Brown studied Carolina's defense to prepare for 2017 season

Read more of Preston Brown's conversation with Howard and Jeremy at Bills training camp on Tuesday

Howard & Jeremy | Weekdays 6a-10a
August 15, 2017 - 10:07 am

Heading into the 2017 season, one of the main question marks for the Buffalo Bills was the defense and how the team can adjust to the new system under head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. The Bills have played under three different defensive systems and coordinators over the past four seasons. While moving back to Sean McDermott’s 4-3 scheme has been a nice change, players are still learning and trying to get comfortable with their new system.

One player who has a chance to make a big impact on the defense this upcoming year is middle linebacker, Preston Brown. Entering his fourth season in the NFL, Brown will most likely be the starting middle linebacker once again this season.

Brown went a little further in trying to learn what new coach Sean McDermott was bringing to the Bills this upcoming season. He did his homework by reaching out to Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly over the spring to learn about McDermott and his defense.

“Back home in Cincinnati, I got to talk to him for a little bit,” Brown said Tuesday morning with Howard Simon and Jeremy White on WGR. “I just learned about coach [McDermott] and what things he expects from his linebackers and his players, how Kuechly played it, what way he was playing. Just learning things on how he’s so successful and it was great to sit down to talk for him for a bit.”

Along with talking to Kuechly, Brown also watched Carolina’s defensive film from the last three seasons in order to get an early and better understanding of McDermott and his system. After watching the film, Brown was impressed and had praise for the way Carolina’s defense played.

“I was just looking at how the linebackers carry the defense so well through those times," Brown said. "Just watching how the defense maintained their success and it was interesting seeing how they saw things and how they played certain blocks. They were just really good in passing concepts. They really learned and picked up schemes really well. It’s the way they study film and how they just go out there and recognize formations, you could see how they called things out and noticed what’s about to happen before it happened."

Many players have expressed their excitement to go back to the 4-3 defensive scheme, which the Bills thrived with back in 2014. Brown is one of those players as he reminisced about the success he, and the defense, found years ago. A lot of the players don’t feel like they’re learning a new system, but going back to what they did best.

“I think this time, [changing systems] was easier than the first time," Brown said. "Going back to the 4-3 and going back to a more simple system I think was a lot easier for the guys and it was just about learning the language. It was all basically the same plays we ran with [Jim] Schwartz, so it’s just learning the language and how everybody talked in the system. What we did in years past was definitely more, and now seeing that we don’t do as much is definitely a breath of fresh air for a lot of us to go out there and have fun playing fast.”

Playing fast and having fun seems to be the best way for the Bills to succeed as a defense. Brown seemed to be excited about the upcoming season. He also shared his happiness to be playing behind a strong defensive line.

“It’s great because you know you don’t have to blitz," Brown said. "My rookie year we did four man rush all the time and it worked, it made the coverage better and makes everything better knowing you can just send those four guys and know that the quarterback is going to have a rough day.” 

If the Bills defense can go back to their 2014 form and perform for McDermott the way Brown knows the Panthers did, this defense will certainly worry quarterbacks lining up against the Bills this season.

You can listen to Brown's entire interview below:

08-15 Bills LB Preston Brown with Howard and Jeremy live from Bills training camp.mp3

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