ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — This year's Bills defense has turned back into what most would expect from Leslie Frazier's unit. Both players and coaches have largely contributed that to the continuity and chemistry Buffalo has on that side of the ball.
But maybe their most underrated starter, linebacker Matt Milano, has been adding something new to the mix. And instead of with his play between the whistles, it's with his voice among his teammates.
"To see Matt now verbally communicate and really echo some of what Tremaine's commands are, it's making us a better defense," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "It forces him to lock in on every single detail."
"It's definitely on my mind a little bit more. I'm just trying to take that next step in my game," Milano said. "It helps me out, and it helps the team out as well. So anything I can do for that, that's what I'm going to do."
Milano has also been around the ball and in the opposition's backfield all year. He's tied with Denver Broncos edge rusher Von Miller for the most tackles for loss on the season with six.
The Boston College product has also led the Bills in tackles for loss since he was drafted in the fifth round back in 2017. His 36 over the last four seasons and change paces veterans and household names like Jerry Hughes (35) and Jordan Poyer (23).
"I'm just feeling really good out there health wise. My mind's right, and I'm playing fast. Everyone around me is playing fast as well," Milano said. "Everybody's flying around. Somebody's in the way, something gets tipped, and the ball gets loose, you know? That's what happens."
The Bills and Milano agreed to a four-year extension back in March after he had originally expressed interest in testing the free agent market. He's been worth every penny for Buffalo's defense this year.
"I think he's been consistent. That's not a surprise," head coach Sean McDermott said. He approaches every week with great preparation and plays hungry football, which is good to see."
That hunger was on full display as he recovered a fumble against the Washington Football Team last week. Milano and the Bills defense will look for more of the same on Sunday when they host the Houston Texans at 1:00 p.m.