It’s time for everyone to start getting back into football shape. And for me football shape is an expanding posterior thanks to couch time and coaches film, aka “The All-22.” Turning to Twitter for suggestions, let’s take the idea of Tremaine Edmunds being out of place and turn it into a more global look at growth.
Now remember, we’re looking for mistakes to start things off. Anyway, this is Tremaine Edmunds’s first regular-season play in his NFL career. The Buffalo Bills like to use zone and it’s a safe bet that Tremaine Edmunds should have passed this off to Matt Milano. Without a play call in hand it’s hard to know for sure, but based on the usage of Preston Brown the year before my guess would be Edmunds should hang back in this situation and flow with the quarterback. That would have put him much closer to the dump off. The huge section of open field is another suggestion that Edmunds was out of place. On a positive note, look at that acceleration!
Soon after the last play, Edmunds is welcomed to the speed and narrow lanes of the NFL. Edmunds is locked onto the running back and is matching the motion fine. However, on the cut back he steps sideways instead of moving toward the line. Star Lotulelei makes a formidable obstacle to run through and Edmunds is delayed to the hole. As a result he’s able to be blocked and the Baltimore Ravens get some extra yards. Knowing where numerous very large and very fast athletes are is a difficult task and Edmunds occasionally lost track of a thing or two.
There’s a good recognition of the play and the pursuit angle is spot on. Edmunds doesn’t slow down and finds out the hard way that deceleration is a good skill to have.
We jump closer to mid-season and it’s no shocker to say that many of the mistakes above are starting to get better. Here’s one that stood out from this game where Edmunds is driven completely out of the play thanks to a small leverage advantage from Mark Glowinski. Edmunds stands out even in a crowd of big men and his height can be a disadvantage in shoving contests. It’s by no means a fatal flaw, but it is one more little facet for Edmunds to manage.
Now we’re on to the last game of the season and Edmunds seems to be adjusting well. Rather than taking the block on full force Edmunds gets his right arm up to maintain space and helps work back to the play. The result is a nice stop. The patience in waiting for the tackle is not something I think you see early in the season.
You might be asking why I picked this play when Tremaine Edmunds didn’t even make the tackle. Going back to the first couple plays you see errors when Edmunds isn’t really sure where everyone else is. Edmunds maintains his gap to prevent a cut back and trusts his teammates to be where they need to be. There was a lot more of this in Week 17 than his first few games.
This doesn’t really show off improvement exactly, but it does demonstrate why the Bills were so eager to get Tremaine Edmunds. Kenyan Drake is at a disadvantage in the size department but not every linebacker is able to do this. The shove is nice, but making the sack around another player is another level.
And ending on another improvement we contrast Edmunds’s first snap of the year with his final one. Edmunds actually made the tackle on the final two plays. The Miami Dolphins were just burning clock to end their suffering, but it’s still a positive to see the lane discipline.
Tremaine Edmunds, like the vast majority of players, needed some time to adjust to the NFL. The speed and complexity seemed too much at times for the rookie. Edmunds settled down as the year progressed and made strides toward becoming the elite player that Buffalo was hoping to have selected. Improved understanding of the defense and patience were the more drastically changed elements of Edmunds’s game, though definitely not the only areas in which he got better. Cross your fingers Edmunds continues this trajectory all the way to his incredible ceiling.