Bills training camp has shown who can help fill leadership void left by Lorenzo Alexander


Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds smiles during an NFL football training camp in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News via AP, Pool)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – There have been many unknowns in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. But even before that, the Bills had a big looming question, who would step up and fill the leadership role left by Lorenzo Alexander?

Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier says that’s one of the biggest things he’s learned about his defense this training camp.

“We needed to find out who are leaders were gonna be going into this season and just seeing Mario Addison step up and provide some leadership for us. Losing Lorenzo [Alexander] that was big piece from a leadership standpoint and that was one of the things that’s been going through my mind who’s gonna help fill that void in that absence of a guy like Lorenzo similar to what happened when Kyle [Williams] retired,” Frazier said on a zoom call with reporters.

And it’s not just the veterans who have helped fill that void.

“So having Jerry Hughes, along with Mario and seeing how Tremaine [Edmunds] has really matured in that role that’s probably been the biggest things I’ve been learning about our defense as much as the x’s and o’s because that’s a big deal. Where is your leadership gonna come from? It can’t always come from coaches because when you’re in the heat of the battle and you’re on that field you need somebody to take charge so to see what Mario brings, to see what Tremaine is doing, to take a look at what Jerry is doing that’s been really encouraging along with Micah [Hyde] and Jordan Poyer.”

Lorenzo’s leadership isn’t the only thing they’ll miss from him this season but what he was able to do on the field as well in terms of rushing the passer.

“He made a ton of plays for us so to replace that you know bringing in a guy like A.J. Klein who will help us in that area from a pass rush standpoint you know seeing some of the things that Mario Addison can bring to the table hopefully can help us from a production standpoint in that area. That’s how we’ll try to do it you know the combination of people we’ve brought in to fill that void that we’re losing with Lorenzo and hopefully we’ll get the production out of both of those positions,” Frazier explained.

As far as the secondary goes, one question coming into camp was who will start opposite of Tre’Davious White? The stage was set for a great training camp battle between last year’s starter, Levi Wallace and Josh Norman who the Bills signed in free agency. But Norman suffered a hamstring in practice and is still recovering which obviously throws a wrench in that competition.

“That’s one of the tough ones there because we were really looking forward to those competitive practices between those two and it really felt like that would be good for our defense to have that competition going day in and day out and with Josh’s injury that’s been put on the shelf for now,” Frazier said.

“Hopefully we’ll get him back prior to the Jets game and with plenty of time to get some practice but Levi’s doing a really good job and if Josh doesn’t make it back we feel very confident that Levi can do the job. We’re gonna have to make a decision whenever Josh comes back, one of those guys will have to start, unfortunately you don’t get the reps with Josh to really evaluate him properly.”

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