The Buffalo Bills’ linebackers have been exceptional after four games this season. One of them has even had his name thrown in the MVP race thus far — Jerry Hughes.
There’s no doubt that the linebacker crew for the Buffalo Bills has been hounding opposing defenses so far this season. That group includes Preston Brown, Zach Brown, Jerry Hughes, Lorenzo Alexander and even Ramon Humber at times.
In a recent article by Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, he listed his top-MVP candidates after the first quarter of the season. Although no Bills’ players cracked the top-10, one did find his way into the ‘special mention’ category — Jerry Hughes.
Hughes has been one of the more fearsome outside rushers this season and making it onto Wesseling’s list only proves that point. Drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2010 with the 31st overall pick, Jerry Hughes joined Buffalo in a trade with the Colts in 2013 for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.
The Bills easily got the better of the trade, as Sheppard has bounced around from team to team since the trade, struggling to make a name for himself.
In the past three years for Buffalo, Hughes has totaled 151 tackles (105 solo), 24.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. He has been an outstanding part of this defense and has certainly accumulated a lot of love from Bills’ fans over the past few years.
His excellence is continuing this season, as we are seeing an even more dominant Hughes on the outside.
Through four games, he has totaled 16 tackles (12 solo) and 4.0 sacks. He is on pace for 16 sacks this year, which would obliterate his previous season record of 10.0 — which he set with the Bills in his first season with team (2013).
I think one of the most impressive things about his stats this year are the amount of yards he cost the opposing offense off his sacks. With four sacks, he has caused a total of 38 yards lost. That means he is sacking the quarterback for nearly 10 yards each game this season.
Looking back at Wesseling’s list, Hughes is just one of three linebackers that were honored — with Von Miller being the only one in the top-10, coming in at No. 1. Let’s compare Hughes’ season to Miller’s season so far.
In four games this season, Miller has totaled 16 tackles (11 solo), 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble. With similar tackle numbers, Miller has 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble more than Hughes this season. That’s not too far off from the best linebacker in the game and also the linebacker that is listed as this year’s top-MVP candidate.
Also important to note: Von Miller has cost opposing offenses a total of 35 yards for his 5.5 sacks. Hughes has him beat in that category, meaning his sacks are far more damaging to the offense.
While we are talking about it, we might as well throw Zach Brown and Lorenzo Alexander into the same conversation because they have been tearing it up this season as well.
Brown leads the league in tackles with 51 (34 solo) and has also forced two fumbles and one sack in his first year with the Buffalo Bills. He has been the most consistent player on this Bills’ defense, notching 10+ tackles in the past three games — which included 18 against the Patriots last Sunday.
Zach Brown was also noticed as last week’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo Alexander has quickly made a name for himself in Buffalo after spending last season with the Oakland Raiders. He has already surpassed all of his stats that he accumulated with the Raiders last season, as he has totaled 21 tackles (13 solo), 4.0 sacks and two forced fumbles of his own.
We should be grateful that we get to see one of the best linebacker groups in the league every week. These guys sure do know how to terrorize an offense and that should continue vs. the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
The game is set to kick off at 4:25, which means we all get to enjoy some extra time during the day.
At this point, it’s not a matter of whether our linebackers will get a sack vs. the Rams. It’s more a matter of how many they will get. What’s your prediction? I’m saying 3 (Hughes, Alexander, P. Brown). Leave your comments below!