Buffalo Bills: Report card for the defense halfway through the 2020 season

Buffalo Bills (Syndication: The Record)
Buffalo Bills (Syndication: The Record) /
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Buffalo Bills
Sep 27, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) in action against the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Linebackers: C

This grade is more of an indictment on A.J. Klein and Tremaine Edmunds more than it is on Matt Milano who, if we were grading individually, would get a respectable ‘B+’ on the season.

Due to the fact that Milano has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries, Edmunds and Klein have been the predominant names at the position. Though players like Tyrel Dodson have stepped in, the two aforementioned have provided a large enough sample size to grade their performance.

Along with the concerns coming out of the defensive line, those same concerns can be echoed in the play of the Bills’ linebackers. Coming off a Pro Bowl nomination, Edmunds has not seemed like the same player and it is even safe to say he has regressed. Though this can be largely due to the fact that he could be dealing with some injuries, there are certain expectations that a middle linebacker must meet and to this point in the season, Edmunds is not there.

When comparing the play of A.J. Klein to Edmunds, Tremaine looks like the second coming of Ray Lewis as Klein has been an utter liability on the field.

Klein is another one of those players from the Carolina Panthers tree that Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have gone to. While in Carolina, he posted subpar stats. Recording four sacks, 16 TFLs and four forced fumbles, he was able to sign on with the New Orleans Saints following his release.

There, his play took a step forward but has since come crashing down with Buffalo. To his credit, he was not brought in to be a starting linebacker. His role was predicted to be a special teams/ depth player but when you are earning $18 million over three years, more production is needed if Milano continues to be in and out of the lineup.

The Bills have since signed former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, Darron Lee to help improve this unit. The former first-round pick by the New York Jets has recorded three career interceptions, four sacks and 17 TFLs.