Back in the 2015 season, Buffalo Bills linebacker Preston Brown was lost at sea a bit.
The second-year linebacker went through the dreaded sophomore slump in the second-half of the season, and never really got a handle on what the Bills were trying to defensively. He certainly wasn't alone in that, either.
In the offseason, the Bills challenged him. They asked him to take command of the defense, to be more vocal, and to be that middle linebacker that Rex Ryan has depended on through his many stops around the league.
Six months into 2016, Brown is earning rave reveiws.
"This Preston Brown is gonna be a star," said assistant head coach/defense Rob Ryan. "He’s been fantastic. He’s a vocal guy, he’s extremely smart, he knows the defense, he knows the inns and outs now. So he’s really gonna grow in this system."
Rob Ryan has only been on the job for a few months, but his brother and Bills head coach Rex Ryan has been working with Brown for over a year now. He's seen the progress from the young linebacker from this time last year, to what he is following the team's minicamp.
"I see it on the field every day. I see how he’s taking charge," Rex Ryan said. "Everything that we’ve challenged him with, he’s accepted the challenge. Maybe he’s… he’s definitely met those expectations that we’ve set for him, or maybe exceeded them."
So what exactly has it been that Brown has really done to earn such a lofty assertion from Rob Ryan? It's fitting into that exact mold the Bills were yearning for throughout the offseason.
"It’s fun to be around," Rob said. "He’s loud, he’s proud, he knows exactly what he’s doing, he knows what everybody on the field’s doing, and he’s the type of leader we’re really gonna do well with."
"I think [Rob]’s right," Rex added, backing up his brother's claim that Brown is going to be a star. "I think Preston’s going to have a great year."