Alan Branch thriving in Buffalo

Submitted by svf on December 20th, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Nice to see Alan Branch getting some recognition!

From the article:

He wasn’t a starter at first and now that he is he’s really flourished,” said Lawson “He’s taking on double teams, making plays in both A gaps. He lets the linebackers run free. That goes unseen, but if there was a stat for that, he’d be in the upper echelon. He’s been a dynamic player.



December 20th, 2013 at 8:10 AM ^

It's sad but I tend to think he would have most certainly been flagged at the very least. I understand protecting the qb, but it is still football. Unfortunately, Devin knows all to well how football should take its toll on you if you cannot protect consistently up front. It is the nature of the beast. Assuming a play is within the confines of the game it is the nature if the beast.


December 20th, 2013 at 8:17 AM ^

I am pretty sure Anthony Morelli has only recently gotten up after that hit. I am not sure I want to know what it must be like to have all 6'3'' and about 300 lbs (don't remember his exact weight at Michigan) of Alan Branch running straight at you. 

It is great to hear that Branch is doing well and even embracing his role with the Bills. Hopefully, they do bring him back after his deal is up as he seems to like the area. 


December 20th, 2013 at 9:04 AM ^

hit on morelli, the other thing i remember about this game is how the commentors made such a big deal about how henne and morelli were the top to QBs in the state of PA when they were in high school. they just kept going on about how morelli wanted to prove that he was the better QB...

Space Coyote

December 20th, 2013 at 8:28 AM ^

But seems that he's doing well at NT. Goes to show that sometimes you need to just get lucky enough to be given the opportunity to play regularly to show what you can do. Some people don't thrive in a reserve role, maybe Branch is that type, but it's nice to see him do well now.

Ivan Karamazov

December 20th, 2013 at 9:08 AM ^

In the article it states that he has been playing most of his snaps at the end position, opposite of Mario Williams.  The author also praises his versatility saying that he is fully capable of lining up at NT, and has on occasion.

To be fair I have never watched a Bills game Bills this season so I'm just goin by the article.

Space Coyote

December 20th, 2013 at 9:12 AM ^

Where they said he's playing both A-gaps, didn't read the full article (though I think DE is a better fit for him). I really haven't watched the Bills much either.

Still, DE in a 3-4 (I'm pretty sure they play a 3-4 in Buffalo, because he certainly isn't a 4-3 DE) is still a 2-gap player where keeping LBs clean is more important than stats. I still like always liked him as more of a gap shooting 3-tech in a 4-3 scheme, but a 3-4 DE makes more sense to me than a 3-4 NT.

This is why it's important to read complete articles and things I guess. I just read the quote in the OP and made an assumption based on fairly sound logic from that quote. And then it appears it's incorrect. So that's my bad.


December 20th, 2013 at 8:55 AM ^

Over at MnB they do a weekly feature on former UM players in the NFL. Every week they report that he played a fair amount of snaps bit has almost no stats. I guess it is good that he is apparently doing the little things.

Space Coyote

December 20th, 2013 at 8:59 AM ^

Especially in a 2-gap system. You're really trying to keep LBs clean and occupy the OL. Even in pass rush situations in a 3-4 scheme that tends to be the case. So that's why you don't see the stats but see the snaps. I think at NT you look at the number of snaps a guy is getting to get a feel for how he's playing in that system (though that makes it difficult to judge him relative to other players on other teams).

FWIW, stats for a NT can sometimes be like stats for a CB. More stats for a CB means he's getting thrown at more in a general sense. More stats for a NT likely means he's getting pushed back a bit and making plays a couple yards down the field when he can disengage his single block, whereas no stats likely means that the player at the point of attack is maintaining a double team.


December 20th, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

pretty solid explanation....theres only so many freaks like vince wilfork or that dude poe now that are able to both eat space/blockers while also shooting gaps or disengaging for TFLs against professional OL....not easy position, and even harder to stand out to general fans and beat writers as excelling.   good for branch, glad hes getting some love.  those UM defenses had some really good college players for 4-5 year stretch so great to see some of them taking care of business in the league


December 20th, 2013 at 9:24 AM ^

After the last Bills game he was getting a lot of praise on the local sports talk radio from both the callers and commentators.  He's one of those free agents that push a decent defense into a great one (soon).