The Buffalo Bills lost starting defensive tackle DaQuan Jones to injury earlier this season during a Week 5 game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jones’ injury is considered long term but it’s unclear if he’ll make it back into the lineup at any point this season. Regardless, the Bills need some DT help, because Jones was an integral part of their defensive line.
In comes veteran defensive tackle Linval Joseph to the rescue. The Bills signed Joseph to the active 53-man roster on Thursday morning. Let’s see what the 35-year-old free agent brings to the table.
Linval Joseph has 13 years of NFL experience. He most recently played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022 after he signed with them as a free agent during the season. Joseph came in ready to play in Week 11 and saw action in eight regular season games and three playoff games. In those 11 games, Joseph tallied 21 total tackles, a half sack, one QB hit, and one fumble recovery. These statistics might not seem like much but it is important to note Joseph’s average defensive snap share was only 33.27%. His role was as a rotational defensive lineman and that’s presumably what his job will be with the Bills.
The Buffalo Bills will mainly use Joseph as a “1-technique” defensive tackle — which means lining up on the outside shoulder of the center. A 1-technique’s primary job is to be a run stuffer and space eater. Bills fans can expect the 6’4”, 329-pound Joseph to be just that — a prototypical run stuffer on early downs. Joseph won't be required to rush the passer much, and he might not even show up on the stat sheet a ton. As long as he’s eating up blocks for other defenders to thrive, he’ll have done his job.
Linval Joseph was the 1-tech on this play and he executed his job wonderfully. At the snap, he gained extension and control on the center. This allowed him to look for the ball carrier, disengage, and make the tackle for a small gain.
As mentioned above, Joseph will primarily be a run stuffer, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get to the QB in the right situation. He had control of the center for the entire play and was able to get off the block after he collapsed the pocket, thus making the sack.
On this rep, Joseph held his ground in the double team while also having the presence of mind to find the football and make the tackle for no gain.
Just because Linval Joseph is a giant human doesn’t mean he can’t move. Joseph showed great hustle on this play by chasing the ball carrier down on an outside run, limiting the run to a minimal gain.
Joseph took on two offensive linemen during this play and prevented them from completing a combo block to the linebacker. Joseph managed to keep both blockers occupied to free up the linebacker to run toward the football.
Linval Joseph isn’t DaQuan Jones, but he is a part of the solution to bringing quality depth for the Buffalo Bills’ defensive line. Joseph will help Buffalo in early downs on run support and likely operate primarily as a rotational piece.
Joseph also brings experience — including Super Bowl experience — to the Bills’ locker room. I’d expect to see Joseph in a limited capacity during Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals and then probably with an expanded snap share of around 30-40% in the weeks following.