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Billieve Podcast: State of the linebackers

Matt Milano surprised fans by coming back, while Tremaine Edmunds is seeking consistency.

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On the latest episode of the Billieve Podcast, in the seventh installment of our State of the Buffalo Bills series, hosts John Boccacino and Jamie D’Amico break down and review the contributions the Bills got from their linebackers in 2020.

When the dust had settled on Buffalo’s 2020 season, most Bills fans expected that outside linebacker Matt Milano would test free agency. In arguably the biggest offseason move made by general manager Brandon Beane, the two sides agreed to a team-friendly, four-year deal worth $44 million ($24 million guaranteed). Locking up Milano gives the Bills stability at the outside linebacker position, and ensures that one of the best cover linebackers returns to Western New York for 2021.

We dissect how strong this unit was when both Milano and middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds were on the field at the same time (the Bills were a perfect 10-0 in the regular season when both Milano and Edmunds played), which is important given how much the Bills rely on their top two linebackers. We analyze what Milano brings to the table as one of the Bills’ best defensive players, put to bed the myth that Milano is injury prone, and discuss why Milano thrives in defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier’s defense.

We also put Edmunds’ season under the microscope to see whether he deserves the criticism he’s received from fans. Edmunds, a natural athlete, has shown himself to be more than capable of playing both man and zone coverage and he’s an above-average blitzer who, at age 23, should be just scratching the surface of his potential. We explore how the return of Star Lotulelei could help free up Edmunds to make more plays, and explore whether the team should exercise the fifth-year option on Edmunds.

We address how A.J. Klein became a good blitzer (while remaining a liability in pass coverage), break down what Tyrel Dodson brings to the linebackers, explain why Tyler Matakevich is solely a special teams contributor, share how free agent Tyrell Adams could be poised to build upon his 2020 breakthrough season, and discuss how Beane should be applauded for bringing in plenty of competent depth at linebacker.

Check out the latest Billieve Podcast for our thoughts on Buffalo’s linebackers, then join the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below.

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