We've spent the entire day talking about Fred Jackson's frustration and that messy state of the Buffalo Bills' offensive line. It's time for a mood-lifter, and here's my offering: after extensively re-watching the team's first two pre-season games, I'm thrilled to death with the acquisition of inside linebacker Nick Barnett.
My instinct is to compare Barnett with his positional predecessor, Paul Posluszny, and to this point, it's been no contest. Barnett plays a more instinctive and aggressive style of football. He is a much better and more explosively deliberate athlete in space, moves better sideline to sideline, and drops into coverage more effectively. He will have more impact as a blitzer than Posluszny ever did. The upgrade made is very obvious.
Barnett's impact goes beyond said upgrade, in my opinion. His versatility makes him an ideal fit for the scheme as an every-down linebacker. He's got a very contagious on-field persona that will really elevate this group's mentality on game days. His impact is already obvious, and he's not even performing to his peak yet.
Bills fans have focused on Shawne Merriman's performance in Chicago, or the impressive two-game span from Marcell Dareus, as their source of comfort in trying times as a Bills fan. Barnett belongs in that territory, as well. I firmly believe he's been Buffalo's best defender this pre-season, and is certainly their best free agent acquisition to date.