With the sudden retirement of Buffalo Bills safety Rafael Bush the team went looking for a replacement. Bush was a steady presence in the defensive backfield, coming in frequently as part of the nickel rotation as well as providing depth. Bush was an under the radar but important cog last season. Buffalo moved swiftly to sign former Saint/Panther/Chief/Eagle Kurt Coleman who should be expected to play a similar role to Bush.
Let’s start off with a tackling clip. Kurt Coleman slides over to get into the lane to make a stop. A last-second cut back and suddenly he’s in danger of missing the tackle. Good extension on the left arm and the presence of mind to get the right around saves a lot of yards. The latch with the left and wrap with the right is common for Coleman and usually yields good results.
Like a lot of safeties, Coleman plays like a fast linebacker. He’s not even remotely afraid of contact and has a very good chance of winning match-ups in his weight class. Using a similar tackle as above, he finishes the play strong.
This is a heads-up play by Coleman as he exploits the five-yard cushion where contact is allowable. The second attempt at a hit is questionable as the receiver is even with Coleman right around the time contact would have been made. Ultimately Coleman significantly disrupts two players in a critical situation.
And here we have a quick peek at how Kurt Coleman reacts to an eligible receiver being passed off to his zone. It’s not as smooth as you might like as he shadows the route, but he’s not a liability either. Coleman has a pretty good shot at defending a pass had it come to him.
It’s hard to tell if it was a bad play call or if Coleman or another player missed their assignment. Coleman ends up having to fight a lot of momentum and turn around to come back to the play. Coleman finishes with a nice open field tackle as well.
I really like the angle Coleman takes as he’s effectively staring down two opponents. Going right for the ball carrier would end poorly as the blocker would be able to commit to that same path. Instead, Coleman corrals the blocker, which has the secondary effect of impacting the runner. The force of the collision Coleman starts nearly takes out two birds with one block.
I can’t just make this a Kurt Coleman highlight reel though. Coleman is a little slow to turn and gets beat cleanly as a result. Not that this is a great example of one, but players that can cut well can pose a problem in open areas such as we see here.
Always end on a high note. Coleman shows off some veteran moves by realizing he can shift to his left to avoid being part of a double-team block. The fast shedding of the block pays off as he comes back to clog the lane and limit the damage.
Just like Rafael Bush, Kurt Coleman offer a steady presence with good versatility as a defensive back. Coleman won’t be competing to take over for Jordan Poyer or Micah Hyde any time soon. And in all reality he may be fighting a couple other guys for even the depth position. However, this would have been the same result had Bush remained with the team. Coleman could be gone if another player develops, but at worst represents a solid floor.