Peterson would give Bills versatility

If the Bills sign Colts unrestricted free agent linebacker Mike Peterson, one of the advantages would be the versatility he'd give them. Peterson has been a strongside and weakside linebacker in the Colts' 4-3 in his four pro seasons.

He's only 6'1", so he would fit better on the weak side, covering running backs out of the backfield. However, because Jeff Posey has played both outside linebacking positions, along with Peterson, it's conceivable that the two players wouldn't have to shuffle from side to side as Buffalo's outside linebackers usually have done in the past, depending on strong and weak formations.

What's the advantage?

The Bills defense would have a little less predictability. Say the offense wants to motion the tight end from right to left in the hopes it can draw Posey across the field. Perhaps the offensive coaches believe running away from Posey gives them a better chance for success (Posey's run-stopping is quite good, says Gregg Williams). Well, Posey wouldn't necessarily have to follow the tight end, because Peterson would have the ability to take the tight end on because he's done it before.

If both outside linebackers are versatile, then the interchangeability between the two can be a distinct advantage. They would be able to change sides, or stay where they are, leaving the offense never knowing if it would be getting the favorable matchup it wants.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, during his time as defensive coordinator in Baltimore and Washington, has demanded interchangeability with his safeties. He doesn't designate one strong and one free. They're just safeties. He wants both players to have the same set of skills because it gives his defense greater flexibility and, again, prevents the offense from easily finding the matchups.

Certainly, Buffalo's defense could use a little less predictability too. The last two years it was easy to predict what defensive formations it would be in based on the offensive personnel. A three wide receiver-set would mean a nickel defense — Keith Newman out, Chris Watson in, and a first down for the opponent.

As for Peterson, Colts general manager Bill Polian, the former Bills GM, didn't want to tag Peterson because he said that was reserved for great players, not good ones.

That must have made Peterson upset.

Make no mistake, Peterson is fast, athletic and fearless and would be a good addition in Buffalo.


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