Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kiko Alonso excited to move outside in new scheme


Seeing No. 50 in the middle of the action for the Buffalo Bills defense was commonplace last season.

In a rookie season that had Kiko Alonso involved in every single snap that the defense took, it's not hard to imagine why.

But things have changed this offseason, and with a new leader comes new bodies to the linebacking corps. Jim Schwartz runs a different ship than Mike Pettine, and he brought in a big body to prove it.

Former New England Patriot Brandon Spikes has joined the roster, a run thumper up the middle that looks to fit well into Schwartz's 4-3 system. He'll be taking over for Alonso in the middle of the defense. Also along for the ride is strong-side 'backer Keith Rivers, a former Giant that Marrone and Co. are hoping can be an equal to Spikes in terms of run-stop ability. 

So what does that mean for the former Rookie of the Year candidate who tallied the third-most tackles of any defensive player last year and captained the defense from the center of the action? Right in the same spot he was a year ago, according to him.

"I think I’m going to be doing a lot of similar stuff,” Alonso said via Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News. "I’m just excited to move to the outside in this new scheme. It’s a great scheme, obviously. Coach Schwartz is a great coach."

The Bills are excited he's moving, too. With four interceptions, two sacks and a forced fumble to go along with all those tackles last season, it's obvious that Alonso is at his best when he's on the move. Moving him to the outside gives him move opportunity for that, according to general manager Doug Whaley, who said back in March that it would be foolish not to utilize Alonso's two biggest attributes -- speed and instinct.

"Why limit him by having him take on those big guards, let's cover him up and let him run and hit," he said.

Ultimately, it's about making plays, which Alonso proved he can do when given the opportunity. With more opportunity to do that on the outside, the 23-year-old told Gaughan he's is happy with his new role.

That's as long as he's on the not on the sideline.

"If the defense is on the field," he said, "I want to be on the field."

Follow Dan @DanBegnoche
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily