While sometimes a controversial topic with much of Bills Mafia, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is one of the best young linebackers in the NFL. He leads one of the league’s best defenses with 36 tackles on the season. Playing well on his fifth-year option, Edmunds will cost the Buffalo Bills a pretty penny this offseason if they hope to keep the intelligent linebacker in Orchard Park in 2023 and beyond. Let’s look at some recent tape of Edmunds’s 2022 season to date.
Part of being a great linebacker is patience in the run game. At the snap, quarterback Matthew Stafford hands off the ball to the running back. Edmunds is forced to freeze in the middle and survey where the ball is going (to the right). Once Edmunds does that, he runs left and goes around wide receiver Cooper Kupp and nickel corner Taron Johnson and makes the tackle.
Edmunds is a phenomenal complement to linebacker Matt Milano—who excels in coverage. When the ball is snapped, we see Edmunds engage center Creed Humphrey and shed his block (while Milano is getting pushed downfield). Edmunds then goes into his pursuit of the ball carrier and makes the tackle.
At the snap, Edmunds drops into a deep zone. Quarterback Lamar Jackson throws a checkdown to the running back with everyone covered downfield. Edmunds sprints to the right to make the tackle the moment Jackson looks to throw the ball. When he comes up to make the tackle, he buzzes his feet to make sure the running back can’t make him miss. One of the more impressive things on this play is how much ground Edmunds was able to cover in just a few seconds to make the tackle.
Here, the Los Angeles Rams go bootleg to the right with Stafford as they leak tight end Tyler Higbee out. While Stafford’s running, he’s looking for someone he can throw to. Edmunds stays connected to Higbee to prevent Stafford from throwing his way. This is important because if Edmunds changes course and pursues Stafford (instead of covering Higbee), the ball is thrown to an open Higbee. Instead, with Higbee covered, Stafford has to turn up field and run—where he’s tackled out of bounds by defensive end Boogie Basham.
Watch Edmunds blitz through the A gap. He shows great agility and nimble hips bending around Humphrey. Edmunds then bursts right up the middle to cause pressure on quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who’s forced to scramble and throw the ball away.
Tremaine Edmunds is an extremely talented linebacker. Even better, he’s the perfect complement to Matt Milano as the thunder to Milano’s lighting. He covers ground, is good against the run, and can blitz. Will the Bills want to keep Edmunds in 2023 and beyond? And, if so, can they afford him?