Thursday, August 15, 2013

AFC East journeyman shakes up Bills' LB corps


Linebacker Jamaal Westerman is set for another go-around in the AFC East, and he may already have a leg up on the competition.

The 28-year-old was picked up by the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, rejoining his former defensive coach after a three-year stint with the New York Jets. Westerman, who was also a Miami Dolphin last summer but was cut just before the 2012 season, will likely line up as a pass rusher at the outside linebacker position.

Familiarity with Mike Pettine's system will be a huge advantage for Westerman, with Chris Brown of estimating that the former Rutgers star could pick up the Bills' schematic in just a couple of days.

That's good news for Pettine and for Buffalo fans but potentially bad news for linebackers fighting for a roster spot. Brown noted bubble players such as Jamie Blatnick, Kourtnei Brown and Marcus Dowtin as those who could feel the pressure of Westerman's signing.

Westerman has tallied 53 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries in his five years in the league. His best year was in 2011 while with Pettine and the Jets, tallying 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. That was the only year in his brief pro career that Westerman has started all 16 games.

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