The Buffalo Bills have an injury issue in their locker room. In the past, linebacker Matt Milano has had similar problems.
But in a positive twist, Milano hasn’t been snake bitten this year… and boy has that been good news for the Bills defense.
Despite the rash of bumps and bruises that has hit Buffalo’s secondary specifically, the team is still cruising along. Defensively, the Bills head into Week 4 as the second-best unit in the NFL.
A huge reason for that is the linebacker pair the team has and Milano specifically.
So far, Milano has a team-high 27 tackles, three of which are for a loss, with an interception and two passes defended. Another layer comes from Pro Football Focus, who have graded Milano as the best linebacker in the entire league.
As for the player himself… none of it matters, and isn’t even up to own standards.
“Not good enough. I have to keep going and make more plays, make more tackles, make more sacks,” Milano told the Buffalo News.
Always mild-mannered since being drafted by Buffalo in 2017, Milano’s setting a very high bar for himself. The team will have no problem with that.
With the injuries, Milano’s play is making life a bit easier. Head coach Sean McDermott acknowledged that following his team’s win in Week 4 over the Baltimore Ravens. It was clear that his linebackers helped shut down Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“Tremaine [Edmunds] and Matt, the level that they’ve played at, the leadership they’ve given us, in particular with Micah (Hyde) and Tre’Davious (White) out, that’s been important for us and needs to continue,” McDermott said via video conference.
But the team deserves some credit for Milano’s emergence, too.
Milano’s play is different in 2022. So is the Bills’ defensive front. That’s not a coincidence.
The decisions to sign the likes of defensive tackle DaQuan Jones and pass rusher Von Miller is paying dividends for Edmunds and Milano. It has allowed them to make plays and keep opposing offenses at bay.
The Bills will keep leaning on Milano going forward, starting first with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Highmark Stadium.