Can Terrel Bernard be the leader the Buffalo Bills defense needs in Week 1?

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

When the Buffalo Bills officially lost linebacker Tremaine Edmunds to the Chicago Bears in free agency, this left uncertainty as to who would be helping command the defense from the middle.

Heading into training camp, the headline as to who would see the most reps in the middle of the defense was Tyrel Dodson vs Terrel Bernard. Both players battled it out leading up to the first preseason game. The competition took a sudden turn when Bernard suffered a hamstring injury that kept him out the entire preseason, which opened the door for Dodson to lock up the position. 

Dodson missed out on a big opportunity to secure the position with an underperforming preseason. Without any true competition up against him, Dodson could not be named the starter. Without playing a down in the preseason, Bernard was named the starter by Sean McDermott. 

Bernard now finds himself as a player that fans should keep an eye on when the Bills’ defense is on the field. Going up against a new revamped Jets offense, Bernard will be able to show why he was named the starter without seeing any on-the-field action in the preseason.

Unlike Dodson, Bernard provides versatility in which he can play coverage as well as go sideline-to-sideline much like Tremaine Edmunds. Now, is Bernard the athlete that Edmunds is? As of now, he is not but that can change throughout the course of the season. 

The second-year linebacker gets his second start of his career but will now be more involved in the defense than last season. He will be tested right out of the gate against not only a hopeful passing attack led by Aaron Rodgers but also a run game that has Dalvin Cook and second-year back Breece Hall. 

Look for Bernard to try and take control of the defense and replace the big shoes that the Bills currently have. Will that change after Monday night? This matchup will show the Bills what they have moving forward with Bernard.

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