Every so often, a tidbit of Buffalo Bills information comes forth that can fairly significantly impact how we perceive a team need in the offseason. Take this nugget from BuffaloBills.com head Chris Brown, who writes that outside-turned-inside linebacker Manny Lawson was running the Bills' defense on the field at the end of the 2015 regular season instead of the man who started the year with that responsibility, Preston Brown.
"Brown surprisingly had some missteps in running the scheme last season," writes Chris Brown, "to the point where Manny Lawson had to take over late in the season."
That's an interesting tidbit for two reasons: it helps to explain why Ryan and the Bills' coaching staff spoke so glowingly of Lawson throughout last season (and why Lawson's job status has never seriously been questioned this offseason despite a fairly bloated contract), and it speaks negatively to the confidence that the coaches have in Brown following a rough sophomore season.
"It's not good enough to just know your job. You've got to bark it out and be the quarterback back there," Ryan said of Brown at the NFL Combine this year. "And he can do it. He's a smart enough kid, and his dad is a football coach. So he's got to come out of his shell. David Harris was a quiet guy, but on the football field he ran the whole thing. He's got to grow into it. It doesn't happen overnight. I think when you come into a new system, it's tougher to play, but yeah, I expect Preston to be able to take that step - and he needs to."
Brown has a good shot at returning as a starter for the Bills next season, considering that Lawson is miscast as an inside linebacker, and that Brown's fellow Week 1 starter inside, Nigel Bradham, is about to become an unrestricted free agent. Considering those two things, plus the team's apparent lack of confidence in Brown, and it's fair to wonder if a position that we all considered a need already might be a more urgent perceived need within the walls of One Bills Drive.