July 27, 2012; Pittsford, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Tank Carder (45) on the field during a training camp practice at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-US PRESSWIRE
Linebacker depth was a concern for Buffalo Bills fans heading into training camp, but if you believe the words coming out of head coach Chan Gailey's mouth, at least two of the team's young reserves have been impressive through three practices.
On Friday, Gailey noted the strong start to camp turned in by rookie fifth-round pick Tank Carder.
"He has gotten his hands on more passes defensively than maybe any other player to this point, which has been pretty impressive," Gailey said. "It would be hard not to notice him on the field. He has a nose for the ball. He has some instincts."
Carder had recorded his first camp interception by the end of his first practice, and repeatedly tipped passes throughout his first two days on the job, per Mark Ludwiczak of CBSSports.com. Carder has not run with the first unit like draft classmate Nigel Bradham (and probably won't), but has been impressive nonetheless.
A player that has run with the ones is third-year player Arthur Moats, whom Gailey sees settling in at outside linebacker now that the Bills finally know at what position they want to play him.
"We finally settled him into one role as an outside backer for us. I think he has handled that very well," said Gailey of Moats. "He has gotten a lot better in the OTAs and the mini-camp. It made so much of a difference for him to have that. It is unbelievable. I feel good about where he is right now after three days of practice. He has been very impressive thus far."
Moats has been working in certain sub-packages with the first team defense, likely as a pass-rushing specialist of sorts. The former college defensive end spent his first two seasons moonlighting as a 3-4 outside linebacker, where he recorded a combined five sacks, and now he has the look of a rush linebacker in certain nickel looks in the new defense being installed by coordinator Dave Wannstedt.
The Bills still don't have a lot of clarity at linebacker, and the unit is still considered the weak point of the defense, but the team clearly likes the players that they're working with at the position.