by Mario Granata
With all the moves that the Buffalo Bills have made in Free Agency (or as it is called by Hashtag Sports, their ‘2015 Draft’) they were able to add some valuable pieces to the puzzle in trying to break the longest NFL playoff drought. Two of the most asked questions (after the quarterback position) are the offensive line and what are the Bills going to do in the secondary. Well, one of those questions could already be answered, and his name is Bacarri Rambo.
Sure, on the surface, he is easy to miss. Rambo was a 6th round draft pick out of Georgia by the Washington Redskins in 2013 and has only started 3 out of 17 games that he has appeared. Last year could have been just a taste of what Rambo could do with a coordinator that could use him right. Now, to truly see what Rambo could accomplish in a Rex Ryan system, you have to examine what players whom have been asked to perform previously. The name that jumps off the page is Ed Reed, who is considered the greatest ‘Center fielder’ in NFL history.
Reed’s Role Changed when Rex Took Over:
From 1999-2004 Rex Ryans duties with the Baltimore Ravens was limited to the defensive line, and when Reed came into the league in 2002, he was a star immediately. In his first three seasons he accumulated 192 tackles and 21 interceptions. (This converts to 64 tackles and 7 interceptions a season). Those are pretty impressive numbers UNTIL you look at his stats when Ryan took over in 2005. From 2005-2008 (excluding the 2005 season where Reed only played 10 games) Reed’s number of tackles went down to 114 over that 3-year span, but was still able to tack on 21 interceptions. (This converts to 38 tackles and 7 interceptions a season).
What does that mean? He wasn’t asked to come up on run support as much as he did in the past. Perhaps Ryan saw his value in the secondary to ball hawk and come up when he could, so he left him back there, and had the strong safety (Dawan Landry and Jim Leonhard) do the dirty work. As Bills fans know, Aaron Williams isn’t shy about coming up in run support, so this could work out well in his system.
Looking at the college careers of both Reed and Rambo, you start to get an appreciation of what he could be as an NFL pro. Here is how they both performed in their respective conferences. From 1998-2001 in the Big East, Reed intercepted 21 passes, returned them for combined 389 yards, and 5 scores. Rambo, who played in the SEC from 2009-2012, intercepted 16 passes for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns. Both of them led both the Big East and the SEC for interceptions in a season as well. (Reed 2001, Rambo 2011).
Now, I haven’t completely lost my mind to think that Bacarri Rambo could be the next Ed Reed, but when you look at the playing styles of these two, what they were able to accomplish in their college years, and what Rex Ryan has asked Reed to do in his defense, the ‘void’ that is at the safety position might be on the team in the form of Bacarri Rambo.