Free agent linebacker Bruce Carter is in town for a visit. Carter is visiting a team that desperately needs an inside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme, but also a guy that can fill the WILL linebacker position when they are in their 4-3 looks. Carter like many of the free agents that the Bills have met with has played in the scheme or a similar scheme.
In 11 games in Rob Ryan’s defense in 2012, Carter produced 64 solo tackles, 30 stops, 2 QB hits and 2 QB hurries.
Carter, #54 in this clip, slides down the line of scrimmage to stuff the running back.
He reads pass, opens his hips while getting depth to his landmark.
I love how he diagnosis this play, scrapes and makes the tackle. The Falcons run outside zone, Carter is reading the FB. The FB doesn’t continue outside, but Carter continues with the back. He doesn’t let Michael Turner out leverage him. He stays a shade outside the back and brings him down.
Carter drops to his zone to take away Gonzalez, Bruce then reads Ryan’s eyes. Ryan looks to get the ball to Tony but Carter under cuts it. He did allow 32 catches in 2012 for 300 yards and only 2 TDs.
Carter is really good in zone coverage, part of the reason that he got a hefty contract in Tampa. Here he carries the TE down the seam, then sees the RB coming out of the backfield and into his zone, so he delivers a blow!
Carter signed a huge contract with the Bucs prior to 2015, but lost his job to rookie Kwon Alexander. Tampa tried playing him at the WILL linebacker position but he struggled. Carter is 28 years old, so he is in the prime of career. Although he only played in 314 snaps (3 starts), he was able to compile 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 3 QB hurries, 27 tackles and 15 stops. He was targeted 14 times in coverage in 2015, he allowed 9 receptions for 94 yards with no TDs given up.
His recognition skills are fantastic. Here, he is #50 in man coverage. He is responsible for the TE. The TE stays in to block so he blitzes and brings big Cam Newton down for the sack.
He is a natural at reading and recognizing the play. He is smooth when scraping and filling windows. His shoulders are always square and hips are low and ready to explode.
Carter is reading the TE on this play. The TE and tackle pull wide, he plays it perfectly. He attacks and occupies the tight end, sheds the block and forces the back out of bounds.
He works well in traffic. Here the defensive line slants down throwing the blocking scheme off. Carter slides inside the tackles block to make the tackle.
After watching a few games from 2012 and 2015, I really like this player. Carter seems like a natural in zone coverage. He reads common route combinations quite easily, especially high/low concepts which attack linebackers. He seemed very comfortable in the Ryan defense. Several plays the offense motioned, which as we all know often changes responsibilities of the players. He communicated well with others and carried out his assignments.
Against the run, his read and diagnose skills are quite impressive. At 6’2″, 240 pounds he scrapes as good as anybody all while keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Carter still has some of that explosiveness that he had in college prior to his ACL injury. He isn’t a thumper, but his play recognition and quickness from tackle to tackle allow him to make plays in the backfield. I am hoping the Bills sign this guy. He had his best season in this defense, in fact according to PFF that 2011 season was his best season grade wise in his career. Carter played at the University of North Carolina from 2007-2010, the same years that new defensive line coach John Blake was the defensive line coach there. I am sure that Blake and Carter have been in the team meeting rooms together before, and I hope that Blake can help recruit Carter to Buffalo. Carter would be the perfect fit at inside linebacker for the Bills. I think that Carter is looking for a prove it type deal because he had a down year in 2015, the Bills should be the ones to give him that shot. Signing him would not only improve the team, but it would take a player away from the Jets who are also looking to sign him. This is a must signing for Buffalo, get him under contract. He will strengthen the defense and open up the draft that much more.