3 Buffalo Bills to watch on defense against New York Jets in Week 1

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Terrel Bernard

Last year, the talk of the town was how the Bills drafted linebacker Terrel Bernard in the third round to be a backup. Here we are one year later and Bernard was just named the starting middle linebacker for week one. Bernard will have big shoes to fill in the wake of Tremaine Edmund’s departure.

Not only has Bernard been named the starter, he’s been given the green dot. The play calls will funnel in through him and he will be the leader. He saw very limited action as a rookie and it was evident that he had some growing pains. Towards the middle of training camp this summer, he began to pull away with the starting job, before hurting his hamstring and not appearing in any preseason games.

Now, Bernard will be tasked with a retooled Jets team led by Aaron Rodgers, in what will be his first career start at middle linebacker. The second-year linebacker playing well will be crucial. The Jets have great running backs in Dalvin Cook, and Breece Hall, so the run defense will need to be stout. Having All-Pro Matt Milano next to him will surely help.

In College, Bernard was known for his pass coverage skills, which will need to be sharp on Monday Night. If there is an opening or leak over the middle, Rodgers will find it and make you pay. Fortunately for Buffalo, in college, pass coverage was one of his strong suits. In 4 years at Baylor, Bernard totaled 317 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, three interceptions, seven passes defended, and three fumble recoveries. The Bills are expecting big things from Bernard and he will be a key player in Buffalo beating the Jets.