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Bills Today: Bruce Smith: Edmunds is only going to get better


1 - Bruce Smith: Edmunds is only going to get better

The Bills are no stranger to dominant defensive players out of Virginia Tech.

Bruce Smith is arguably the best defensive player in NFL history. Throughout his 15-years in Buffalo, Smith tallied 1,054 tackles and 171 sacks. He appeared in the Pro Bowl 11 times throughout his stint with the Bills, earning NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1990 and 1996.

While rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds hasn't reached that level of dominance quite yet, he's certainly on the right track. Edmunds currently leads the team in tackles with 38. Thus far this season, Edmunds is the only player in the NFL who has recorded at least 35 tackles, five pass deflections, and two forced fumbles.

Smith has been impressed with what he has seen from Edmunds thus far. During a recent appearance on 'One Bills Live,' Smith praised his fellow Hokie, saying that the already talented linebacker is only going to grow as his career progresses.

"He's a smart young man," Smith said. "He has a great build of talent. He is only going to get better. Once it really clicks, and maybe that's five more games, maybe it's another year, but he is continuously getting better, and that's what you want, particularly out of your first-round draft pick. This man is full of talent."

Edmunds appreciated Smith's comments.

"It means a whole lot," Edmunds said. "But like I always say, it falls back on me going out there and getting the job done, simple as that. It means a whole lot man. Like I said, he's been around. I went to Tech, so he's been around. He's seen me play a couple of times. A guy like that saying something like that just means a lot to me."

2 - Anderson preparing Allen for a Romeo Crennel defense

The Bills brought veteran quarterback Derek Anderson in to mentor Josh Allen.

Buffalo's top executives have a great deal of confidence in the seasoned vet, as both head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane watched Anderson mentor Cam Newton in Carolina. The two hope that the 35-year-old will help their prospective franchise passer develop into a player of Newton's caliber.

Anderson hasn't even been with the team for a full week, but he has already started to pass his knowledge on to Allen.

Anderson has some familiarity with Buffalo's Week 6 opponent, the Houston Texans. Though he never played for the team, he has worked with Houston defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel in the past.

Crennel was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2005-2008. In Cleveland, Crennel coached Anderson, who started 27 games for the Browns throughout the coach's stint with the team. The duo led the Browns to an impressive 10-6 record in 2007.

Anderson remembers some of the strategies that Crennel deployed on defense, and he has passed that information along to Allen this week.

"Obviously you can look back to when [Crennel] called it before, and he's kind of stayed the same guy over the course of his career," Anderson said. "That's why we go in there every day and try to find the pieces and what he's doing now. Yeah, there's bits and pieces, and I'd say some things that I remember him speaking on in front of the team that are his core philosophies. Which is like Sean [McDermott], being around Sean and listening to him coach our defense the time he was with [Carolina], I gained a lot of knowledge from him."

3 - PFF dubs Matt Milano a 'secret superstar'

To say that Matt Milano was a draft steal would be a bit of an understatement. Instead, one could say that Sean McDermott pulled off a grand heist.

In his first draft at the helm of the Bills, McDermott had a hand in selecting Milano in the fifth round. The Boston College linebacker was originally looked at as a versatile, but raw defender who could be a solid contributor on special teams straight away.

Milano quickly shed this label, winning the team's starting job at weak side linebacker midway through his rookie season. Milano finished his rookie campaign with 49 tackles, two pass deflections, and one interception.

Milano has carried this momentum into his sophomore campaign, as he has been one of Buffalo's standout defenders thus far in the 2018 season. Through five games, the 24-year-old has recorded 34 tackles, one interception and one sack.

Pro Football Focus has been impressed with Milano's play thus far this season. PFF writer Neil Hornsby dubbed the sophomore a "secret superstar" in a recent article.

His only poor outing so far has come against the Packers (48.6 grade) and outside of that, he's graded no lower than a 71.5. Some issues with tackling aside (eight missed tackles), he's been solid in run defense, graded well in coverage, picked up four pressures blitzing and ranks as our 11th overall linebacker. He just needs to maintain this level of play and improve his tackling to become one of the more well-rounded linebackers in the game.

According to PFF, Milano is coming off his best game of the season, earning an overall grade of 80.4 in Week 5.

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