BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – After the Bills walked off the field on the losing end of the AFC Championship last season, it was clear a pass rush was lacking. They approached the offseason with a mindset of adding guys that could get after the quarterback, and their number one draft pick so far has proven he can do just that.
Greg Rousseau continues to be a big contributor on the defensive line in his first season in the NFL. Sunday night against the Chiefs, the defensive end tipped up a Patrick Mahomes pass and came down with an interception. It was a moment teammate Tremaine Edmunds called a “big-time play.”
“That was an athletic play, tipped ball, still coming down with the interception,” Edmunds said.
Safety Jordan Poyer said the defensive line makes plays like that “at least twice a week in practice.”
“Greg was able to get his hands up and make a play, huge play,” Poyer said.
Poyer and Micah Hyde were light-hearted in their comments of the aftermath of the big interception.
“I don’t know what he was trying to do after he caught the ball in his hands but I thought he was about to take it,” Poyer said laughingly.
Rousseau finished Sunday’s game with five total tackles and one sack. It’s another big performance for a guy that is not only in his first year in the NFL, but also didn’t play last year after opting out because of COVID-19.
So far this season, the rookie defensive end has 18 total tackles and three sacks through the first five games. Edmunds and coach Sean McDermott have seen the growth early in the season.
“He’s just a player, man,” Edmunds said. “He just keeps getting better. He takes his job serious, man. He’s a rookie but you see him doing things in the building as far as staying late, taking care of himself and just trying to put his body in the best position to come out here and make plays. Just to see it show up, I’m happy for him. He’s going to continue to go, continue to get better so I’m excited for his growth.”
“He made the big splash play,” McDermott said. “I thought he had some other good plays in there and the thing I love about Greg is he comes in hungry every week to work and improve and that’s how he’s wired and I think that’s for the most part how our team is wired and that again is driven by our leaders.”
While it’s easy to get caught up in the impressive start for the rookie, McDermott told reporters during Monday’s press conference to “hold our horses” on pumping up the young players.
Yeah he made some really good plays, I don’t want to take that away from him. Those plays made a big difference in the outcome of the game, but there is still so much to be had yet in terms of his growth and development and physical play and all those things so respectfully if we could just kind of ‘slow our role’ here I guess they say, right?”
That mindset isn’t much of a damper on Rousseau, according to McDermott. The Bills head coach said that the rookie is embracing the same attitude as his coach.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do with these young guys including our entire football team but these young guys have got to learn that it’s a week to week league and when you think you have arrived, you haven’t,” McDermott said. “Greg, I know embraces that in terms of his approach every week which is refreshing and very welcomed here at the Bills.”
Rousseau and the Bills look to win their fifth game in a row next Monday when they face the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15.