By Jay Skurski
Ron Brooks showed up at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday having played a handful of meaningful defensive snaps in his NFL career.
That didn't stop the Buffalo Bills from throwing their rookie cornerback from LSU right into the mix against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With Leodis McKelvin's back bothering him, Brooks made his first career start in the Bills' 38-14 win.
"I played ok. I feel like I could always get better," he said.
Brooks made nine tackles and broke up three passes, but also was flagged for three penalties, including a 24-yard pass interference in the second quarter on what ended up being a touchdown drive for the Jaguars.
"You just keep playing. You can"t control the refs and what calls they make," he said. "You have to continue to be aggressive and keep playing."
It was clear from the start Brooks had a bull's eye on him.
"As a competitor and as a cornerback, you always look to make plays. You want them to come at you," he said. "The first play of the game they came at me. Once that happened it was like, 'here we go. Let's get ready.' "
"Brooks kept fighting, I'll give him that," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "He got in some challenging situations and came through pretty good overall I think."
Brooks holds the distinction of being the first Bills player to be placed on the injured reserve – designated to return list. He missed the first half of the season because of a broken foot suffered near the end of the preseason, then made his season debut against the Houston Texans in Week Nine.
"I don’t dwell on what could have been," Brooks said. "This is the position that I was in and this is where I'm at now, so this is where I'm going from. This is the first time I got a chance to start, and I just went out there and played my hardest and fought with my team."