Bills linebacker A.J. Klein has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against the Chargers in Week 12. Klein posted a career-high 14 total tackles, which also led the team. The linebacker also racked up 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and one pass breakup against Los Angeles.
Klein is the third Bills player to win an AFC player of the week award in 2020 joining - Josh Allen (Week 2 and Week 9) and Jerry Hughes (Week 7).
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier thinks Klein's grasp on the defense has allowed him to shine.
"As we've gotten more comfortable with him and he's gotten more comfortable in our system, we've seen him play some much improved football," Frazier said. "That's a credit to A.J. just sticking with it and making himself available and then when his number is called, making those plays that are there for him to make."
Klein has had a productive November sacking the quarterback 4.5 times, which ranks second in the AFC during that time span. He is the only player in November with at least 30 tackles and 3.0 sacks in the AFC. Regardless of the stats he's putting up, Klein is looked at as one of the most intelligent players by his team.
"He's one of the smartest players on our team," Safety Micah Hyde said. "He's like a coach out there, we call him coach Klein because he's able to make adjustments, see things we're talking about out there. He's a great addition to our defense just because of what he's able to do.
"He can blitz, he can tackle. Just playing well you know, eighth year in the league, been to different teams and came here since day one and obviously learned our defense right away. Just a great asset for us. We love the way he's been playing and we appreciate the way he's been playing."
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The eight-year veteran has posted a sack in the last three games and double digit tackles in the last two games. Klein believes he producing at a higher level because of his mindset.
"For me I feel like I'm playing more freely, faster to react," Klein shared. "I'm not thinking as much. Obviously playing now at will linebacker, the rest of my career I've always played mike, so that's an adjustment. I'm not making any excuses for early in the season and my play, but I just feel like I'm playing fast. Trying to run around and make plays. I think the less I'm thinking, the more I'm reacting and just playing football and having fun."
Through 11 games Klein has 58 total tackles, 5.0 sacks, five tackles for loss, eight quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two passes defensed.