Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills: Behind Enemy Lines with Adam James
Question #4. Who is one under-the-radar player to watch on offense and defense for the Bills?
AJ: Forever a pre-draft crush of mine, I fainted when the Bills selected former All-American and John Mackey award recipient tight end Nick O’Leary in the 6th round in 2015. O’Leary has seen his share of snaps skyrocket to 50% this year, up from 35% last year.
The new regime has emphasized a desire for guys who simply love football, so it’s no surprise that O’Leary has been earning their respect. Despite having only two catches on three targets for 53 yards, watch for O’Leary to play a key role in run blocking and play action.
Should the Falcons focus their attention on the highly-targeted Clay, O’Leary, who averages 17 yards per catch during his career, might be able to slip free for a big play Sunday.
After signing a 4 year, $13 million contract this offseason, safety Jordan Poyer has gone from little-known to looking like one of the biggest steals in free agency. His pairing with Micah Hyde has allowed Coach McDermott to utilize the safeties in a variety of positions.
And for Poyer, results are showing at every level of the field. He’s already recorded two sacks, two tackles for loss, and an interception. It might not be much longer that Poyer can be referred to as “under-the-radar”.
MK: On offense, Buffalo is not going to sneak up on anyone with their personnel. They are going to do what they do, which is pound the rock with their All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy.
When defenses start to sink up to stop the run, that is when the Bills will take a few shots downfield. With no true deep threat at receiver, tight end Charles Clay may be the beneficiary of such targets.
As for the defense, there are a few candidates to go with but the one that stands out is free safety Jordan Poyer. Poyer signed with the Bills via the Cleveland Browns in free agency this offseason and early returns have been good.
If the Bills are going to have a shot containing the Falcons’ explosive plays, Jordan Poyer will be a big reason why.