As the Buffalo Bills jettisoned every defensive back from the 2016 roster, a lot of new faces were brought in to remodel the secondary. One of the biggest names to be added was that of Micah Hyde. Coming over from the Green Bay Packers, Hyde represented a solid, but not spectacular, signing. Hyde then represented the smallest gamble. As fans are surely aware by now, the Bills’ defensive backs outperformed every expectation, and Hyde was a central figure.
Micah Hyde was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Playing corner and both safety positions with the Packers, Hyde contributed in 71 games in four years (includes playoffs). Hyde was not offered a contract to stay in Wisconsin though. He made his way to Western New York where his breakout year led to his first Pro Bowl invitation. And there was much rejoicing (by Bills fans). Here’s why.
Micah Hyde’s role with the 2017 Bills sounds deceptively simple on paper. For the most part, Hyde was asked to sit back and react to whatever the play turned out to be. In reality that means maintaining a handle on the whereabouts of six opponents at the same time (five skill positions plus the QB). As we journey through these plays keep an eye on Hyde’s read and react skills as they’re the big reason for his breakout campaign. On display above is a move many running backs would envy. Hyde never looks away from the play but still sees Mohamed Sanu about to be in his way. The stop and go puts Hyde in position to come back into the play quickly.
Hyde is already on the move as Matt Ryan starts scrambling. Justin Hardy happens to be in the way of where Micah Hyde is looking to go, and Hyde uses that to his advantage. The sprawling Hardy limits Ryan’s choices on where to run. This allows Preston Brown to find the unicorn known as a clean hit on a running QB.
Remember when I said Micah Hyde showed off a move that a running back would envy? Well here’s a running back, Devonta Freeman to be exact, trying a similar move on for size. Hyde does it right back for an incredible open field tackle. The first angle shows how Hyde cuts off one lane and then jumps back to react to Freeman and make the tackle. The second angle shows how much ground Hyde covers to make the play.
The circle on Micah Hyde comes courtesy of my youngest daughter. She helped me spot Hyde pre-snap during this game and wanted to contribute when I showed her how I turned the plays into a GIF. The pause shows Rob Gronkowski trying to fake out Hyde which doesn’t work out. Hyde shadows him into the end zone pretty well and has a decent chance to break up a pass should it come their way. The Bills had a lot of faith in Hyde as it was not the only time he had this particular assignment.
Interceptions often seem like a case of “right place at the right time.” Technically that’s true, but look how Micah Hyde makes sure he’s in the right place at the right time. Once again, he sees the play happening very quickly and responds perfectly. Hyde covers a lot of ground because of his excellent read and react. As a result, he is right there for the interception.