Buffalo Bills: The only way is up for Ronald Darby


Things can only get better for Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby

As the Buffalo Bills celebrated their win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, not everyone was able to enjoy the result. In fact, for one player, it was downright painful.

More from Buffalo Bills News

In what could be considered an understatement, Ronald Darby endured a personal nightmare against the Steelers. While everyone knew the rookie would be targeted, no one expected the results to be so bad.

The 2015 second round draft pick was twice flagged for pass interference penalties. Even worse, he was burned on a 63-yard completion to Martavis Bryant, after being unable to locate the ball.

As has been pointed out by various scouts, it is this lack of awareness which is Darby’s biggest weakness. He might have been able to get away with it in college – thanks in large part to his excellent speed – but that isn’t enough at the professional level.

Unsurprisingly, the 21-year old was in a somber mood, when speaking to the media after the game: “I feel like I played bad, of course…I’m young. Everything’s new to me.”

Darby has had an up and down preseason so far. This included a baptism of fire on his professional debut against the Carolina Panthers, just two weeks earlier.

Aug 20, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby (28) is tackled by Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin (11) at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers made a point of targeting the Oxonhill, Maryland native. At one stage, they threw at him four straight times to start the second half.

In particular, Darby’s struggles against Carolina were highlighted by two long pass completions; a 38 yard catch by veteran Ted Ginn and a 34-yard effort by rookie Devin Funchess. In fairness, the passes were pinpoint, but it still put the rookie firmly in the spotlight.

The following week, Darby had a much more successful outing against the Cleveland Browns. He finished the evening with two interceptions, which proved extremely beneficial to a Bills offense that managed only 11 points.

Despite being understandably upset, the 2014 BCS National Champion is determined to bounce back from the Steelers game: “I’m going to catch onto it. Mistakes are going to happen. I’m going to keep competing.”

While this competitive spirit is to be applauded, Darby’s need to develop has only been further hastened by Stephon Gilmore‘s injury against Pittsburgh. The Bills will already likely be without Leodis McKelvin for the start of the season, so they’re keeping their fingers crossed that Gilmore will recover in time.

Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News spoke to linebacker Manny Lawson about Darby: “He has to work on his craft. He has to work on being a cornerback.

“He has to pull corners aside, talk to them and find out what works for him, what’s his niche, what can he do, and how he can improve.”

Strong safety Aaron Williams also discussed Darby with Dunne, complimenting his even temperament when things go wrong. Overall, Williams has no concerns about his beleaguered teammate: “He’s going to be a hell of a player.”

Next: Fred Jackson makes his point against the Steelers

More from BuffaLowDown