Originally posted on Buffalo Wins  |  Last updated 10/14/13
Player introductions are the best way to gage the popularity of a player. It has  always been that way at The Ralph. Easily the biggest cheer this year was for EJ Manuel during the opener against New England. He was the last one introduced and the place was literally shaking. Yesterday at RWS the introductions gave us another glimpse into the popularity of another player, but it wasn’t met with cheers, but a smattering of boos and some applause. That player was Jairus Byrd. I know the community isn’t in love with him right now..and maybe they are wrong to. I’ve always felt as fans, booing a player could drive them away.  I want a player to like Buffalo and in turn...I want Buffalo to like the player as well. Well, for one player, questions about his character turned quickly into love. Few players in this town have been known by one name: OJ, Jimbo, Biscuit and Bruuuuce to name a few. Add one more to the list: Kiko. The name flows off the tongue with ease. It sounds like an approaching storm... Hurricane Kiko or Typhoon Alonso. The storm is still so young and raw. It is Still forming hundreds of miles off shore and destined to grow larger and more powerful as the days go on. But its impact has already been felt. This storm is forecasted to hang around for years in the minds of people in Miami, New England and New York. Kiko Alonso has the opportunity to give our defense a face and a definition. He made 22 tackles yesterday in a loss. As Joe pointed out earlier this morning, he had a few tackles way down field after 10+ yards gained and also many tackles for short gains or for negative yards. From ESPN play by play, Kiko was in on tackles that happened after gains of 6, 15, 7, 10, 12, 7, 9 and 10 — Joe (@BuffaloWins) October 14, 2013 But, he did make some stops later in the 2nd half. Tackles after gains of -1, 2, 3, 1, -1, -5 and 3. — Joe (@BuffaloWins) October 14, 2013 The 22 tackles yesterday were the most by a Bill since Damien Covington had 26 in 1997. He leads the NFL in tackles, not by a rookie, but by anybody. He’s a ball hawk, too. He has 4 interceptions so far that have led to 6 Buffalo points and clinched a victory against Baltimore. The fourth interception drive ended with Dan Carpenter’s only missed field goal on the season versus Carolina. 3 of the 4 picks have come in the 3rd quarter or later. The man has a nose for the ball, and Buffalo and the league are starting to take notice. If the Rookie of the Year voting were today, Kiko would be the runaway winner. He is that good. Darryl Talley was one of the most popular and best Bills of all time. His name proudly hangs on the Wall of Fame. He’s the leading tackler in Bills history and was one of the most vocal and inspiring leaders we’ve ever seen. How many old NFL Film pieces have you seen with Talley rallying the troops for another win on a snowy, cold day at Rich Stadium? Kiko Alonso may not have the mouth of Talley, but his play has the chance to have the same impact. We want to embrace the defense and give it an identity. The thought of tough, hard nosed defensive football gets Buffalo fans into a frenzy. That's just how North East football works. Mario Williams has been good since the middle of last season. Marcell Dareus is starting to live up to the 3rd overall pick billing. But Kiko Alonso should be the player teams focus on when they match up against Mike Pettine’s defense. This day and age, there are 2 different types of people in the sports world . Those on twitter and those not on twitter. Twitter is the fastest way to receive information in today’s world. You only get 140 characters; not enough to beat around the bush, but just enough to get your news out quickly. Well, for those not on twitter, I'll share with you #TheLegendofKiko. The hash tag took off around week 3 and continues to grow. I’m sure the phrase will be popping up on a t-shirt soon, if it hasn’t already. The hash tag just lists super human things that Kiko can do. Most, if not all, are unrealistic, but it goes to show you how much this town is embracing him. We have always had great linebackers here. Mike Stratton, Jim Haslett, Takeo Spikes, Cornelius Bennett, Shane Conlan, Darryl Talley and London Fletcher to name a few. It’s hard for a player to stay in one spot as long as any of those guys, besides Fletcher, without really wanting to be there. Kiko Alonso is only 6 weeks into a career that could take him places we’ve only dreamed of. Think Clay Matthews in Green Bay. He has the stud quarterback we hope Manuel turns into, the small town that lives for their Sundays, and a fan base that is rabid for a winner. To steal a line from Terry Pegula, since they aren’t using it. “Starting today the Buffalo Bills reason for existence is Kiko Alonso”. If EJ Manuel can develop into a top 10 quarterback in the NFL then Kiko Alonso might be enough to push this defense and this team into meaningful football games in January. It would be just like Darryl Talley and Jim Kelly lived for.
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