Kirk Morrison had started 95 straight games and had never finished a season with less than 100 tackles before coming to the Buffalo Bills in August of 2011. The seven-year veteran is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March, but one local reporter thinks Morrison may have a place in Buffalo's new 4-3 defense.
In his weekly "Fan Friday" column at BuffaloBills.com, team reporter Chris Brown was asked about Morrison's failure to contribute in 2011.
"Morrison had a tough time getting on the field for a couple of reasons," began Brown. "First, he was signed days before the season opener so he had some catch up work to do. By the time he was fully adjusted to the scheme Kelvin Sheppard had begun to emerge and locked down the ILB spot alongside veteran Nick Barnett."
None of that is revolutionary information, but Brown continued discussing by discussing the possibility of retaining Morrison.
"What’s going to be interesting is with the defense switching to the 4-3 I think he’s going to be a consideration for the strong side linebacker position. Talking to Coach Wannstedt he did express a desire to get Morrison re-signed. I think he’s capable of backing up Sheppard in the middle while also competing for a starting role at SLB."
Morrison played the middle linebacker spot as a member of the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has never played the outside linebacker position in the NFL. Brian had Morrison slotted in as the primary backup in the middle in his most recent projected defensive depth chart.
During the 2010 season, Morrison missed just one tackle, placing him second on Pro Football Focus' list of tackling efficiency among linebackers. The writers also had this to say about the linebacker as he entered free agency.
"In Morrison’s first season as Jacksonville’s MLB, he saw his tackle numbers drop, but he improved in coverage – an area that he has struggled with in the past."
After his sub-par 2011 season, it's unlikely that Morrison will be a candidate to start anywhere in 2012. He was not a highly coveted free agent a year ago, and perhaps his best shot at playing time is with the Bills. He had only seven tackles and a lone sack, pictured above.