1. Kevin Johnson shares a special moment with his father
Kevin Johnson recorded the highlight play of the game for the Bills defense on Friday. Johnson picked off Carolina Panthers quarterback Will Grier and returned it 70 yards to score and give Buffalo a 17-0 lead.
“We were just in defensive coverage,” Johnson said “I was just kind of playing the situation of the game and just broke on the ball. I ended up making a play on it and just tried to take it to the house.”
Johnson ran to the end zone untouched. With the ball in his hands, instead of celebrating with his teammates he decided to run over to someone close to him.
“My pops. I just gave my pops the ball in the stands. Him coming out here, supporting me and watching the game. I just wanted to give that to him,” Johnson said.
Johnson has roots near Charlotte. He grew up in Clarksville, Maryland and attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Going to Wake Forest is how he caught the attention on head coach Sean McDermott when he was on the Panthers staff as defensive coordinator.
Johnson seems to be locked into the third cornerback role and will be backing up Levi Wallace and Tre’Davious White on the outside this season. Johnson said the following about his mindset moving forward.
“I think I just remain the same player that I am. I’m confident every day I go out there on the field.”
2. Young players impress this Bills veteran
Lorenzo Alexander has spent more than a decade in the NFL. He’s been around so long that he’s been aptly named “Uncle Zo” by his teammates. Alexander is coming up on the tail end of his career and has stated how he wants to retire a Buffalo Bill. Part of his legacy will be how he passes the reigns over to the young players of the Bills defense.
“I think that’s credit to Brandon Beane and what his team has done as far as collecting talent over the years they’ve been here,” Alexander said about production from younger players. “Drafting well, obviously scouting well, with the free agents we’ve brought in and just adding talent, as well as guys that have high character. Just come in, fit well, work hard, and play to the way that we want to.”
Alexander himself played well in his first preseason action after not playing Week 1 against Indianapolis.
“The big thing for us is not taking these opportunities for granted. Even as a guy with 15 years, anytime I get to go out and compete and do something that I love, I want to put on a good show. I want to be passionate about it. I don’t want to be passive,” Alexander said.
3. Captain Munnerlyn speaks highly of his new teammates
Captain Munnerlyn has played the majority of his career with the Carolina Panthers. After being released by them during training camp he found himself back less than a week later at Wofford College for joint practices with the Buffalo Bills. Except this time he was wearing a different shade of blue.
Munnerlyn only played a handful of snaps during the Bills’ preseason victory against the Panthers but that didn’t deter him from speaking highly of his new teammates.
“It’s a team effort, Munnerlyn said. “We played as a team today, and we won as a team today. All the credit goes to my team. Without them the touchdown wouldn’t have been possible. The catches wouldn’t have been possible, nor the blocks. We played good on all three phases, and that’s what it was.”
Munnerlyn admitted that he’s now the “old guy” on defense and now needs to help out the “young pups” the Bills have.
“There’s a lot of old guys on the defense, and I’m familiar with the defense,” Munnerlyn said. “I was in that defense for a lot of years and I think I’m capable of helping out a lot of guys on this defense. I’m just glad I’m here, and able to still play the game that I love.”