Buffalo Bills backup linebacker A.J. Klein had nine tackles, one for a loss against the Detroit Lions in Week 12. Klein had recently re-signed with the team, and was in for injured Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. With free agency coming up for Edmunds, I wanted to take a look at what life might look like without him directing Buffalo’s defense.
A.J. Klein cleans up well
Sometimes you just need to make the plays that come to you. Quarterback Jared Goff hands off to the running back as he runs left, with a tight end pulling to lead block. Linebacker Matt Milano lowers his shoulder and takes on the tight end who’s pulling. Klein then comes in through the hole and makes a nice tackle on the running back.
Klein with the TFL
Klein shows off his natural linebacking instincts here. At the snap, Goff hands it off to the back as he runs left between the left guard and tackle. Klein comes right in through the hole and makes a clean tackle for a loss.
Klein’s weaknesses at point of contact
We see some of Klein’s weaknesses during this play. The guard gets his hands on Klein and blocks him down the field in the run game. Klein is unable to shed the block, and is taken completely out of the play.
Klein’s motor knows no quit
Receiver Kalif Raymond flips his hips, and Milano can’t stay with him. Once Raymond catches the pass, he runs up the field. Klein then moves from the middle of the field, covering ground quickly, to the left side and comes in and makes the tackle in space to assist safety Jordan Poyer.
Klein’s relentless pursuit
I’m a big believer in the philosophy that a linebacker really should never be chasing after the play. With that being said, we see Klein’s relentlessness here. He’s blocked by an offensive lineman, but then spins away out of the block. Klein then chases the play downfield and helps make the tackle.
All in all, Klein had a solid showing. He’s a fluid athlete who’s a solid tackler, though I would say he isn’t overly physical. What were your impressions of Klein’s play in Detroit? Also, how big of a gap do you believe exists between Edmunds and Klein, if Edmunds doesn’t return in free agency?