Buffalo Bills: Jordan Phillips talks about where Ed Oliver has improved

Ed Oliver, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Ed Oliver, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills brought back two former players on the defensive line this offseason by signing defensive end Shaq Lawson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Both players left after the 2019 season in free agency with Lawson signing with the Miami Dolphins and Phillips signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

It makes sense for the Bills to want to bring both players back and for both players to want to return as they had their best seasons in Buffalo. In 2019, Phillips had 9.5 sacks and was a big part of the team’s pass rush.

That season, he also was playing alongside Ed Oliver, who was in his rookie season after Buffalo drafted him ninth overall. The rookie season was up and down for Oliver but as the years have gone on, he has become a key part of this defensive line and making an impact on this team.

Jordan Phillips notes one big difference for Ed Oliver in his return to the Buffalo Bills

There may not be a better player to ask what has changed for Oliver than Jordan Phillips, who played with him as a rookie and has now returned. After OTAs last week, Phillips noted one key difference in Oliver that has helped his play on the field:

"“I think Ed’s matured a lot and I think that’s what has helped his game the most. He’s always known that he’s gonna be a top guy who’s picked number nine overall for a reason and now his maturity with the way he plays and the way he’s understanding the game is what’s helping him.”"

As Phillips notes, Ed Oliver has always had the physical attributes to be a top defensive tackle in this league. He is a bit smaller but has excellent quickness and explosiveness that allows him to make plays on the other side of the line of the scrimmage.

However, with the experience and maturity that Phillips notes, he has increased the rate at which he makes those plays. In 2019, he had five tackles for a loss, which increased to six in 2020, and this past season it jumped again to 10.

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The Buffalo Bills essentially completely overhauled the defensive tackle position with Ed Oliver being the only player returning from last year’s roster at the position. He should be a leader for this group and this season is setting up to be one of the best in his career.