The do-it-all captain of the Buffalo Bills, Lorenzo Alexander is having a career year, nevermind that he has been in the league for 14 years, nevermind that he is thirty-five years old.
Heading into the bye week, Alexander has played 53.4% of the defensive snaps this season, which is about 8% lower than 2017.
The main difference from 2017 to 2018 is that the former Cal Bear dropped into coverage 28.5% of the snaps in Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier’s first season in Buffalo. This season, that number is a measly 15.7%. While Alexander was proficient at dropping into coverage in this zone-heavy scheme, it was a waste of reps that could be used to get after the QB. So in the offseason, the staff and Alexander sat down to iron out what the role for Zo would be in 2018. So far, it seems that fewer reps, specifically fewer reps in coverage and more as a rusher have been the sweet spot they were looking for.
Zo has been utilized as both an edge and interior defensive lineman on passing downs, and he has rushed the passer 48.7% of the time. This is a huge jump from 2017 when he only attacked the signal caller 28.8% of the defensive snaps. His defined role has allowed Zo to rack up four QB sacks, two QB hurries, and 21 QB pressures. Alexander is only five total pressures away from his entire 2017 campaign total. More importantly has been the fact that he has only missed one tackle this season as opposed to 18 last year, most of which were out in coverage.
By adding several key pieces in the front seven, specifically the defensive line, Alexander has been a part of a healthy rotation. Less mileage on his legs has Zo fresh and highly effective at getting after the QB. He sits 5th overall for edge defenders in pass rush productivity, only three spots back of teammate Jerry Hughes.
Alexander was overlooked by teams for many years, but this regime understands how to utilize him on the field and how much value he holds as a leader. He has been crucial to this regime’s attempt at changing the culture at One Bills Drive and changing lives in the Buffalo Community.
You watch Lorenzo Alexander, to name just one play of his where [it was the] second to last play of the game and he’s from one side of the field to the sideline and trying to make a play. That says a lot about who we are, what we’re trying to do here and the leadership that I appreciate that Lorenzo brings to the table.
Show your appreciation for what he has done in our backyard and on the turf at New Era Field by voting him and other Bills to the Pro Bowl. With that said, enjoy this short highlight video on his season thus far.
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