In a blog post made by Chris Brown today, Dave Wannstedt stated that he sees safety-turned-linebacker Bryan Scott as a starter in their defense, given that he will be the linebacker next to Nick Barnett in the nickel. Scott, who has switched between the two positions over the past few seasons, was made a full-time linebacker earlier in this offseason.
This certainly isn’t breaking news, but it does give fans something to chew on. Scott is certainly smaller than Arthur Moats or Kirk Morrison, who are competing for the starting job at sam linebacker in the 4-3. He could prove to be a liability on running plays, especially on draw formations that tend to spread the interior defense thin. However, his playing experience may even out the playing field, especially over Moats who isn’t particularly experienced at any position.
At the same time, defenses are using more nickel, dime and other specialty packages every season to stifle aerial attacks. Having a specialized linebacker for these downs makes a lot more sense than having a bulkier, slower player take the field no matter what the situation is. You may see other teams in the NFL start to draft smaller hybrid linebackers in the near future. It also makes sense within the construct of this particular Bills team. Here, the Bills have three good linebackers (other than Barnett and Sheppard) who they trust to play right now. Why not let the “starter” conserve some energy if you can trust someone else to execute?
Finally, it’s no secret that the Bills love to blitz Bryan Scott. I have no doubts about the fact that they will continue to do this in a similar manner. If Scott can continue to get to the quarterback and cause havoc, that can only be a benefit to a team that massively upgraded its pass rush in the offseason.