Kiko Alonso torn his ACL back on July 1st. When the news came out it was an “Oh *&%!” moment. Who is going to be the guy to step in an fill our leading tackler, as a rookie, from last year.
The Bills did bring in some linebacker depth, mainly to plug up the middle and stop the run, of which they were in the bottom of the league for allowing 126 yards per game. Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers are not as mobile as Kiko so allowing Alonso to move throughout the middle of the defense, with Spikes and Rivers protecting the inside would have a been a decent model. Unfortunately, Alonso will not be in this lineup, at least for this year.
So far, Nigel Bradham has been the one that has gotten the nod at the weakside linebacker spot. Bradham played last year, for the most part, as the first man off the bench for Manny Lawson, Arthur Moats, and Alonso. Bradham showed promise last year and should be a good fit into this defensive linebacking corps.
Although getting the news was more of a devastating blow for Bradham as Alonso and Nigel are more like brothers than teammates.
“Huge part of the defense, leader of our defense, really. Signal caller, made tremendous plays. He’s actually one of the best linebackers in the league right now,” he said. “So for that to happen [to someone] who works so hard, it’s devastating, man. It really was.”
– WGR 550
The weakside linebacker spot is Bradham’s to lose. He has already been in this position once, and ruined it for himself. Last year, he made a bad decision and was basically shunned for most of the season by the coaching staff. Moats was the one that got the nod at the weakside, and never looked back, with help from the coaching staff. Bradham did finally make it back to the top of the depth chart and got to play in some games late in the season. It is all for him to lose, again.
“I had a couple off-the-field issues that kind of set me back, because a lot of stuff went on. But that was one of those things, I just had to grow up and learn from that,” Bradham said. “I feel like that kind of humbled me and got me back to the ground like how I was before all of that stuff.”
– WGR 550
Bradham will be challenged for the weakside linebacker spot, mainly by Preston Brown, but the Bills just signed Stevenson Sylvester as well that will compete for that spot. In my book, Bradham is the front runner for this spot, but he can’t look back and has to keep pressing forward.