BY DAN BEGNOCHE
There's been much talk at One Bills Drive surrounding the offseason acquisition of linebacker Brandon Spikes and the contributions he'll be making in the team's defensive scheme.
From his run-stopping ability to quarterbacking the defense for coordinator Jim Schwartz, the 26-year-old will be relied upon heavily to lead Buffalo's unit and set a solid example for the younger players.
Spikes' services were even requested in an area he hadn't experienced for more than a decade -- special teams. According to Chris Brown of buffalobills.com, special teams coordinator Danny Crossman -- who's in his first year as leader of the squad -- had Spikes taking reps with the second-string return unit.
Spikes told reporters after workouts that he's willing to do whatever the team needs if it ultimately yields wins.
"I'm all in. Anything they ask me to do I'm going to try to get it done at a high level," Spikes said. "I haven't played special teams since middle school, maybe. It's fun, it's something new. Keeps it interesting."
Having a starting player of Spikes' caliber in the wedge on returns is a calculated risk, for sure, even if he does only take a few reps during practice. Versatility has been a talking point for the Bills defense the past few years, however, and getting another able-bodied playmaker boned up on the ins and outs of a unit that was noticeably weak last season could pay huge dividends down the road.
Spikes said he understands the risks involved with the role and had some helpful tips to live by when asked about the dangers of the position.
"I know you got to keep your head on a swivel," he said. "Keep the eyes working on special teams.
"You never know, if a guy goes down I have to get out there even though I'm one of the starting linebackers. I have to get out there and get it done. Can't miss a beat."
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