Buffalo Bills: Ronald Darby proves he’s up to the task


After an up-and-down preseason, Ronald Darby shows he belongs in the Buffalo Bills secondary

The Buffalo Bills entered the new campaign with arguably their best roster, since they last made the playoffs in 1999. However, that didn’t mean they were without question marks at several positions.

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One such position was cornerback. With Leodis McKelvin expected to miss the first six weeks of the season, Ronald Darby was asked to fill the hole.

After an up-and-down preseason, there were some understandable concerns. Among them, was the rookie’s apparent inability to locate the ball when it was in the air.

This criticism was nothing new, going back to Darby’s time at Florida State. However, whereas he was able to make up for this achilles heel with his speed, this was not going to cut it when moving up to the professional level.

It was a given that quarterbacks were going to test the 21-year old. Putting him under even more pressure, was the fact he would have to play a lot of man-to-man coverage in Rex Ryan’s blitz-heavy scheme.

Ultimately, there was nothing to worry about, at least if the first game against the Colts is anything to go by. Against one of the best quarterbacks in the game, Darby came through with flying colors.

Sep 13, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills free safety Aaron Williams (23) celebrates his fourth quarter interception against the Indianapolis Colts at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Colts 27 to 14. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 second round draft pick finished with six tackles – including five solo – and two pass defenses, despite dealing with cramps. Most impressive of all, he picked off a pass by Andrew Luck, which turned out to be a key moment in the game.

(Ironically, this play appeared to answer the number one concern about Darby, who was initially beaten off the line by T.Y. Hilton. He recovered well, to locate the underthrown ball in the air.)

Yes, the Bills defense had already caused the Colts to punt the ball away twice, but there were still questions as to how much longer they could stifle Luck and the offense. In the end, Darby’s pick led to Buffalo scoring the first points of the game, and they never looked back.

Speaking to Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News, along with the rest of the media, Darby sounded remarkably level-headed after the game: “I have to come each week.

“This is Week 1 of 16 games. So I want to stay consistent, keep making plays for my team and go out there and compete.”

This humble attitude was in stark contrast to his confidence on the field. After breaking up a pass on the Bills first defensive series of the game, the Oxon Hill, Maryland native turned to the Colts bench and signaled the incompletion.

Aaron Williams, who also had an interception, was happy to see this reaction, as he told Dunne: “I want my young guys to have that kind of attitude. Even if he gets beat, still have an attitude.

“We don’t ever want our opponents to see us down in a drought. Once they see that, it’s a wrap.”

Overall, Darby is fully prepared for what to expect moving forward: “Each week I’m going to get tested due to the fact that I’m a rookie, but I trust my team. I know I’m going to make mistakes at times, but I’m going to continue to get better.”

Next: Bills vs Colts: The good, the bad and the ugly

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