Buffalo Bills: Nickell Robey Expects Big Things from New Defense


Buffalo Bills: Nickell Robey Expects Big Things from New Defense

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Despite the impressive results of the Buffalo Bills defense in 2014 – when they ranked fourth in the NFL in yards and points allowed – a lot of the players are expecting even more success this year. Count Nickell Robey among those looking forward to the upcoming campaign.

One of the main reason’s for the 23-year old’s optimism is down to the 3-4 defense being installed by Bills head coach Rex Ryan. In many ways, the new scheme is similar to the one employed in 2013, under former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

Robey sees this as a golden opportunity to return to his form of that rookie season, when he was tied for third on the team, with 10 passes defended. On top of this, he also had three sacks and one interception, which was returned for a touchdown.

Dec 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Nickell Robey (left) lines up against Oakland Raiders cornerback Chance Casey at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As such, the Frostproof, Florida native is understandably excited, as he told Sal Capaccio of WGR550: “Oh, I love it.  I love it. Coming off of Mario (Williams).  Coming off of (Jerry) Hughes.

“It gives a great switch-up, because they’re all going to be keyed on them and I just slide right underneath and it’s like giveaways.  It’s real easy.”

Robey will be the first to admit he took a step back in his development last season. Despite starting more games, he had no interceptions, just one sack and less passes defended.

While not looking to make excuses, the undrafted free agent pickup believes part of the reason was down to what he was asked to do. He said: “Last year I was more just coverage basically.  And softer coverage, too.

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“I didn’t get to do everything that I wanted to do, as far as being aggressive, being able to play like I really wanted to play. But this year, Rex is allowing me to do that.”

Despite his diminutive stature – 5 ft 8 in and 165 lbs – Robey is used to playing big. During his sophomore year at USC, the team went 10-2 and he was named to the First Team All-Pac-12.

As such, it is unsurprising that Robey is supremely confident. He is not even concerned about potentially being more exposed in Ryan’s new scheme, where increased blitzing will leave him playing a lot more man-to-man coverage.

However, as long as everyone does their job, the cornerback sees no issues: “(The quarterbacks) are getting the ball out quick because the D-Line is rushing, so it’s like catch-22.

“With all the pressure they’ve got coming, they have to get the ball out quick.  And the quicker the better.”

Of course, there are no guarantees the Bills will duplicate last season, when they enjoyed tremendous success against the likes of Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. However, if Robey represents the mindset of the defense, you better believe that the team expects a repeat performance.

Next: Powell finally in a position to contribute for the Bills