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Bills Today: Decision to return to Bills an easy one for Humber


Here's the Bills news of note for Feb. 23rd.

**1. Decision to return to Bills an easy one for Humber


Ramon Humber didn't need much convincing to return to the Buffalo Bills.

The veteran linebacker and key special teams contributor appeared on the John Murphy Show Tuesday to discuss why he re-signed with the team and his familiarity with several new coaches that Sean McDermott brought in.

"A desire for change," Humber said. "With a new coaching staff, it's going to be a different culture and I'm up for the challenge to see what the culture is going to be like compared to the last three that I've been around pretty much the last three years. A culture is going to build a team."

Humber is confident in that new culture because of his past experiences with many of the assistant coaches.

Buffalo's new linebackers coach Bob Babich was Humber's head coach at North Dakota State, and he also played with Babich's son, Bobby, who is the Bills new assistant defensive backs coach.

Humber said that he also had several conversations with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier when Frazier was the head coach of the Vikings as he was trying to recruit Humber to come play in Minnesota. That familiarity doesn't make him worried for the switch in scheme on defense.

"You can fit into any scheme, it's all about the want to," Humber said. "I don't think size matters. Schemes do matter for certain players, but it's the want and will to beat a block, to even get open. I like the 4-3 system a lot better than the 3-4, but I think you have to understand your players and what they're capable of doing."

Humber also noted how comfortable he is with special teams coach Danny Crossman and what the veteran coach has been able to establish in Buffalo.

"I feel comfortable with him (Crossman), and I feel comfortable with the scheme that he tries to develop for us each week," Humber said. "He allows each special teams player to develop and go out there and do their thing. I think Danny has developed a good culture around that special teams locker room. Guys enjoy it, guys go out there and fly around and have fun for each other."

Humber, a nine-year veteran, led the Bills with 12 special teams tackles in 2016.

2. Watkins named as Buffalo's most underrated player

Sammy Watkins may not be the first name that comes to mind when you're thinking about Buffalo's most underrated player.

However, Matt Williamson of The Score picked Watkins as part of his piece on each AFC team's most underrated player and outlined his reasoning.

"Usually these spots would be reserved for lesser-known players," Williamson wrote. "But because he has missed so much time with injury, the general public doesn't fully appreciate what a difference maker Watkins is when he is not only on the field, but at 100 percent, something we just haven't seen nearly enough of thus far. The Bills need Watkins … badly."

Watkins has missed 11 games over the previous two seasons, and the Bills offense certainly doesn't have the same explosiveness when the 23-year-old is not on the field. When he has been able to line up, Watkins has some of the best numbers in the league.

After being drafted by the Bills fourth overall in 2014, Watkins has 153 receptions for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns in just 37 games played. He is also in the top 10 of both yards per catch with 16.1 and yards at catch with 12.47 since he entered the league.

Watkins was the only wide receiver to make Williamson's list of underrated players in the AFC.

3. Zach Brown a hot commodity in free agency

Zach Brown's breakout 2016 season with the Bills is going to make him a hot commodity in free agency.

Pro Football Focus rated Brown as the second-best available linebacker in free agency; the 27-year-old had a grade of 84.1 in 2016.

"A player that started the 2016 on fire, Brown struggled down the stretch as he graded positively in just two of his final eight games after doing so in all of his first eight games," John Kosko of PFF wrote. "Brown has posted back to back above-average-graded seasons in coverage and graded well against the run for the first time in his career in 2016. Fourth amongst all ILBs with 38 run stops, Brown showed potential for becoming a complete LB but considering his late-season decline and never doing so in any other season, there will be concern, which could lower his market value."

Even if Brown tapered off at the tail end of the year, his career season earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl and a Second-team All-Pro selection. His 149 tackles were tied for the fifth-most by a Bill in a single season since 1994, and the second-most in the NFL in 2016.

Brown was a force in all aspects of defense, with four sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception on the season. He was one of four AFC East linebackers to make PFF's list, and only Dont'a Hightower and Perry Riley graded higher than him out of all free agent linebackers.

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