, and will be the second quarterback in the game on Thursday.

If Peterman can play another solid game against the Eagles, he could cement his spot as the backup quarterback in 2017.