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Tom Brady wary of Buffalo's upgraded defensive front

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By Tim Graham

In their Super Bowl victory last season, the underdog New York Giants demonstrated a universally accepted method to foil Tom Brady.

The Giants' 4-3 defensive front was in Brady's face all night. They sacked him only twice but registered seven quarterback hits and tipped three passes.

The Buffalo Bills noticed, switching back to a 4-3 scheme and signing a pair of pass-rushers to put themselves in the same conversation as the Giants' dynamic front four.

Sunday in Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills get to see if they can achieve the same results as the Giants and get Brady off his game.

"They really count on those front four to get to the quarterback, and they do it," Brady said today at his weekly news conference in Foxborough, Mass. "It's not like you can stand back there and figure everything out all day. They have some guys that can really rush the passer."

The Bills have nine sacks, tied for sixth in the NFL. The Patriots have allowed seven sacks, tied for 12th-most in the league.

In Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Browns, each of the Bills four starting D-linemen got on the sack tally sheet. Defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson recorded their first sacks as Bills. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams has three sacks in the past two games.

"I think it allows you to do some different things coverage-wise when you have a front four that can really get to the quarterback," Brady said. "You don't have to worry about too many blitzes or too many funky looks. It's just a matter of, 'All right, guys. You get the quarterback. The rest of the guys, you handle the passing game.' And that's about what it is.

"When you have guys as talented as they do, that's probably a good scheme to have to allow those guys to rush and be free and to go make a bunch of plays and really try to force the quarterback into throwing the ball quickly and into really tight coverage."

Kyle Williams nodded his head when it was mentioned the Bills' defensive line can harass a quarterback like the Giants do. But Williams said how the Patriots adjust their offense will impact what the Bills do defensively Sunday.

"Their game plan going against us isn't going to be exactly what it was going against the Giants," Williams said. "They might give us different personnels. They might do different things. They might decide, 'You know what. We want to come out and run the football and play-action off of it.' In the Super Bowl, they were in a lot of kings personnel -- one tight end, one back -- spread it out and let Brady throw the ball.

"We'd like to think that whatever game it will turn into we can adapt and play it. If it turns into a spread game, obviously there's going to be a lot of pressure put on us to get in there and disrupt him, but if it's a regular personnel we have to be able to hold up against the run."

(Photo: Getty Images)

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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