Friday, February 1, 2013

Barnett ready to get aggressive in Bills' new defense


As a 10-year veteran and former Super Bowl champ, Buffalo Bills linebacker Nick Barnett is pretty comfortable with any role he's assigned in a defensive system.

But that's not to say that he doesn't have a preference. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

Under former defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, Barnett moved into the "Will" role of the 4-3 scheme for the first time in his career. To nobody's surprise, Barnett turned out to be a bright spot in the Bills' shaky front, leading the team in total tackles with 112.

“The Will in a 4-3 is not known for making as many tackles and impact plays as the Mike,” Barnett told Patrick Moran of Buffalo Sports Daily this week. “You have to play a lot slower on runs away from you, being you are the one that has to prevent cut backs by the running back. In 2011, I was a little freer to make plays when we were in our base.”

Barnett told Moran he prefers the Mike position in the 4-3 and the weak, inside spot in 3-4, but that he'll play anywhere as long as it leads to wins. Newly-appointed defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has said he doesn't subscribe to strictly picking one formation or the other, and that his defensive scheme will be a hybrid of the two, one that's built on speed and pressure.

For Barnett, that's something he can get behind.

“His body of work speaks for itself,” Barnett said of Pettine. “I am all about dominating and anytime you can do that at this level is impressive. He wants us to be aggressive and dominate. When you have the type of resume he has, guys buy into whatever you’re preaching and teaching.”

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