Thursday, April 24, 2014

Searcy: Fluidity a must in modern day safety game


The Buffalo Bills' safety corps was top-notch last season.

Its top two contributors, Aaron Williams and the Jairus Byrd, combined for eight interceptions and a sack. Jim Leonhard and Da'Norris Searcy, role players that ended up seeing a nearly equal amount of snaps, added another five picks and 3.5 sacks.

With Byrd gone and Leonhard unsigned, however, it's step-up time for Searcy. As he sees it, he should be able to slide right into a starting role.

While Searcy was listed at strong safety last season, he position isn't as set in stone currently, and that's how he likes it. In his conversation with John Murphy of earlier this week, the 25-year-old said there needs to be fluidity between both players in the backfield in order for the unit to be successful.

"Both safeties nowadays got to be able to do it all," he said. "So it's not necessarily the traditional strong and free safety, mainly you're both at safety. Each safety's got to be interchangeable. That's how it's being played and my guess that's how it's going to continue to be played."

Searcy saw a total of 754 snaps last season, second only to Williams (833). He started off the season strongly, tallying nine tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the team's opening day loss.

Though he dropped down in the depth chart once Byrd recovered from injury, he continued to produce, nabbing 16 combined tackles against the Bengals in Week 6 and grabbing an interception and returning it for a touchdown in Week 11 against the Jets.

As the clear predecessor to Byrd, the former Tarheel is expecting a shot at the starting role alongside Williams. He's not taking anything for granted, though.

"I see myself as first in line, but like I said we gotta follow where the chips lie and still have to compete. Nothing is ever given to anyone, it's always earned. So just go out there and continue to compete and continue to grow and get better as a player."

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