Examining the Bills secondary by position: Safeties


The Safety position for the Buffalo Bills is one of their strongest positions on the team. They team has two starters who are very good and one who is currently a defensive player of the year candidate so far this season in George Wilson at the Strong Safety position. The other starter is the Free Safety Jairus Byrd. the other 3 Safeties on the 53 man roster are Bryan Scott, Da’Norris Searcy, and the recently added from the practice squad Josh Nesbitt. Lets take a look at each player and their performance so far this season.

George Wilson- Wilson was a WR that converted to Safety after injuries hit the team a  few years back and then coach Dick Jauron talked with him about the change and Wilson embraced it and has not looked back. The number one reason he has been so successful in the switch and has excelled is his football IQ. He is one of the hardest working players on this team. The guy watches a TON of film and understands what is going on. Another reason for his success is after playing WR in college and on the practice squad at the NFL level, he knows receivers tendencies when they are running routes. 2 seasons ago in 2009 he eclipsed the 100 tackle mark had 2 sacks and 4 INT’s. The next season he still registered 2 INT’s but only had 35 tackles as the team was giving Donte Whitner his last chance with the team. Wilson was quickly re signed in the off season to a 3 year 7.05 million dollar contract. Folks that contract to which Wilson is only receiving 1.025 million this season off has turned out to be the best value signing the bills made in the off season. On pace to shatter 100 tackles and already after 10 games has 4 INT’s Wilson is the best SS in the division this season and one of the best in the NFL this season as well. PRO’s- 2 say it all for this man… Intelligence, Work ethic (no one works harder or has a higher football IQ on this team). CON’s- not the fastest safety. Grade- A+

Jairus Byrd- The Byrd man broke out his rookie season with 9 INT’s and showed off his ball hawking skills. Last season though he did not tally any where near the number of big plays what he did do is showed he is a more than capable tackler in this new defensive system. Last season he doubled his tackles added a sack and 3 FF which really showed another nice dimension to his game. this season Byrd has put it all together so far with over 60 tackles already a sack 2 FF and 2 INT’s already after only 10 games. PRO’s- Ball skills, Athleticism, football IQ, capable tackler. CON’s- Folks i am going to give him 1 and its one he is over coming with his play last year and so far this year and that is Size. Grade- A

Bryan Scott- A Penn St. grad who had a few solid NFL years to his credit before getting to Buffalo Scott has become an interesting player. Scott was brought in as a Safety but was forced to play some LB a couple years ago after an injury to Keith Ellison when the Bills where a Cover 2 scheme. Scott getting that time at LB help resurrect his career. What he showed is that he can play physical in the box and at the line of scrimmage. So is Scott a LB or a SS now? the answer is he is what Chan Gailey loves! a HYBRID! a jack of all trades. In Nickle situations he allows the bills to have 3 corners and 3 safeties on the field as he can line up at LB and play in the passing lanes and fans it has worked well for him. Last season as he was brought into this role he registered 39 tackles 3 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries in his hybrid role. This season he has broke out in his role with 41 tackles 1 sack 2 INT’s 1 for a TD through 10 games. What you have to remember is that he does not play every down. to have these numbers in his specially designed role is pretty exciting for the Bills and one of the more exciting things happening for this defense. PRO’s- Physical run defender, good ball skills, Instinctive. CON’s- Slow for a DB, cannot get deep on the big play. Grade- B+

Da’Norris Searcy- One of a couple North Carolina players drafted by the Bills. Searcy recorded his first career INT in his second career NFL game against the Raiders which sealed the win for Buffalo. Searcy has not been on the field a ton so far and most his work has come on special teams. Da’Norris is a thumper. He is a big physical safety whom the Bills want to be an asset on run downs in the box. Searcy has also should he is a very good special teams player. PRO’s- Quick for his size, good ball skills. CON’s- Not a quick learner, needs assess quicker during the play (perfect example is the ball that should have been batted down which became luckily his 1st career INT). Grade- B (This grade is also based on special teams play)

Josh Nesbitt- The last Safety we are going to look at ironically is the last starting QB Gailey coached at Georgia Tech. Nesbitt has yet to get on the field in a regular season game. What he brings though is versatility and if you want to stick on a Gailey coached team and you are not great at one position then you better be good at a couple of them. Nesbitt will be used as a Safety, Special teamer, KR/PR, and don’t be surprised if you see him take a couple reverses or hand offs or wild cat snaps. Remember Deon Sanders was never listed on game day as a WR but still lined up as one a few times in his career. Gailey knows how to use this kid and will try to get him some action somehow to see if he is a player at this level or not. Grade- NA (No game time, No rating)

Buffalo Bills fans your starting two Safeties are going to be just that for the foreseeable future. I have no doubt that Byrd will be extended in due time and Wilson is already in the plans for two more years beyond this season. This is a deep and solid group and honestly in a whole it is probably the deepest in the whole NFL. The best part is it will be together for awhile as Scott will be easy to keep around if the team wants to retain him after the season.