Being a sixth round draft pick last year from a D-1AA school (James Madison), few expected Arthur Moats to get a lot of meaningful time on the field on defense during his rookie year. He was excited to make it to the NFL and just wanted to find a place where he could contribute. After switching from the inside line backer position to the outside, the Bills and Moats believe they have found a role for him.
Playing defensive end in college, Moats had great success, earning the Buck Buchanon Award, given to the best defensive player in the FCS. Being undersized for the position in the NFL, the Bills moved him to linebacker and he believes his experience at JMU will help him.
"I feel more comfortable doing it from a pass rushing standpoint," he said of playing outside as opposed to inside linebacker. "There were certain packages in college where I stood up. I just have to learn a little bit more about the blitzes we got, but other than that I feel real comfortable."
Head coach Chan Gailey realizes the Bills have struggled so far with getting a consistent pass rush on opposing quarterbacks and understands how important a good pass rush is to the overall success of the defense.
""Well that's the one thing that we've got to do a better job of is pressuring the passer," Gailey said. "I think that we've got to do better when we rush four. We've got to do better when we rush five and six. It's not just one thing that's creating a lack of pass rush for us right now."
Gailey knows how versatile a player Moats can be for the Bills and wants to utilize his skill set as a fast player that can put pressure on the quarterback.
"That was our plan to work him inside and then move him to outside because he is a good pass rusher off the corner," Gailey said. "I think he'll end up being outside for us."
When he asked Moats to make the change to OLB in order to try to get a better pass rush, he welcomed the opportunity with open arms.
"I was very positive about it," said Moats. "As far as anything I can do to help the team, if that's my position, I'm ready to learn."
Another Bill who had to make a similar change is Chris Ellis. He thinks that Moats has an advantage and can help out the defense.
"The stuff we are asking him to do, he doesn't have to be a large guy for it," Kelsay said. "He definitely has an advantage because he is used to some of the pass rushes and the schemes and stuff like that."
With a new coach still trying to find that right combination of players to help production on both sides of the ball, Moats knows this could be a big moment for him to prove to the coaching staff what he can bring to the table.
"I'm definitely excited about it," Moats said. "If I get the opportunity to actually get in this week and hopefully make some plays then by all means, I definitely want to take advantage of the opportunity. If I can make a great impact on coach Gailey and he tells me he wants to play even more, that would be even better."
The Bills defense faces an offense in the New York Jets that mostly focuses on the run, ranking 26th in passing and 9th in rushing. Moats knows that the Jets have a great running game, but is capable of putting up good passing numbers as well.
"I know they're going to run the ball. They've got three great backs," he said. "They also have good receivers, were looking for a real balanced attack and we've got to do what we've got to do."