Is it time to start Matt Milano?

The Bills’ defense finally came back to early season form against the Chiefs, holding Kansas City’s explosive offense to 236 total yards en route to an important 16-10 win that kept the playoff dream alive. Maybe it’s not the best time for a change, but with a crucial game against the New England Patriots next Sunday, the coaching staff should consider starting Matt Milano at one of the LB spots.

Perfect Fit for Sean McDermott’s Defense

Being the first LB hand picked by Sean McDermott as a Bills head coach, Milano surely has the best skill-set for what he envisions for the position going forward. With good athleticism and a safety background, Milano shows good instincts in coverage and fluidity playing in space. Despite being a rookie, Milano’s already the best Bills cover LB, and he can play on the weak side or even on the strong side, where he succeeded in his college career, at Boston College. In 2017, Milano has only allowed 64.7% of targets to be caught and opposing QB’s rating when Milano is targeted is 75.1. That is the lowest amongst all LBs with at least 25% of the snaps. With Tom Brady coming to the town, it will be beneficial to have the young playmaker on the field as much as possible.

Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Tanner Vallejo (40) and outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) celebrate after a Bills interception during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

 

He’s a True Playmaker

A Ramon Humber injury gave Milano his first shot at getting the bulk of the playing time, and the rookie was able to impress. In his second start he made an impressive interception on a pass thrown by Jameis Winston.

 

In the very next game, against the Raiders, he forced two fumbles and returned one for a touchdown. 

 

He is back to his reserve role since, but the rookie is still showing glimpses of what he can do, even with limited snaps. Milano wasn’t piling up tackles like Humber, but he found ways to make game changing plays in his few starts.

 

“Win Now And In The Future”

With the current LB group situation, I don’t see a player that better fits McDermott’s mantra. Humber and Alexander are on the wrong side of 30, and Preston Brown, despite being young, is in the last year of his rookie deal. And with his physical limitations, he will probably walk in free agency. Milano showed he can play at the starters’ level, but with more potential long term. Since he’s the only starter the Bills have at LB for the next season, it would be beneficial to give him the job right now. He surely earned it on the field.

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