By Mark Gaughan
Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix thinks newly acquired defender Jerry Hughes can fit a couple of roles on the defense of coordinator Mike Pettine. Hughes spent the past three seasons mostly as a backup for the Indianapolis Colts.
"We think this defense and the way they're going to play him will fit what he does best," Nix said by phone with reporters this afternoon. "He was a defensive end at TCU, played with his hand on the ground, did that at first with the Colts, and then when they went to the 3-4, he played a little bit of both.
"But he played behind Robert [Mathis] and Dwight Freeney, so playing time wasn't a lot. We think this will give him an opportunity to do what he does best."
Nix sees Hughes as potential insurance behind starting strong-side -- or Sam -- linebacker Manny Lawson, as well.
"For sure, we think he can fit at the rush and at Sam linebacker," Nix said. "We think he can swing two positions there and then be a rusher in sub packages. Again, versatility is something we're looking for.
"We want our linebackers to at least be able to play both outside spots. We'd like our middle backers to have the ability to play Will or Mike. So that really was enticing about Jerry."
There was the rub for Kelvin Sheppard, who was sent to Indianapolis in exchange for Hughes. Sheppard is strictly a middle -- or Mike -- linebacker. Sheppard does not fit the weak-side -- or Will -- spot.
Asked if a change of scenery might benefit both players, Nix said: "It could work out like that and I hope it does. Kelvin did a good job for us and hopefully it will work out good for him and I think it will."
taggedBuddy Nix | Jerry Hughes | Kelvin Sheppard