New England Patriots: Grading Position Groups Bills’ Game

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Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


Grade: B+

Despite Jamie Collins missing his third straight game, the linebacker corps have still played relatively well, mainly because of Dont’a Hightower. Hightower is an absolute force, as he can blitz the quarterback, stop the run, and drop back into coverage. He did all of these things on Monday, and was a big reason the Bills struggled running the ball.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Freeny continues to get absolutely scorched in pass coverage. It seems like the only time Freeny appears is when he is running after a running back or tight end who just caught the ball. The coaching staff is very high on him for some reason, but he has not shown that he can be a reliable player outside of special teams. However, with Dane Fletcher headed to IR, it looks like Freeny will remain the third linebacker.

Jerod Mayo showed flashed of the player he once was, but he was more often that not being muscled by a blocker and failing to get to the ball carrier. He’s still a nice option as a depth linebacker, but the injuries really seem to have taken a toll on his body.

With Jamie Collins likely returning next week against the Broncos, the linebackers should soon return to their dominance.

Next: Secondary