The Buffalo Bills are dealing with the one thing any team possessing Super Bowl aspirations wants to avoid at all costs: injuries.
And, in case you haven’t heard, they’re dealing with a lot of them.
Especially at cornerback. The team still awaits the return of their own All-Pro cornerback in Tre’Davious White and they’ve also lost both Dane Jackson and rookie Christian Benford for extended periods of time.
The injuries forced the team to go out and sign former All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes on Tuesday night. Rhodes was drafted by Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier back in 2013, so there is a sense of familiarity between the two parties.
However, it remains to be seen as to whether or not said familiarity leads to productive and effective play from Rhodes.
The former All-Pro had a strong run for the first several years of his career, but his play took a drastic dip in 2018. He was released by the Minnesota Vikings after the worst year of his career in 2019 (yet he still made a Pro Bowl, somehow) and looked to be done.
But, then-Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus saw something he really liked in Rhodes and decided to roll the dice on him. Rhodes responded with a very solid 2020 campaign before regressing back to the mean in 2021.
Per Pro Football Focus, 2021 saw quarterbacks average a 92.1 QB rating when targeting Rhodes, which was the third-highest rating allowed during his career. But Rhodes fits Frazier’s system – he’s a tall, rangy corner who can play both man and zone coverages and he’s also an effective run defender.
At the end of the day, this is desperate move. But, the Bills really don’t have a choice. Rhodes has shown he can play at a high level in the NFL and again, there is some familiarity with him. That’s important for a team with Super Bowl aspirations like Buffalo.
And it’s a logical move. It’s just unfortunate the Bills are in this position.
It’s highly unlikely Rhodes captures his All-Pro form or even his 2020 form. But, the Bills have an experienced, proven player on their roster they can turn to in case the unfortunate luck continues or forbid, gets worse.
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